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The Photograd platform is fast approaching its maximum number of pages on its current hosting plan and wouldn’t it be a perfect world if photographers didn’t have to pay to see their work promoted?
Photograd is almost 4 years young and now somewhat sustains itself in terms of domain name, website hosting fees, and PO box payments on a monthly basis. I play the role of founder, director, social media manager, website and content manager, sales manager, marketing manager, and talent finder. Melissa Belton, 2014 photography graduate come retail sales advisor, cat mother and homeowner, and I love dedicating my spare time to Photograd and cups of tea. My camera is on the shelf behind me gathering dust but Photograd is thriving.
I have close to 3,000 threads in various Photograd email inboxes and have managed to support approximately 500 people through the company. As of Thursday 12th September 2019, 44,300 different people have looked at the Photograd platform and fast approaching 10,000 followers on social media. I can’t even fathom those numbers.
So, on an average month the Photograd platform attracts roughly 1,500 to 2,000 unique visitors, and they generate around 2,000 page views. That may only be one page view for most visitors but if they’ve clicked a link on social media and read the article, then they’ve come to Photograd for their intended purpose. Calls for work can generate 75 plus submissions for an opportunity resulting in the photographer having to pay a small fee if selected. These fees aren’t ideal but I do have to generate income for the company and so keep them as low as sustainably possible. My intention when generating ideas for Photograd back in 2014 were to never charge graduates and when it comes to Features and blog posts, these are all done at no cost whatsoever and will continue to stay that way.
Donations are something I’ve dabbled in over the last few months and have managed to attract a very generous handful of people who decided that Photograd was worth their spare change. As always, money generated through the platform goes straight back into keeping it afloat. I never set out to make millions, I set out to be a recognised support network within the industry and a community where both new and old graduates can come to connect.
This blabber does come to an end I promise, but it comes to an end with a request, one that I hope can support Photograd move forward quite substantially. I’ve never paid a single penny to promote Photograd and so all growth over the last 4 years is organic, reliable, and genuine. Each year sees an increase and progression over the last. Without spending endless hours applying for funding or seeking sponsorship within the industry for each new project I want to accumulate an elite group of VIP who have the privilege of knowing they contribute to the everyday running of Photograd and the decrease of fees presented to selected photographers.
VIP supporters contribute to Photograd on a monthly basis and do receive benefits in return, of course, because who doesn’t love a freebie? A welcome pack will be posted out and all monthly supporters will receive free copies of all new issues of PGZ. So, can you go without a Starbucks this month, that extra side of McNuggets, a £1.99 ebook, or put back on the Tesco shelf that extra bar of (overpriced) chocolate to support photographers who are looking to get their work seen? Yes you can.
If supporters proceed to generate enough of an interest and subsequent income to Photograd then money received will go towards website subscription fees when I need to progress to the next payment plan, and then the regular sending of newsletters.
Photograd has already exceeded my expectations and has, somehow, come to be seen as a valuable resource within the industry - I’m not making this up, people seem to continue to tell me how great Photograd is and those kind words never get old. But where can Photograd go in the future? I don’t even know.