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Thread: Selling Images.....Where To Start

  1. #1
    Martin's Avatar
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    Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Id like to try to market some of my best shots but haven't the foggiest where to start.

    A friend of mine managed to get a free showing of some of his images in a gallery on the Fulham Road in London, in which they took a percentage. Is this the right way to go?

    Thanks for any help you can give.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Hi Martin, I don't sell my images (and I likely couldn't give them away), but I saw this review of a site where you can sell your work. Perhaps this will help? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/how-to...e-photo-album/

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Hi Martin,

    I have a similar interest. I believe there are several routes. First that of using a agency such as iStockphoto, Corbis or Getty. There is an application process to help maintain quality. Else, market yourself. Make personal business cards and hand those out as you photograph other people and offer to send them a copy. Post here and else where. Compete in online and magazine contests. It is all about exposure (in both senses).

    Erik

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    There are several books and websites on that subject. Check this one out by Rob Sheppard:

    http://www.robsheppardphoto.com/books.html

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Hi there.

    I use Redbubble https://secure.redbubble.com/auth/login

    They take all the hassle out of it for you.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    It depends on exactly what sort of photos you want to sell and whether you want to sell downloads or prints.

    At one time I sold a few prints through a friend's cafe. He got free wall decoration, which changed when I made a sale. But since he sold up I haven't bothered.

    Also at the cafe, I sold some greetings type cards which were basically an A4 size card folded in half to create an A5 size card with a photo of a local scene on the outside and a writing space inside. Like good quality Christmas card type of thing.

    I put them, plus an envelope, into a cellophane wrapper.

    And on the back was an advert for his cafe.

    I'm thinking about trying something similar to raise funds for our local History Society.

    Another friend sells prints in a local craft market. And a couple of times a year he hires a local hall and puts on an exhibition.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    I think that if you want to make anything more than just a little pocket money then you'll probably have to go down the route of printing them at a decent size, and getting them "RTH" (Ready to Hang). My personal medium of choice is canvas prints (because I manufacture the internal frames and to the stretching myself), but framed behind glass also looks great. The big problem is though that canvas printing / framing behiond glass make each unit quite expensive to produce ... then on top of that you have the margin that you want to make (100%?) - and on top of that, you have the margin that the selling agent wants to make (100%?) - and often taxes on top of that. So what starts out as something that costs nothing to take - a little to print - ends up needing to be sold for several hundred dollars (and you end up wearing the expenses if it doesn't sell or while it sells). Not saying it can't be done, but it can easily end up costing you money (been there, done that too on many occasions!).

    Selling via coffee house walls etc can work (I get lots of offers from such folks to let me hang my wares), but a lot of the time what usually happens is that you end up decorating their walls for free. I know that sales CAN be made that way, but personally I'm not a big believer in folks popping up to the counter and ordering a "trim latte - caramel slice - oh, and that framed print on the wall"; for the most part they come in for coffee and sticky buns - not to buy art.

    Sorry to sound a bit negative, but the reality is that if you don't want to lose money (a little or a lot) then it really requires a lot of work.

    Hope this "helps"!

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    If you are going to sell as Colin says RTH, I would suggest you standardize (atleast to an extent) the outer dimensions of your mounts. This allows you to purchase just a few frames and swap images between them if you find some are selling and some are not. Hope that makes sense and best of luck, Tom.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGladstone View Post
    If you are going to sell as Colin says RTH, I would suggest you standardize (atleast to an extent) the outer dimensions of your mounts. This allows you to purchase just a few frames and swap images between them if you find some are selling and some are not. Hope that makes sense and best of luck, Tom.
    Or even take the next step and make ones own frames (a fellow photographer attended a class and reports that it's really not that hard). I standardised on my canvas sizes - which means that I have jigs setup for cutting (canvas) frames to length etc - saves a lot of time. Not sure how easy it would be changing an image in a frame though, as I believe the framers typically glue the image to the backboard to keep it away from the glass (via the matte).

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    What are thoughts here on prints behind acrylic (either bonded or printed straight on the acrylic, then there's a back layer with possibility of an attachment, so RTH). Those might be a less pricey solution than framed behind glass.

    Remco

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    What are thoughts here on prints behind acrylic (either bonded or printed straight on the acrylic, then there's a back layer with possibility of an attachment, so RTH). Those might be a less pricey solution than framed behind glass.

    Remco
    I've seen it done, but as to how much the market will pay for it, is something that would need to be tested.

    Perception is everything in this game

  12. #12

    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I think that if you want to make anything more than just a little pocket money...
    What if you do?

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post
    What if you do?
    Then go for it - free world

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Or even take the next step and make ones own frames (a fellow photographer attended a class and reports that it's really not that hard). I standardised on my canvas sizes - which means that I have jigs setup for cutting (canvas) frames to length etc - saves a lot of time. Not sure how easy it would be changing an image in a frame though, as I believe the framers typically glue the image to the backboard to keep it away from the glass (via the matte).
    Building frames is not particularly difficult. Especially your average photo frame. The difficult part is choosing the right frame for the image, unless you just stick to boring old black I make frames for a living and although I have known framers stick images to backboards, I personally do not, preffering the more reversible method of attaching the image to the top edge of the mount.
    Despite this, the dimensions of the backboard would usually be the same as the outer dimensions of the mount, so whatever way you look at it swapping images between frames need not be that difficult.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    What are thoughts here on prints behind acrylic (either bonded or printed straight on the acrylic, then there's a back layer with possibility of an attachment, so RTH). Those might be a less pricey solution than framed behind glass.

