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Monetizing personal projects: The restaurant, part two

This is my sixth year working with an entertainment restaurant. The original relationship was due to a personal project I created and shared with them. A quick recap for those pressed for time will find I photographed a restaurant to learn and practice new photography techniques. I gave the restaurant a framed print. For the full story check out part one here.

The story continued and involves another personal project involving a musician, which was also shared with the owners. When the owners saw my artwork they decided to feature the bands and other entertainers in more of an artistic style. While making the artistic images I also supply the restaurant with additional photos for publicity, posters, marketing and social media.

The trade deal

It would be very difficult for the restaurant to pay cash for this service as the amounts can add up very quickly, especially in the beginning, when so many new performers were being documented. I’m a big fan of win-win situations so we worked out a trade agreement. I normally don’t work a trade for food and definitely will not work for bad food. Here is the set up. The money for the work I do is placed on a gift card. I use the card to pay for my meals and add gratuity in cash. Deal is, if the owners stop actively managing the restaurant or sell, they need to convert the balance to cash.

Here are a few samples to give you an idea of the 8×10 framed images for the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame has grown to 115-plus images. I create an artistic rendition of the musicians from their live performance. It would be very difficult to track down people after the fact for autographs. I have them provide their signature and ‘message to the house’ with a black sharpie pen on white paper. I invert the printing from black on white to white on black. Change the Blend mode in Adobe Photoshop to Screen and text will appear white. Viola, I have their ‘autograph’ for the art.

Bobcat Jack: Blues-man with signature and logo art

As part of the deal, art images are printed and framed to 8×10 and hung in the Hall. Additional images are uploaded for the publicity, poster and marketing purposes.

One corner of the SBG Hall of Fame

Additional benefit

In addition to the trade, each of the images is branded with the Bob Coates Photography logo. A metal print in a niche promotes my story and the Hall of Fame information (look in the back of the Hall photo above). If an entertainer wishes to use the art image they may as long as they are using it to promote gigs at this restaurant. If they want to use the art images or outtakes from the performance in their personal marketing they negotiate additional usage. This has led to extra funds and additional paid jobs with some of the performers.

I won’t go into specific numbers but my wife and I have been eating very, very well for the last six years. As that is our entertainment I make this deal out to be not only a win-win opportunity but a win-win-win all the way around!

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

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