My Least Successful Photo

Ron Niebrugge Las Vegas, Nevada, Photos, Travel 15 Comments

Las Vegas Strip, Nevada.

Las Vegas Strip, Nevada.

Well if I’m going to write about my successful photos, it is only fair that I write about my unsuccessful ones as well.

I have plenty of photos that have never, or rarely sell, so why single out this one?  For a few reasons:  not only was it somewhat expensive to produce, but at the time, I really thought I had a winner.  To add insult to injury, I think I may have missed out on even a far bigger marketing opportunity, but more on that later.

We have some great Nevada customers, so we have a built in market if I can come up with new ways to photograph Las Vegas.  I’m probably not the first person with the idea, but at the time, I did some searching and couldn’t find any other images like this, I thought I had something unique.  Today, there are lots of similar photos.

In addition to having a built in customer base, one of my stock agencies liked the photo so much that they used it in a email promo that was sent to some 15,000 photo buyers.  Now I knew for sure it would sell big!  But alas, we have nothing to show for it except a hotel room and convertible rental car bill.

Now some might point out that at least you got to cruise the strip in a tax deductible convertible!  I agree, that could be fun, except in this case, it was 54 degrees and I figured it would look bad if I was in a jacket, so went with short sleeves with the heater on high!  People were definitely staring at the dude with the top down on a cold winter night, in short sleeves, with a camera and tripod standing up in the back of the car!

So back to the missed opportunity.  I figured as long as I had the car and tripod setup that I would use my interval timer to shoot a series of images as I drove up and down the strip with the thought of putting together a high-def time lapse video.  I have all the images, but haven’t taken the time to learn how to convert them to video, or learn how to market video, but in the years since this shoot, I sure have seen a lot of time-lapse videos of the strip.  Pretty much any show about Vegas uses one!  Actually in recent weeks I have been researching and shooting more time lapses – so maybe someday soon.

Comments 15

  1. Well for what its worth, I love the shot. And am also a little surprised it didn’t do better for you. But there you go – there’s no predicting any stock market, is there?

    For info on time lapse video I remember Nicole Young post a video of how she made hers – looked very easy…so go for it!

  2. Dang, Ron:

    I’ve seen this image as part of your stock for years.

    I woulda for sure thought it was a great seller. Proves the point that you just never know….



    PS: Watch it sell tomorrow and make this post moot.

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    Hi Gary,

    Thanks man – I would love to make this post moot!

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for the comment – yeah you are right – it seems all stock markets are hard to predict!

    Thanks for the link suggestion – I found some other good sites, I just need to dive in.

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    Hi Carl,

    You should use it – it could be part of a whole new ad campaign exposing your backpacking trips to a whole new clientele. “Tired of losing your money in Vegas…let me take some of it while in the Wrangells”. You might need to shine bright lights in their faces, and make lots of noise so they feel at home.

  5. Hey Ron,

    That’s what I’m thinking – what I would REALLY like is a time-lapse rendition of the scene. Do you have anything like that and how much does it cost? Do you offer in-state discounts, or educational discounts? 🙂



  6. Wow, these are incredible photos – both Vegas and Valley Of Fire. I wouldn’t say the photo above is unsuccesful – it’s fantastic. You might be the only photographer who takes better pictures of Vegas than I do.

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  8. Hi Ron,
    I think the picture is great!. Reminds me of how fast my money will go in Vegas!

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  10. Ron,
    I was wondering if I could place a few of your photographs of Nevada on my web page for my school project – I really like them. It’s so hard to find pictures that capture some bit of the life we actually see.

    The name of my course is GEOG 353: Cartography and GIS, in Ohio Wesleyan University.
    My main project page is
    Work is still in progress, until December 2009.

    I hope that I will hear from you soon – you can reach me at


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    Hi Michelle,

    If it is for a school project, and if you can use images straight from the website, then you can use them for your project. Thanks for asking,


  12. Your work is some of the best I have seen on the internet. I took a few great shots of Carmel beach at dusk in December when I was out there, and before I had a chance to process the film, the camera was stolen. I am sick about it. I am embarrassed to admit I have a digital camera that I use most often, but also have an old twin lens reflex, Pentax, I believe, similar to the one that Edward Weston used to use. (I borrowed it from my uncle Ted Weston while in school in the bay area). So my question is…
    Do you have any shots of Carmel or Monterey?

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    Thank you very much Joan!

    Really sorry to hear about your camera, that is a bummer. Sounds like you have a great camera – but I certainly understand the temptation to use the quick and easy digital camera – they are fun, and that is really what it is all about!

    I did spend a couple days in the Carmel / Monterey area a number of years ago – you can see the photos here:

    Thanks again,


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