Saturday, February 2, 2008

Welcome to Cycle 61 Photography

Good morning, and welcome to Cycle 61 Photography (It's morning somewhere, so no nitpicking yet.)

It's Saturday, February 2, 2008 as I write this.

My name is Nick Davis, I'm an amateur photographer with professional aspirations, and I have committed to building the entity known to me as Cycle 61 Photography into a real, legitimate, licensed, legal, profitable, and above all, sustainable business. In keeping with the wonderful open-source, open book, free sharing mindset that has developed in the photographic community in the internet age, this process is going to be open for all to follow along the way.
Over the next year or so, you will watch a photography business grow from the ground up. There will be pitfalls, setbacks and triumph, challenges and conquests, anguish, stress, beauty, and light. Always light. Photography is about light, after all.
The next few days will be about where I'm at, where I want to go with this thing, and how I'm going to get there. Read on after the jump.

My current position, just to establish a solid baseline, is as follows.

  • I have a website, with my own domain name. The website is, it's galleries are hosted via a Premium account on ($120 per year) which allows me unlimited storage and the ability to sell prints of my images directly from the website. The domain name itself was purchased from for about $45 for two years. If you're reading this in November 2009, please send me an email and remind me to renew!
  • Cycle 61 is a nerdy joke from my electrician days. Normal US electricity being 60hz, or cycles per second, "Cycle 61" would be something extra, something more than what was expected. Yes, I'm a dork. Somewhere in Europe, there's got to be somebody running "Cycle 51" for the same reason.
  • I have been accepted at Photoshelter, a newly launched stock agency, and a very progressive, non-predatory one in terms of how they treat their creative contributors. Check them out, and if you're a microstock photographer, please reconsider how you're valuing your work. I have, at this moment, around 50 images fully processed and live on their system, with about that many in the approval pipeline as well. My total sales so far are $0.00, but I've only been live with them about a week, and my keywording needs refinement.
  • I have photographed precisely one event under the guise of a semi-professional, that event being the talent show at my kids' elementary school. I was running a Nikon D200, a rented 70-200/2.8 lens, a set of Pocket Wizards and two flashes set off-camera. After the third or fourth person who asked if I was shooting for the school, I started answering yes. Pictures were downloaded, processed, sorted, and uploaded to a dedicated gallery on my Zenfolio site by 8am the next day. The school secretary sent out an email with the relevant info to all the parents later that afternoon. In the first 24 hours I've had about 60 hits on the site, but no sales as yet.
  • I have a passionate, burning desire to be a photographer. I know and understand that the realities of any job are different than the outsider perceives them to be. I do not expect this to be easy. I can, and will, bust my butt to make this thing real.
  • I have been establishing a network of contacts in the photography business over the last several months. I am continuing to build and develop this network daily, and Ive begun to see an exponential growth in the number of people I find myself in contact with. I'm also starting to run into the same people through different paths, which tells me I'm doing something right. I have been active in a couple of photography group arranged over various internet forums, notably DPReview and Strobist. I've met some full-time professionals, and a lot of people like myself, who would like to be pro and probably have the photographic talent to pull it off. The differences between these groups, between those who do and those who could but don't, are fascinating to me.
Quick recap. I will build my avocation into a legitimate photography business. I've got nothing to hide, and everything to gain, by being open an accountable to all. This may not always be pretty, but I guarantee it will never be boring. If you are a pro, follow along and drop me a line if you see something I need to fix. If you're not, but you ever wanted to do what's about to happen on this site, keep reading and maybe I can save you a pitfall or two.

Control is an illusion, but you can always enjoy the ride.

Next: My photographic and business goals.


StockPhotoJourney said...

Awesome Nick! I will be stealing err um watching you closely to see how it goes. I have a similar goal for next year.

Did you have to get permission to do the school shot or did you just show up?

Mike said...

Exciting! I'm looking forward to reading more =)

Oh and *cough* if you ever need a new portrait shot for yourself . . .

Nick Davis said...

Hey Mike!
I was trying to bring the lights closer to my subject, like you said. Yah, I could use a new portrait. Do you know anybody who shoots people around here? :-)

@ Stockphoto-
Thanks! I was technically just another DWC (dad with camera) but something about a 70-200/2.8 and a couple of lightstands and all of a sudden everybody's asking where they can buy pictures after the show. Who am I to argue?

aczyzyk said...

I like to think about doing the same, but it stays in the realm of dreaming so far. ;)
Anyway, it will be interesting to watch how it goes for you.
Good luck!

justamomentago said...

great idea..will be checking in frequently.

Scott Dickerson said...

Hi Nick, Greetings from Alaska. I've just read your intro and I'm excited for you and wish you the best.

I took the money I had saved working for 'The Man' 6 years ago and started my photography business. No training, no real mentors, living in a town of 10,000 and learning on my own with the internet and a new to me Nikon D1 (anyone remember that clunker?). I've loved the journey and I'm excited to say I can now pay my bills and put some money into savings from my photography work! And most importantly, I still love the process as much as I did starting out. - peace