Maine Coast: Shooting Stock

Close hauled sailing in 17 knot winds off the coast of Maine

Lobster fisherman at sunrise, Maine.

Petie Manan Lighthouse, Maine

Fishing cabin on island, Maine

“I have a passion to do what you do.”  This is a typical comment I get often in so many emails asking me how I do what I do. On the heels of that question often comes another. “Can you really make ends meet shooting freelance for only non-profits?’  While it may be possible for a handful of photographers, I don’t see it as the norm with most of my fellow workers in this field. Several years ago I did three blog posts on how other photographers weave a tapestry of  commercial shooting, teaching and writing to enable them to focus on stories of NGO’s and non-profits providing help throughout the world. See that PART 1, PART 2, PART3.


As for me, I continue to shoot stock for Getty Images and do commercial assignments. Some shoots are conceptual in nature and others are like these travel images from a recent stock shoot in Maine. For more than 20 years stock has provided me the freedom to pursue  intimate  stories of relief aid and development throughout more than 65 countries. But, the “How to do it” answer is going to be different for each individual. There’s no well-worn path to follow.


For me, photography is both a passion and a business. If you feel the same, too much focus on one or the other and your business might fizzle or your passion wane. If you really want to do THIS, nurture your passion by involving yourself in the needs of the hurting and poor, as well as devoting yourself to creating a viable business.


Several resources

Article on humanitarian photography by Camille Bromley in GALO Magazine

Book on Best Business Practices in Photography by John Harrington

A lot of useful business advice in Stanley Leary’s blog.


All Photographs ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman

(Nikon D4, 14-24mm @22mm, 1/1600 sec, f9, ISO 400)

(Nikon D4, 28-300mm@ 135mm, 1/800 sec, f8, ISO 400)

(Nikon D4, 28-300mm@ 300mm, 1/800 sec, f5.6, ISO 320)

(Nikon D4, 28-300mm@ 116mm, 1/200 sec, f5.6, ISO 2000)

7 thoughts

  1. Hey Gary,

    This article was really inspiring to me. I just recently decided that in order for me to pursue humanitarian photography and truly get in the field that I wanted to “weave” in a job that allowed me to travel and really sit with the people who I’m looking to heal through art.

    With this reflection, I’ve decided to go into nursing and humanitarian aid! It allows me to visit these places for a concrete purpose and build a comfort level with people to allow me to truly unravel their stories. As a creative person, this was a huge leap for me and I’ve definitely been inundated with fear, but each day that I get closer to the goal, I see that you’re statement about the uniqueness of the path is what makes this field so exciting – and reaping with so many distinct voices.

    If there was a cut and dry way to do this type of work, the work would be flat. It would require no sacrifice and no understanding that sometimes to truly follow passion, we need to find creative ways to make it work.

    Thanks for the insight as always and sorry for the long blog post – this just hit me at the perfect time in my journey 🙂

    – Gabby

  2. Gary,
    Thanks for being upfront and honest about your journey. It seriously helps me have a realistic view while trying to get into the field.
    You’ve been a huge help and inspiration since my SOP.


  3. Love this post! (and it’s even better because you were in my home state!) 🙂 I love the links to your old posts that you provided! Thanks so much!

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