Getting the capital together to launch a photographic project, or piece of photographic technology, can be daunting if you’re not with a cash-rich, big company.
These days, many turn to crowdfunding websites to raise the money they need. There’s a wealth of sites available, the most common, or well-known, being Kickstarter, IndieGogo and GoFundMe. They allow anyone to put a pitch to the public in order to raise the cash needed to get a project in development – you don’t need a single investor, instead relying on hundreds, if not thousands, of people investing a small amount.
Photographic projects are prime for this kind of treatment as you have a willing market of potential enthusiast photographers, so it’s not surprising that several of the biggest success stories come from our world.
Here we take a look at some of the best success stories that crowdfunding has produced to date, as well as taking a look at some current campaigns that you may very well want to pledge your own cash towards.
Lomography Petzval Portrait Lens
Cash raised: $1,396,149
The Petzval lens is a classic example of how well a Kickstarter can go when the product is desirable. Lomography were only looking for a goal of $100,000, but ended up making nearly 14 times that to fund its classic portrait lens.
First conceived of in 1840, the Petzval lens has a classic portrait focal length of 85mm and is characterised by sharpness in the centre, strong colour saturation, and a swirly bokeh effect. It’s now available to buy in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts and can be used with analogue or digital cameras, and that’s all thanks to the Kickstarter project.
Glif iPhone 4 Tripod Mount & Stand
Cash raised: $137,417
Creators of the Glif were only looking for $10,000, but ended up with close to $140,000 for their iPhone accessory. There was two functions for the Glif – first to allow you to mount your iPhone to a standard tripod, but also to act as a kickstand to prop your iPhone up at an angle. The makers of the Glif have gone on to create several other phone accessories (and other completely random things), but you can still buy the original Glif too.
SNAP! Pro iPhone 6/6S case
Cash raised: $46,980
Another phone accessory for photography lovers here, the Snap! Pro is designed to make taking a photo with your iPhone easier – and better. It includes an integrated shutter button to make the process more natural than using the shutter button. and, there’s a variety of lenses which can be attached to the case varying from wide angle through to macro and close-up lenses. Having raised over the original goal of $35,000, you can now buy the Snap Pro case.
Elliott Landy’s Photographs of THE BAND
Cash raised: $193,626
One of the best examples of book success we can find, the campaign to produce a hardcover book of Elliott Landy’s The Band photos only had an initial target of $65,000, but has ended up with almost three times that amount. The photographer probably owes his success to the popularity of the band, but never-the-less it’s great inspiration for music and portrait photographers the world over. The book is available to buy now.
Cash raised: $31,129
Winner of the Taylor Wessing portrait prize David Chancellor managed to raise more than $31,000 (from an original goal of $20,000) to fund the publication of a book, “Hunters”. He estimated that he needed around $30,000 to get the book made, and was able to raise the full amount – bypassing the need for his own publisher or a big cash advance. Published in 2012, the book is currently available to buy on Amazon.
Promising upcoming projects
ONAGOfly: The Smart Nano Drone
Cash raised so far: $3,137,992
Drones are big news right about now, but most of them will set you back a couple of thousand pounds. That’s where something like the ONAGOFly Nano Drone comes in. This tiny drone fits in the palm of your hand and is fitted with a high-resolution camera, GPS navigation and a long battery life. For $259, you can back and buy one of the drones – a fraction of the price of some of the other drones on the market.
Yellowstone National Park Photography Book
Cash raised so far: $11,536
Although there’s lots of projects to choose from when it comes to photobooks, we’ve picked this one because it’s over half way towards its target. The aim of the book is to re-photograph the iconic landscapes of the world famous Yellowstone National Park and then turn it into a beautiful coffee table book.
Mokacam – the world’s smallest 4K camera
Cash raised so far: $916,133
Another huge success story, Mokacam has raised nearly 1400% of its original goal. The camera is a teeny tiny camera which you can hold between your fingertips and uses 4K video recording in its capture. There’s also a couple of useful add-ons, such as a rotating screen and additional batteries. It’s much smaller than a conventional camera, and even smaller than the GoPro Hero 4, making it appealing to videographers who want to capture footage on their travels.