The Art of Crafting Calendars
In 2020 I went forward with a project to visit all of Minnesota’s State Parks and Recreation areas. Now I had a ton of photos but wondered, what do I do with them all?
I had to print them. For the first time ever, I printed a ‘large’ run product and sold them online to friends, family and a few strangers. I didn’t even lose money. More than anything, I felt as though I had finally made something.
For 2021, I switched gears. I took a job in Alaska washing dishes, on a cruise ship. This left almost no time for photography, and I only brought my little X100s to catch moments when I had the chance.
Turned out, I caught enough moments to make not one, but two calendars! One for the general public and one that will be for sale onboard the ships.
The real question is, what to do now?
I am more than a little bit hooked on making these now, and can only get better with experience. The questions that plague me now are…what would the people want?
Minnesota made sense…I could sell it locally at stores, to friends, family, and it made sense. It’s local.
Alaska, did not sell as many. I get it, we don’t live in Alaska. Not as relatable except I got more messages than I thought I would, as it turns out that everyone has either traveled there or knows someone who did.
These were both projects I shot the same year I designed them. 2022 looks like it could go any which way. Do I plan to make another one, and do I shoot something new or go through the old stuff no one has seen before?
So for my next trick…
It is up in the air.
A quick list of the ideas that are percolating in my head right now are:
- Garden Theme
- Tanzania in Monochrome
- The West Coast Bike Tour
- College parties (I just want to go to a party, is that too much to ask?)
What are your thoughts? I typically release these in November/December and it turns out they have made fantastic holiday presents. Some have been shipped as far as Finland, I can’t quite yet convince my Australian friends to pay more than the calendar price for shipping there.
Perhaps if you knew a little bit more about the product that might help you help me.
Designed to be a step above your average calendar, these are 12″ x 9″ masterpieces. The paper is thick stock, and last year I discovered the ‘soft-touch’ coating for the outsides. It’s regal. Every image is one I’ve taken, and I make sure to include dates that are fun to come across. Each calendar is a bit like reading through a story, with quotes and blurbs about what I was doing or what I was thinking.
One thing I learned is that a lot of people want to cut the calendar up afterwards in order to keep seeing the images. You can totally do that with these. They do come with a small hole punched for hanging, but aside from that the printing is wonderful and I would be honored to see them live on. I recently donated a case of old ones to my local high school’s art class, I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
It’s Going To Go Annual!
Sure, if I could do this and make a living from it, I absolutely would.
But that is a long long ways down the line. For now I can go out for beers with the proceeds. But why keep doing it?
I’m thinking ahead. You don’t have to knock it out of the park on your first try. In blogging or Youtube they say your first 100 are going to suck. Then you find your groove. Unfortunately for this I don’t have that many chances, but I am building up a portfolio, and creating physical product that I can put in somebody’s hand and say, “Look here Sonny, look at this!”
Let me know what you think. If it’s crazy enough it just might work, what you might like to see in the future. I’m open to new projects as well and that is an exciting prospect as well.