Why I'm Giving Up On Patreon

As many of you (like 5 of you really) may know, I have a Patreon page. It's been running a little over a year and a half. It has turned out to be a resounding failure, for a slew of reason, not all of them my fault, some of them very much so, regardless... I'm shutting it down, and here's why.

Patreon is very much based on this concept of hope labor. I will do this thing, for free, and hope that someone will support it in the future. Artists, writers, photographers, designers, you know what I'm talking about. Great idea in theory, entirely terrible idea in practice. The fact that I am and have been basically doing this anyway, for years, without a platform to gain sponsors and patrons, makes Patreon a terribly attractive idea on many levels. Here's the problem(s)...

"Do you want to buy this photograph? No? I completely understand."

This is, and always has been, my standard sales pitch. I'm not a salesman, I don't want to be a salesman, I never will be a salesman. Period. Patreon promises a platform that connects paying fans to the creators they want to follow, but it does not deliver. It provides a decent platform for pushing work to subscribing patrons, but fails miserably at actually searching for, finding, and connecting anyone with anything. The responsibility is solely on the creator to seek out and drive patrons to their page and close the deal. Additionally, the publishing platform itself is quite lacking, and though better than when I started, needs a great deal more features and flexibility to become viable for the majority of content creators. For this platform, Patreon skims 5% of artists earnings, not including processing fees (Paypal, Stripe, etc).

Patreon is absolutely amazing for people with a large, established following, and that's not me. The time put into promoting this page is staggering when you take a step back and actually look at it. On top of that, the other services used to promote it require their own investment in time and effort to be of any use or effectiveness. I currently run a website, with a blog updated semi-regularly, a Facebook page, an Instagram stream, at least 2 or 3 Tumblr blogs at any given time (because I freaking love Tumblr, honestly), and probably some other social-media crap I'm forgetting about. It's ludricous, it's busy work, and I'm tired of it.

Perhaps most importantly, I feel as though I've begun to create content to satisfy a subscriber, and that is absolutely the last thing on Earth I ever wanted to be when I decided to pursue photography as my life's work. This took me a minute to realize, and come to terms with, and it's not something I'm willing to continue doing. I am, however, in a position that I don't have to. 

By definition, I am not technically, on paper, a professional photographer. The vast majority of my income comes from other places. I work at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in a full time position that affords me a decent salary, benefits, and flexibility to pursue my own work. I do classroom support for various departments, I teach on average 3 photography courses a semester, I manage the pool of equipment that students can checkout during classes, and I'm incredibly fortunate to have this stable, steady income that allows me to continue producing my own work. I also married really well, and that doesn't hurt either.

The point is, I don't need Patreon, and they don't need me, which is a wonderful thing.

It wasn't always this way... I've been crushingly poor at times, I've weighed 50 pounds less than I do now (it wasn't pretty), I've sold cameras to make rent, I've borrowed money from friends, I've been in debt, but the solution to those problems, the very real issues that working artists are faced with every day, aren't going be solved with Patreon, or Kickstarter, there is no app for that, there is no magic platform. 

It hasn't been a total failure to say the least. I've thoroughly enjoyed creating new work in a different way, and putting it out into the world. To those of you that supported my work, I cannot begin to thank you enough. To think that even a handful of you out there cared enough about what I was doing to not just pledge money, but to want to get prints in the mail once a month on top of that is just amazing and flattering, and I am forever in your debt. Some of you have supported me from day one (I'm looking at you Doc and Jon) and for that I will be eternally grateful.

All that said, I will be shutting down my Patreon page, and ceasing all subscriptions, effective immediately. From here on out, I'll be focusing on this, my own personal website, and less on the social media busy work that has become such a distraction.

And now, for the sales pitch...

If you'd like to support my work, please buy a print, purchase a book, commission a portrait, help me fund an exhibition, share my work with others, or just send me an email and tell me you enjoy what I do. It would mean the world to me.

And if you don't want to do any of those things... I completely understand.

Patreon Updates...

Finally getting back into some semblance of a routine, and feel more eager than usual to get back to work. As such I've updated a few things on Patreon going forwad... 

#0478_13 - Self Portrait In Mirror, 2016.

First and foremost, I've changed the payment schedule from per release, to per month... I've got a lot of new work to share and new prints in the queue, so I'll be releasing a new print each month in addition to normal posts. 

Second, I've added another tier of support at $5. It's the quickest and easiest way to support my work. For $5 a month you'll get access to all exclusive content I post on Patreon, behind the scenes updates, process notes, discounts on prints and books and the like.

Once again, to support my work, please visit

Thanks to everyone for all the support.... 


This Thing Called Patreon


With my list of preoccupations growing, a few months back I essentially shut down the Patreon page that I was attempting to build up. On top of that, migrating my website to another host and switching platforms unexpectedly broke a bunch of the content I had posted previously on Patreon, which tells me two things...

One, Patreon is not a terribly complete platform as of yet and lacks a great deal of functionality (or, I don't actually know how to use it properly, both answers are equally probable.) I'm sure it will come around, they keeping adding new bells and whistles, it just has a ways to go yet.

Two, I've really been going about posting content on Patreon all wrong thus far (not to suggest I know the right way to go about it now, but I'm going to try something different.) So here's what's happening at the moment...

I've scrapped a great deal of the content that I had posted previously on Patreon; the extended takes, larger galleries from studio shoots, etc., have all been pulled, for a host of reasons, the two most important being most of that content was broken, and it would take me an exorbitant amount of time to fix it all.

A couple months ago I changed the release of paid posts / prints from a per month schedule to a per-release structure, meaning patrons are charged only when I release content. For the time being I'm going to keep things this way, however I may go back to a per month release at some point.

I'm going to continue to release regular updates going forward, process notes, some behind the scenes stuff here and there, etc. Long story short, I'm going to use Patreon predominantly to distribute prints on a regular basis to patrons from here on out. Prints will be released no more than once a month moving forward...

Check it out here...

Print Release / Reward Tiers are as follows...

$10 per release: 4.25x5.5 inch digital proof print. Printed with Epson inks on Canson Fiber Rag paper, signed and dated on the back of the print.

$20 per release: 5x7 inch fiberbase proof print, hand made, signed and dated.

$40 per release: 8x10 inch fiberbase proof print, hand made, signed and dated.

$75 per release: 11x14 inch fiberbase master print, hand made, signed, dated and numbered. Selenium toned for permanence.