For many, photography is more than just a hobby, more than just a passion. It can be a state of mind, even a way of life. For those that cannot think of doing anything but taking pictures, a career as a photographer may be the only viable option. However, being a professional photographer and actually making a living from your photography are two entirely different things. This is what “the best photographer on Instagram“, Daniel Arnold, had to realize on the eve of his 34th birthday, when he was left with less than $100 in his bank account.
For the past year, Arnold had been a very successful Instagrammer with a following well over 20,000, and a total of over 1,300 images in his stream. His daily routine, in part due to a lack of paid work, would be to roam the streets of New York City, sometimes up to eight hours at a time. Always in the company of his iPhone and/or a 35mm camera, Arnold would watch out for candid scenes unfolding in front of him. But despite of the success his photography had on Instagram, Arnold was hardly making a living.
That is, until he devised a new plan on the eve of his 34th birthday. Uncertain how he was going to pay the rent the following month, Arnold posted this message in his Instagram feed on his 34th birthday at midnight:
Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org (one d) and I will send a paypal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you
Little could he have guessed that his call would receive so many responses. By the next day, his inbox was filled with requests, and they kept coming in. Overall, Arnold estimates that he received some $15,000 in print orders. Somebody even offered him $1,000 for a 4×6 print of each of his Instagram pictures that received more that 1000 likes. With so much success in so little time, wouldn’t it be enticing to keep the sale going for a while? “I remembered quickly that my interest lies in taking photos, not selling them,” Arnold revealed to The Phoblographer, and tells us the sale has ended in the meantime.
For those who missed out on the offer, there’s a slim chance that Arnold will offer his Instagram photos for sale again some time: “Whether or not I will sell in this way again remains to be seen.” Until then, he lets us know, “I’ll be on my computer organizing files to print for… a long time.” Meanwhile, his work can be admired on Instagram and on Tumblr.