Crowd-Funded Gear: Photographer Seeks $6,500 for D4s

Stephen Yanni, Orlando  photographer started a GoFundMe campaign on Saturday to raise money to buy a Nikon D4s. Jared Polin of Fro Knows Photo made a YouTube video this evening talking about this unusual move. The video also has phone interview between Jared and the photographer. [Update: Yanni's GoFundMe was removed 03/05/2014].

Yanni explains why he elected to use this "alternative marketing method" citing taking over 100k images a year, requiring an upgrade every two years, and having limited ability to pick up extra events to cover the new gear.

Yanni has set up 6 tiers of rewards as detailed on his GoFundMe:


As written on GoFundMe:

Buying a new camera every two years is an expense that Pro-Photographers have to take on to keep up. (No they don't take any better pictures, but when you take 100,000 images a year they do wear out)

Help us get the latest and greatest and to maintain our edge in the Orlando Market.

We are not asking for a handout, the products listed all have value - (Save maybe our "Gratefulness").

Just last year, The Fro helped Jaleel King, another photographer raise over $9,000 towards purchasing a new wheelchair (as reported here).

While we've seen books, lenses, accessories, even apps (Shootset will be awesome whenever it comes out) funded on crowdsource sites like GoFundMe and KickStarter this campaign is the first to my knowledge to try to get equipment for an individual. As of the time of publication Yanni's GoFundMe is still yet to raise any money.

Where do you stand on Yanni seeking to crowdsource what is, in essence, a business expense?

[Via Fro Knows Photo]

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please send me your paypal money...... as if there are not enough beggars when i stroll to our city.....

What is your paypal account? I'll send you a dollar for this funny post of yours.

it's raised $0 in 3 days, after being posted on some pretty high profile website... if you know anything about crowdsourcing you'll know this is going to fail now :) Obviously people don't agree with the idea!

You don't seem to understand how publicity works. Internet trolls are no value and are always there to pee in the pool, but free publicity is an amazing thing.

Well yeah, it's good for the publicity it will bring.. but I don't think it's going to bring him a new camera

if you kept up with the story, the camera is already ordered. For better or worse, this was an attempt to use an alternative marketing method. Sure, the internet trolls were an unattended consequence. But, he's now in a dialogue that is going to be a net positive in publicity alone. For example, Petapixel's comments are fare more thoughtful than the flagrant trolling found here, and he did an interview with Fro-Knows...

Another note, I think the Strobist clown that basically drew attention to this by internet shaming a small business owner stands to lose, whereas as Stephen has nothing but to gain in all the attention.

Must admit I only skimmed over the article, so I didn't read that!

Well yeah I know what you mean, it's the same for the people who offer bitcoin as a payment service.. I'm sure they'd prefer cash but this gets more eyeballs on them.

Anyway the campaign has been deleted now, perhaps he got too much attention?

Heard he actually booked a few clients because of it, but didn't need the photographers looking at him through a Microscope anymore.

makes sense!

This might become the new business model of the future. If you don't succeed in what you do take to the internet and ask for additional funds. Awesome.
Go figure if that works ... it'll trigger a torrent of copycats coming up with all sorts of bogus excuses why they are in dire need for additional money.

Apart from that ... pro DSLRs are good for 400,000 releases (claimed by Nikon and Canon product descriptions) which in the case at hand translates to 4 years of usage. After that, replacing a worn out shutter comes in way below $1000 in cost.

I'm disgusted to say at least.

Excellent job at reading the article. Notice that giant screen grab after that first paragraph? That would be where the poster offered services, making your post seem silly at best.

Christopher Sztybel's picture

Go pound sand.

Way to add value to a conversation.

Christopher Sztybel's picture

Way to hate David Jay. Another coward hiding behind a screen name.

Go pound sand

Haha pathetic lol. Begging for money to buy a D4s. Boohoo...I don't make enough money with my photography so everyone please help me by donating money so I can get a shiny new camera of my choosing. Hey Stephen how about you work your ass off like everyone else does and buy one yourself instead of begging like a loser. I don't care if anything thinks I'm being too harsh...this guy needs a serious reality check to the face ;)

Wow? Did you watch the video...

Yea I did and I still think he's a loser. I don't care what way you spin it or what kind of way you look at it, to me he's still just begging for money. Like others have said, he should practice with the gear he has, get better at this craft and save up for a camera like the rest of us.

He already bought it ...

*facepalm* Another internet genius here folks...

Let let's see your award winning work...He has won many. Put up or STFU

Sorry I'm not sorry, but what makes him pathetic? Each donation someone makes gets a service in return. He doesn't get free money, people pay at any level and get a headshot session, or a wedding, or a mini workshop. Not sure how this is really any different from doing business beside getting clients in a weird way.

They pay, he does a service. Where is he not working for the money?

You appear to be suffering from a comprehension issue. He is offering services. This is an effort to experiment with an alternative marketing idea. You on the other hand, are just an internet troll that is really too lazy to read all the content and are too stubborn to admit they are wrong in their hardheadedness. Your language makes you sound like an immature child.

Well looks like the campaign have been taken down =) I'm guessing he did not get his D4. Funny is that if he had done some better marketing and maybe gotten a few of his luxury wedding packages sold, he'd easilly afford the D4. Now everyone remembers him (for a few seconds ;) as the guy who tried to beg on GoFundMe and hide it as marketing. Maybe not the best feeling to have associated with your professional brand.

This whole effort landed him an interview on another blog where he said his D4s is ordered (to make his current D4 one of his backups). I imagine with all the free publicity he no longer needs the GoFundMe site. Gotta love social media!

Grant Beachy's picture

Would you be mad at the dude if he asked for a small-business loan? I don't have a problem with people presenting a solid value for their goal. If he did that, and had the goodwill built up, then bravo. Bands do it to fund records, I have friends who started a donut shop, and if I thought I could get the necessary buzz to get a camera that would allow me to do something awesome, then sweet. Clearly the market has spoken though. Crowdfunding in't a magic money machine, it's just pitching ideas. As long as you aren't lying about what you can deliver, give it a shot, and if you don't have the goods (either through product offered, or personal goodwill accumulated) then you don't get the cash.

Just go to that gofundme page and type in "Nikon" looks like there are over 50 others with the same idea from before.

And others did even raise some money. They didn't ask for a 6500$ camera though. And maybe that's how he noticed his boldness as the entry now seems to have disappeared.

He's getting so much free publicity, even an interesting phone interview on one blog, he probably doesn't need the GoFundMe site. No need to feed the trolls if another door opened elsewhere.

He doesn't need it. Was funded even before GoFundMe started:

He was just trying to sell his stuff. It's just that when he does so on a crowdfunding website, he looks like he's asking for something he otherwise couldn't afford.