What It’s Like To Be A Professional Vegan Portrait Photographer
The journey into the professional vegan economy starts by going to a vegan convention. Yes they exist and they are usually covertly called a VegFest.
They are sprouting up all over the world and being compiled on websites like: vegan.com. You might believe you are going to a vegetable festival, some sort of farmer’s market supporting local produce, and think back on the day your grandparents told you to eat your veggies. When you arrive you find the professional and entrepreneurial world of The Vegan Revolution with activists that expose The Ghosts In Our Machine and BitterSweet culinary wizards that will make you reevaluate your entire existence. This realm of professionalism and scholarly treatment of veganism is usually far from the radical fundamentalist vegans known on YouTube and other social media outlets who fight with one another over who has the best tactics.
At a VegFest you will be able to network with vegans so take their business cards and sign up for the news letters of vegan non profits in your area. Something Andreas wished he had done at the very first vegan festival he attended: the Berkeley Vegan Earth Day, the event that made him go vegan over night. Signing up for these newsletters will let you know when vegan galas and other fundraising events are being held. These are the events you can charge for your services as a photographer if you are known in the World of Vegan. If you thought vegans were dumpster diving hippies here is where you will meet vegans that drive Teslas. To socialize at these events, vegans dress their finest often times sporting vegan designer clothing, shoes and handbags.
Attending VegFests you will meet vegan fashion bloggers, designers, hair-/make up artists and potential models that you can collaborate with or even hire down the road. With your new found wisdom, and in all Logical Harmony you wouldn’t want to hire professionals that use animal products like leather, wool, down, silk, ivory or beetle juice (carmine) or that stock products that are tested on animals would you?
With all these new found connections you may want to consider setting up a booth for your business a the next VegFest. Then you realize that the next one will be in a year so you decide to put on your own VegFest revolving around your prints and the prints of other vegan artists you’ve met. You might call it “The Art Of Survival” playing on how much more sustainable the whole foods plant based lifestyle is on the environment.
Now that you’ve become addicted to attending vegan events you start joining every vegan meetup.com group in your area for monthly potlucks and other gatherings. As your network grows stronger in real life and on all social media platforms you are told to join a group called Vegan Leaders in Corporate Management. This leads you to opportunities like reaching out to the President of the Oakland Port Commission (who has been vegan for over 15 years and is openly gay, advocating for the LGBT community) to set up a photo session on top of the shipping container cranes, which as Andreas says: “I had always been wanting to see the inside of the port of Oakland ever since moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010, from Switzerland. Who thought I would be able to do that and see the best view of the entire port with longshoremen greeting Michael with: Hello Commissioner.”
You go on to meet vegan body builders and martial artists that own studios and do 1'000 push ups a day. You might even enlist in their classes to be pushed to your physical boundaries doing things you thought your body could never do like strange yoga poses. Meeting individuals like them is beneficial for your health as a photographer because you are so used to sitting in front of a computer operating your business. Working out a trade with your Yogatography and social media experience for lessons can go a long way. Andreas went out of his way to hang portraits of Cogen around Sonoma County to promote both of their business.
With the distribution of your prints, you begin to consider setting up photography booths at VegFests and animal rights conferences to showcase your portfolio of work and distribute flyers with $50.- gift certificates towards prints from portrait sessions.
To become more credible as a certified professional you join the Professional Photographers Of America to understand the business world of photography, leading you join a local chapter like the Professional Photographers of Wine County or the Professional Photographers of Hawai’i.
As a professional vegan photographer you will be flown out to different locations of the earth because you know this niche market so well. Good luck with in your professional journey!
Interwoven in this writing are links to five other professional vegan photographers that inspired Andreas to become the business owner he is now. Can you find them?
Andreas is currently working on an all or nothing vegan crowdfunding campaign which if successfully funded will:
1. take him on a journey of the Hawaiian Islands to photograph the most influential vegans: individuals who have never eaten animal products in their life, members of the Vegans in Corporate Management, business owners, event promoters, musicians, veganic permaculturalists, lawyers that fight against animal exploitation and who ever else he may encounter
2. produce a 2017, all age, ethnicity and gender inclusive, 12 month calendar “Vegans of Hawai’i”
3. bring the entire Hip Hop Green Dinner tour: The 10th Element of Hip Hop to Hawai’i for a launch event and intersectional tribute to the Vegans of Hawai’i on the Big Island
If you back this campaign your name will be printed in the calendar in the credits! If you can’t back it financially pease help spread the word with your friends.