How To Raise $17,417 For Your Photo Project on Kickstarter

Dylan Goldby, Myanmar, South East Asia, Travel, WelkinLight Photography, Kickstarter, Success, photography, tips, face, tattoo

One of the biggest problems photographers encounter, or any creative for that matter, is how to fund their personal projects. If you’re lucky enough, an editor will send you out on that dream assignment or a client will hire you for an epic job.

Often though, the projects you are most passionate about are not always the ones that pay the bills. Enter crowdfunding. Also known as crowdsourcing, it’s a way to fund a project or venture by getting financial support from a large number of people. Today there are plenty of websites willing to help like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo.

Kickstarter Meets Ancient Tribal Tattoos

A friend of mine, Dylan Golby, dreamed of photographing the last tattoo-faced women of the Lai Tu Chin Tribe in Myanmar. Not only did he want to document a piece of cultural history, he hoped to raise money to support the very people he was photographing.

Loo Phoe is 101 years old. © Dylan Goldby
Loo Phoe is 101 years old. © Dylan Goldby

Dylan decided he would make a book about the ladies, then sell it both online and in the villages where he made the images. 100% of the proceeds would be donated back to the tribe. To make it all happen, he turned to Kickstarter and raised $17,417 USD in 30 days. In fact, it was so successful his project was even featured in the Huffington Post, Slate, South China Morning Post, and many other places.

Dylan Goldby, Myanmar, South East Asia, Travel, WelkinLight Photography
Saung Te says she is embarrassed by her tattoos since she can’t make herself beautiful now. © Dylan Goldby

An Inspiring Success Story

I had a chance to interview Dylan and ask him how he made his vision a reality. And if you don’t know who he is, Dylan’s a pro photographer from Australia who has been living and working in Seoul since 2004.

I first met Dylan years ago when I lived in Korea. We were part of a tight-knit photo community there.  In addition to being a great friend, he’s one of the most inspiring photographers I know. I hope you find the interview as enlightening as I did.

The Interview

Dylan Goldby, Myanmar, South East Asia, Travel, WelkinLight Photography, exhibition
“I do not want the practice to continue,” says Win Phat. “I love my tatoo but it’s no longer necessary.” © Dylan Goldby

Show Notes

  • How Dylan transitioned from being an English teacher to a full-time photographer. [2:00]
  • Why specializing in one photographic genre or business is not always the best answer. [7:00]
  • How to choose which project to focus on. [14:50]
  • Dylan on balancing personal work with business. [16:00]
  • Where he got the idea for his Kickstarter project. [17:20]
  • What was the goal of his project. [22:44]
  • On Dylan’s photographic vision and how he created it with flash. [25:00]
  • How he found a fixer to help him. [30:00]
  • Why he chose Kickstarter over other crowdfunding platforms. [32:00]
  • Ways to leverage your existing network to build momentum. [35:00]
  • How he drew attention to his project in the press. [36:22]
  • Dylan’s tips for starting a project on Kickstarter. [40:55]
  • Dylan’s advice for making your dream project happen. [49:00]
Dylan Goldby, Myanmar, South East Asia, Travel, WelkinLight Photography
Doe Kei, who got her tatoo later than most at 15 said, “I want everyone to remember our tattoos and our culture, even if they don’t continue.” © Dylan Goldby

Interview Quotes:

“Leveraging your existing networks is a great way to build momentum”

“I want to create something that’s cool and leaves a bit of change in the world…There’s zero profit to this.”

“Don’t start a Kickstarter project and think it’s going to take care of itself.”

“Work on projects that mean something to you.”

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Author: Pete DeMarco

Pete DeMarco is an award-winning travel photographer. His passion for helping people transform their photography shows through in the expert advice he shares. His work has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, CNN, and as a staff writer for Digital Photography School.

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