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Thread: I want to sell photos. How?

  1. #1
    pono's Avatar
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    I want to sell photos. How?

    I'm just starting out, and photography is just a hobby, but I wanted to see if I could sell some of my photos. I was going to print out some 5X7 and 8X10s and matte them.

    I was thinking about going down to some local art galleries and seeing if they would sell some on consignment. I was also thinking I could go to the flea market and sell them there.

    What do you think or what do you do?

    Mahalo

  2. #2
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Hi Shane,

    I started selling prints at markets about 2 years ago. Where to start?

    Firstly let me address the galleries. Prints of the size you are talking will not suit most galleries, the sales price is not high and after their cut (possibly 60% - after all they are paying the rent on the shop) the return to you is too small to bother. I tried hanging my prints on a wall in a shop but did nothing but give them free art in some respects.

    I find that I get the best sales when I meet the buyer and can talk to the image. Like antiques there is some kind of providence in meeting the guy who took the shot, know when and where he took it and something about why.

    That leads me on to markets. I get my best sales from markets but there is a pricing point i.e. people don’t expect to buy something worth $500 in a market and if they do you will not get many. Better to turn over more images and slightly smaller margins and get your name out there. I sell framed prints in sizes of A3 ($120), A4 ($90), 6 x 8 ($40) and panoramas at 6 x 16.5 inches ($70). The trick here is I do my own printing and also buy frames and mount board direct from the manufacturer to keep the costs down and margins up. This suite of images and pricing gives a good spread for interested customers. I do use the markets to sell my one day workshops. Many have cameras and if they like your work want to learn how to do it themselves. I find I have no trouble filling workshops and the outlay is minumal and I get paid to talk (which my partner tells me I do very well).

    There is another guy who sells prints and one market. He gets his printing (5 x 7 mainly) done at one of the large discount stores, mounts the images and puts them in cellophane bags. He sells prints for $20. I feel this presentation diminishes the value of his shots.

    A good day for this guy might be $100 in sales whereas a good day for may can be $750.

    Some things to consider about you target market. If there are a large number of tourists then you might be better to buy a progam like ProShow Gold for around USD70 and make DVD shows and sell them for say USD 25 – 30. You will have an idea on such pricing but the production costs are minimal.

    I go to one local market where I sell a lot of gift cards but not many image because, while the shoppers love my work (or so they say), they are an older community and have no room on their walls for more images.

    So understand your target market, keep costs down and margins up and have fun.
    Last edited by McQ; 14th April 2011 at 07:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    To add to Peter's comments you first want good product, that's your starting point. You can attempt to sell anything, but the bottom line is do people want to buy what you are selling. You can usually tell if you have a marketable product by the amount of feedback you get from viewers of your photographs and especially if a few of these viewers ask if they can buy a print from you. Once you know you have a marketable product, then you can move onto Peter's suggestion.
    Last edited by McQ; 14th April 2011 at 07:09 PM.

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for the feedback so far. I get what you are saying about the galleries Peter. I didn't really plan on making that much money in the begining. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but I'm just trying to be realistic. My plan was kind of like your friend who prints 5X7s and wrap them up in celluphane. It makes sense that people might "de-value" your work if you present it to them like that, but I see a lot of prints that are presented like that at various places, that is where I got the idea.

    I think the market scene would be a tough one because as you said, people aren't expecting to spend a big amount of money at them. I think that selling the prints in frames makes you look more professional, and make people want them more, but I don't know what I can afford.

    I went on a boat ride on one of the outer islands. I didn't want to mess my gear up, but the lady gave me one of the DVDs they were selling. It had A LOT of photos on it. I personally would rather have something I could hold in my hands, but I guess other people don't mind, so that might be something to consider.

    Shadowman, I know I want to sell something nice. I really don't want to try to sell crap. I guess the only to find out what people think is to get it out there. I guess I've kind of been doubting my abilities, but I figure if I keep doing that, I'll probably never do it. I'm kind of in the, for the lack of better terms, f-it stage right now. I pretty sure thats a good thing though.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Hi Shane,

    I know I had great fear and trepidation when I did my first market. It is hard to hold yourself out there in front of an audience and say this is me do you like it. No-one likes rejection but as you say if you don’t do it you will never know.

    I do not do it for the money. This is a passion and as I move more into the next phase of my life (some call it retirement) this is what I want to do. I have worked for myself for over 25 years and I know the importance of valuing your work and the market you work in. I see people from time to time that enter my market and undercut price because they do not know how to value themselves. This then undervalues the whole market. It is very important when you start off that you know where the market price is, as there are people out there that make their living out of photography and it is not fair to devalue their market worth.

    My dear old mother had saying I try to live by “You would hate to die wondering”. So get some images, trust in yourself and try it. As I said before the main thing is have fun because if it is not fun it is not worth doing.

