Specialized Calendar Photography

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CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

A calendar is nothing more that an item, digital or in print, that shows dates and times for an entire year, and often two or more years.

There are many calendars which feature a pretty sight or scene and these are quite popular.

However, many photographers specialize in one type of photography and this can int turn lead to the creation of a specialized type of calendar.

This is not only useful but allows for the photographer to showcase his or her work.

(CC BY 2.0
(CC BY 2.0 | Source

Many photographers shoot a variety of topics and very few have become specialists in one or a few other topics.

Many photographers have also diversified into other forms of revenue creation which allows them to showcase their talents.

Besides the usual ones like weddings, parties and selling to stock agencies, one other area that can offer someone a form of revenue is to produce calendars.

When deciding on what calendar theme to photograph, some logistics need to be taken into account and this does not include printing or distribution.

There are literary thousands if not more calendars that are produced each year, so before you go out and get ready to take photos and print them into a calendar, you should realize that your images must be out of the ordinary in one way or the other.

Otherwise you are just one more player in a large filed of competitors and this competition or rather this market can be very difficult to enter, unless you are a do-it-yourself kind of individual.

(CC BY 2.0
(CC BY 2.0 | Source

Which category most appeals to you?

  • Nature
  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Vehicles
  • Adult themes (nude)
  • Adult (non-nude)
See results without voting

Each specialty brings its own degrees of difficulties such as cost, available subjects, accessibility and several other factors.

The most popular category remains nature, but this can get costly as you have to take into account traveling and other associated costs as well as how accessible each location is.

Cute animals like puppies although cost effective is somewhat limited in the number of available subjects (number of breeds) and don't forget ease of working with the subjects.

Boudoir and adult themes can be cost effective and the number of subjects is almost infinite, but they are very limited in their marketability (nude VS non-nudes).

Architecture is rather simple if you remain within your comfortable travel area and outdoor architecture is very cost effective. Cars and vehicles in general can also be cost effective (photographing at a show if allowed for example). If not then you have to allow travelling costs.

Assuming you lack the funds to travel extensively on search for suitable subjects, like to stay close to home/studio, then the two main subjects are cute animals (puppies/kittens mostly) and adult nude and non -nude.

If you take into account how difficult it might be to deal with animals and time constraints; feeding time, "bathroom needs", moodiness, health issues, then you are really left with the adult non nude theme as the easiest calendar theme to approach.

Theme Logistics

This is a logistical approach taking into account how associated costs can affect the shoot, how many suitable subjects are readily available (availability) as well as travel (accessibility), how easily the theme can be marketed (target audience/marketability), how much competition you can expect for the same theme and so on.

Theme: Nature

Costs: High

Accessibility: Moderate

Availability: High

Competition: High

Marketability: High

Theme: Cute animals

Costs: Low

Accessibility: High

Availability: Moderate

Competition: High

Marketability: High

Theme: Cars/vehicles

Costs: Low

Accessibility: Moderate

Availability: High

Competition: High

Marketability: Moderate

Theme: Adult (nudity)

Costs: Moderate to High

Accessibility: High

Availability: High

Competition: Moderate

Marketability: Low

Theme: Architecture

Costs: Low

Accessibility: High

Availability: Moderate to High

Competition: Moderate

Marketability: Low

Theme: Adult (no nudity)

Costs: Moderate to High

Accessibility: High

Availability: High

Competition: Moderate to High

Marketability: Moderate to High

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

My advice is to choose one theme, take as many shots as you can, judge them for quality, send them to print and distribute them through a reputable distributor and see how well it is accepted.

If going digital, create a website dedicated to the purpose of distributing the finished product.

It you meet success then at least you know that it can be done and you can begin planing for the next edition.

Remember to start by giving some samples to friends and relatives first. They may in turn recommend them to others and so on.

Your objective should be primarily to start becoming known for your photographic work and if the calendar does well, then this is an added bonus.

As you can see, most themes have one or more degrees of difficulty in regards to requirements.

From the associated costs to how accessible each theme is, each theme also requires a specialized lens and may require other specialized gear. You may need a long lens and a tripod for a nature shoot but you will probably not need it for a cute puppy session.

There are similarities and differences and each theme is usually approached differently from the next. Location is a big concern for most adult themes. Although you can shoot models in beachwear most anywhere, you cannot do the same with any nude theme.

Something else to consider is that one calendar featuring the cutest, most adorable puppies, even though it may sell the first year, may not have the same acceptance the following year.

The same goes with most themes with the exception of the adult oriented themes, since most of the time its audience remains steady, this off course assuming that with each consecutive edition the calendar features new models.

The best option is usually to try a theme once and judge how well it does, then proceed accordingly.

Another thing to consider is that you can just concentrate on the photography and submit your images to stock houses or calendar manufacturers.

This is easier to do than to do a full print calendar but your margin for profit is also smaller.

Another alternative and a much cheaper one as well as the most likely to succeed is to do everything digitally. There are several programs that allow you to create a monthly calendar and you can include your shots there. Plus do not underestimate how much easier these are to distribute.

© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez

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4 comments

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

Interesting, nice hub


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 2 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

WiccanSage: Thank you


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I love nature themed calandars as they provide a peaceful visual for the planning process. Great article on what is important to consider when creating this tool.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 2 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

teaches12345: Thank you

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