A calendar of your photographs offers a year long reminder of your best shots; it also enables you to see what progress you’ve achieved in the past 12 months – and they make great presents for your friends! But are they a commercially viable proposition?

1. Choosing your photographs

So… you’ve got a thousand photos taken within the last year, and you need to pick the top 13 for your calendar – easy, right?

Well, maybe not quite so easy: calendars have a relatively short shelf life, from roughly October to end of January; anything beyond that and they’re likely to end up in the reduced price bin going cheap - so you need to be ready to go to print by September at the latest.

Perhaps you decide to have a theme for your calendar - this also narrows down your choice: for example, if you decide on ‘Beaches’ an artistic shot of your rusty toolbox probably won’t cut it! My choice for 2015 is ‘Serenity’ and it’s been the guiding principle for what’s in and what’s not.

Another important factor is that each image has to be interesting enough to hold the buyer’s attention for a minimum of 4 weeks; however beautiful or perfect a shot may be, it’s not the right one if the viewer is likely to get bored with it after 10 days…

2. Marketing your calendar

While complementary calendars can be good exposure, beware of getting too ‘gift happy’! In my first year I gave away far too many to people who didn’t really appreciate it and/or never got back to me. This year I’m targeting a select few, having first done my research, such as finding out the name of the person doing the buying for a certain shop rather than just handing my precious creation to an assistant who probably never passed it on. I also plan a follow-up call or email, perhaps a week after gifting.

3. Is it all worth it?

The biggest stumbling block is the cost of printing; yes, there are cheap alternatives, especially online, but do you really want your precious photographs to look like a bad 1950’s postcard? Some printers offer a reduced rate around mid-November, but by the time the calendars reach your letterbox they’ll be getting rather close to their sell-by date! It follows that, unless you can do your own printing or are already world famous, you probably won’t make much of a profit.

So why do it?

In my case I’ve looked at beautiful calendars for years thinking how much I would love to put one together, so in some ways I’m fulfilling a dream – for me, there’s no better reason to do anything, although making a little profit would be nice too…

What are your thoughts on this?