Tried and true advice on securing financial
support for your personal work.
by AMY TOUCHETTE
You poured your heart and soul into a project
you care deeply about. While you were able
to fund it on your own, you would really like
to be reimbursed for some of your expenses.
Or perhaps you have an idea for a meaningful
project, but you need a way to make ends meet
while creating it. These are problems that artists
have faced forever, but the good news is that
there are solutions.
There are more opportunities for funding
photography projects today than ever before
because of crowdfunding. This process has
radically changed the way photographers can raise
money—and from whom. It takes hard work and
tenacity to succeed in obtaining financial support,
so funding experts advise that photographers—
from emerging to professional—do their
homework before getting started.
Mike Davis is the chair of the Alexia Foundation,
which offers grants and scholarships to
photographers who cover issues of social injustice
and cross-cultural differences. According to Davis,
visual storytellers at all levels are succeeding by
creating multiple income streams to support
their passion projects. Some of these options are:
applying for grants, creating events connected
to a project, selling prints, collaborating with
other artists and nonprofits (including fiscal
sponsorship through 501(c) 3 organizations),
pitching to editorial and commercial outlets, and
“All of this is just part of having a solid business
plan,” says Davis. “Producing dimensional work
[that can be expressed] in a variety of ways (i.e.
multimedia) and meeting people in the industry
via social media, portfolio reviews, exhibition
openings, workshops and competition entries
are what underpin the possibility of those income
Here are some key pieces of advice from other
experts in the field to keep in mind as you pursue
your fundraising goals.