Free by Chris Anderson: implications for photographers online

Free by Chris Anderson

The book is interesting  and I know it came out approximately 4 years ago, however I comes conclusion that photographers should really read this book if they are thinking of trying to present  your work online and or establish a business model that will work for your area of photographic business.

“here’s how it works:

1. Build a community around free information and advice on a particular topic.

2. With that community’s help, designs and products that people want, and return the favour by making the product through the role form.

3. Let those with more money than time/school/risk-tolerance by the more polished version of those products. (That may turn out to be almost everyone.)

4. Do it again and again, building a 40 percent profit margin to products to pay the bills.”

page 69


“…. in each case, people can build reputational capital and turn it into attention. It is up to each to figure out how to convert that to money, if that’s what he or she wants (most don’t), but the quantification of attention and reputation is now a global endeavour. It is a market will now play Ian, whether we know it or not. Reputation that was once intangible is now i you you you are hereasingly concrete.

page 184

These two quotes both made me think about different aspects of the online world and how as photographers who could engage. One aspect that comes to mind in reading this book is that of building a web presence should be aimed at building an increasing one’s reputation. But then that is something that we will know we’re trying to do anyway isn’t it?  So how as a photographer  can I then increase my reputational capital to people that I would like to work with or for?

My thinking is being formulated as I write this blog post however at this stage, I can see implications for a number of aspects my working life. There are two or three aspects to my working life, these are my evolving documentary practice, my portrait practice and the part that brings me on more money than I care to admit to this point in my life and that is the teaching of photography.

I have been writing in a few different places and I have decided that I need to focus my efforts on my principle area of photography and social interests that intertwine. This will make this website my primary focus for the foreseeable future. Once this is website is going in the direction that I want it to be then I will be freer to do other things as well.

The implications for photographers and their online web presence of Free is also something that we are struggling with when it comes to copyright and images, we need to share to get a name but then this is how we make money making images so when we give them away we feel that we are doing things for nothing and are being exploited. more on this one later as we will need to find new revenue stream to make our lives as photographers pay, David Campbell has something to say on this more in relation to media and photojournalism. (David did series of blog posts of which this is one

I have yet to finish the book but it is letting me think differently about value on the internet and how we can maybe use this to help ourselves as photographers to find alternative ways of getting our content (photography) to pay for itself with cross payments from others.

Anderson, C. (2009) Free: how today’s smartest businesses proffered by giving something for nothing. London; Random House.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.