    Remco
    This method seems to be increasingly popular and can look very tasteful if you get the right kind of kit. It does simplify the framing process greatly aswell, but to do it well is not cheap.
    If you aim to sell framed images and are still unsure of your target market, my advice would be to frame in black or natural wood such as ash, and use white to off white mounts. These styles sit well with most peoples tastes and will certainly be some of the cheaper options available to you.
    Many framers will offer bulk discounts, particularly if you buy the same size and style frame. If you do decide to work with a framer, ask if he stocks any minerva/polycor mouldings. These are made of plastic and are much cheaper than their wooden counterparts but the finishes are still generally very pleasing. Also make your framer aware that you are trying to sell your work and if all goes to plan you will offer him repeat custom!

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    I intend on making several posts to this thread since I need to be soon off to work and my time is limited.

    First off, learn how to price your photography and a key element is scope. If you sell a one off print, that would bring a very different price than selling a license for the buyer to print your image in some form to be sold to or seen by millions.

    I have actually seen commercially mass produced calendars for sale in book stores that gave image credit solely to the stock photography web site where they got them. Not a single photographer was named and even worse the complete photo collection cost the calendar publisher no more than about $50US ! Be warned, stock photography in the digital age is a rip off.

    This is a must read for anyone whether they plan on selling finished prints or going into licensed sales:

    American Society of Media Photographers' Licensing Guide

    I'll post more later, this link is a lot to read as it is already.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Another quickie reference:

    Rangefinder magazine's article "Online vs In-studio Sales" by Sal Cincotta

    Putting your photography online is a start but as Sal points out, there are better ways to present your work to get sales. Sal's article is addressed towards professional photographers who are hired by clients, but the realization that few buyers actually spend money for online presented photography is something that needs to be understood.

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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Quote Originally Posted by MrGladstone View Post
    Building frames is not particularly difficult. Especially your average photo frame. The difficult part is choosing the right frame for the image, unless you just stick to boring old black I make frames for a living and although I have known framers stick images to backboards, I personally do not, preffering the more reversible method of attaching the image to the top edge of the mount.
    Despite this, the dimensions of the backboard would usually be the same as the outer dimensions of the mount, so whatever way you look at it swapping images between frames need not be that difficult.
    Hi Tom,

    Out of interest, what equipment would be needed for someone who wanted to be able to do low volume / high labour framing? It's something I'm interested in getting into -- just wondering where one starts?

  19. #19
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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Now, I have time to continue...

    In regard to photo sales, you need to think of each image you complete as a potential source of recurring income. You invest your money into the equipment and the time and effort to develop the skills which permit you the ability to create an image. Each image is the culmination of that investment and a big benefit is that you can sell multiple prints of the same image to multiple buyers. In order to sell your photography, you need to determine what a print is worth to you, addressing your costs both tangible and intangible. Another factor that impacts pricing is whether you choose to do signed and numbered limited editions or open editions, the method of printing, i.e. on paper, canvas, or even imaged on aluminum as what http://imagewizards.net/ can do.

    Though an easy and efficient to allow others to view your photography, I recommend that you give some careful thought to photo sharing web sites, especially if you may ever decide to sell your work. READ their terms of service, even if you already use a photo sharing site. You will take a very different perspective on their choice of wording when thinking of each image as a potential source of income. Some sites will even allow guests to order prints, and various merchandising, posters, T-Shirts, mugs, mouse pads, cards, etc. Can you set the royalties that you'll be paid for each item ? Does the photo sharing site even profit share ? You'll find that many could easily get rich off your hard effort from that one photograph of yours that just strikes a cord with viewers who must have it on a T-shirt. What if one million T-shirts get sold and you don't even see a penny ?

    Another factor to consider with photo sharing sites is how they store and present your images. If you upload a full pixel resolution image ( a great way to show off to all those pixel peepers ), lets say something suitable to create a 40" x 80" print, does the general public have access to it ? Obviously, the site needs to rescale the image for normal presentations, but if the general public has access to the original uploaded file, they can then download the original and create a print or two for their own personal use and you'll have no way to ever know or be compensated.
    -=-=-=-
    I know this thread has gone in frame carpentry and I see nothing wrong with do it yourselfers, but if you take a step back from the process, ask your self what Business do you what to be in ? An independent professional or semi-professional photographer or an all in one photographer, printer, framer ?

    Unless you already have all the tools and equipment sitting in a shop waiting for a project, you may find that you'll get better quality and faster turn around if you farm this out to one of the many photographic print services already serving photographers.

    For me personally, just the investment in a large format photo printer would be a waste, irregardless of cost. I'd never run enough prints through it before the intrusive road dust fowls and ruins the mechanism. ( I have a Xerox Phaser 8500 that I need to disassemble and dig the dirt from. )

    There are many companies who do excellent work, from online photo presentation, print making, framing, and some even operate as a all-in-one for photographic sales. The one I use is www.imagekind.com and there is a long list of others who advertise to the fine art and professional photographer communities. ( If you wish me to compile a list, just let me know. )

  20. #20
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    Re: Selling Images.....Where To Start

    Here is some more reading for everyone - Dan Heller has compiled his professional photography blog into an online ebook. The whole book is well worth reading by anyone contemplating a profit from their photographic activities, but for this thread, I recommend these chapters:

    Photography Marketing

    Selling Photography Prints

    Pricing & Profit

    Stock Agencies
    Last edited by Steaphany; 17th October 2011 at 03:20 AM.

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