  6. #6

    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    www.camerocks.com is a cool site for amateurs to sell their photos. You can set your own price or select default prices. There are some competitions and image request which users can participate. Membership is free and payout is based on different memberships

  7. #7
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Hello. If you are interesting of pictures and would like to buy, sell or share your files, you can try our aplication.We are in Beta version and we will be gratefull for your comments.
    Visit as at www.trifyo.com

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    You say "I am just starting out", perhaps you should post some, if you are that serious then ask for REAL comment

    Not being rude but these days everyone who buys a DSLR considers themselves a David Bailey. I have seen posts from people who say "My mates think my photos are great, how do I shoot weddings for a living", when you see the shots, sheesh

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by michal View Post
    Hello. If you are interesting of pictures and would like to buy, sell or share your files, you can try our aplication.We are in Beta version and we will be gratefull for your comments.
    Visit as at www.trifyo.com
    Where are your terms and conditions, where is your contact ADDRESS, I would not upload anything to a site that appears to offer no professional support or contract.

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    One would be severely lacking in wisdom to ignore this guy's advice...http://www.luminous-landscape.com/co...rt-shows.shtml
    Ya might want to read all of his articles on LuLa.

  11. #11
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Another option: coffee table books.
    I was reading an article titled "Rethinking the Photo Book" by Jack Crager, American Photo, Mar/Apr 2014 about a trend in self publishing. Photographers and authors are using a fund raising campaign to generate enough monies to publish their books.

    http://www.americanphotomag.com/
    Last edited by Shadowman; 16th April 2014 at 01:39 PM. Reason: added link

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Good idea John...my next door neighbour is a self publisher. I do not know what books he authored already but he sells them via Amazon and have earned a good income from them.

  13. #13
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    I sell only prints. Selling files gives the purchaser the ability to print and use the file in any way they please. Even though they don't technically have permission to do so.

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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Just another idea: Where I live, amateurs can display their work at the local library for a period of one month at a time. What this does is get your work seen and get your name recognized, even if it is with a small audience. Some artists choose to submit a press release to the paper to announce their work is on display. Obviously this works in a small town and won't work as well in a larger city. BUT I believe that if people have seen your work on display and have read your name in the paper it gives some legitimacy to you as an artist...even if that legitimacy is small in scope.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by wyogirl View Post
    Just another idea: Where I live, amateurs can display their work at the local library for a period of one month at a time. What this does is get your work seen and get your name recognized, even if it is with a small audience. Some artists choose to submit a press release to the paper to announce their work is on display. Obviously this works in a small town and won't work as well in a larger city. BUT I believe that if people have seen your work on display and have read your name in the paper it gives some legitimacy to you as an artist...even if that legitimacy is small in scope.
    Local coffee shops work well in larger cities.

  16. #16
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by IzzieK View Post
    Good idea John...my next door neighbour is a self publisher. I do not know what books he authored already but he sells them via Amazon and have earned a good income from them.
    I would love to get a book of my photos published. Time/Life magazine and numerous other publications were my first experience with viewing photography. This method is just as effective, although a bit slower, than utilizing social media outlets.

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Keep in mind folks that this thread is over 3 years old now.

  18. #18
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    I would love to get a book of my photos published. Time/Life magazine and numerous other publications were my first experience with viewing photography. This method is just as effective, although a bit slower, than utilizing social media outlets.
    My neighbour said they do their own publishing because the publishing house charges them a fortune plus own some part of the image that they are now allowed to publish on other sites or books. I will try to ask how they do it...

    I rather like what my other neighbour across the road from me does -- she takes her files to a printer and the printer make it into book form...nice coffee table collection. But she is not really a photographer, she just like to collect shots during the year then have them printed to give away to family members. Still, the idea is good.

  19. #19
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by IzzieK View Post
    My neighbour said they do their own publishing because the publishing house charges them a fortune plus own some part of the image that they are now allowed to publish on other sites or books. I will try to ask how they do it...

    I rather like what my other neighbour across the road from me does -- she takes her files to a printer and the printer make it into book form...nice coffee table collection. But she is not really a photographer, she just like to collect shots during the year then have them printed to give away to family members. Still, the idea is good.
    Isabel,

    Of all forms of marketing your images, I think self publishing would be the most enjoyable yet riskier formats. If you are only publishing a few books then it may not be an issue, but if you are going for volume sales then taking on the burden of publishing costs, plus storage, and marketing could be overwhelming. If I were to undertake such an endeavor I would definitely want help and sponsoring a college marketing major intern might lessen some of the leg work. What do you think?

  20. #20
    IzzieK's Avatar
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    Re: I want to sell photos. How?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Isabel,

    Of all forms of marketing your images, I think self publishing would be the most enjoyable yet riskier formats. If you are only publishing a few books then it may not be an issue, but if you are going for volume sales then taking on the burden of publishing costs, plus storage, and marketing could be overwhelming. If I were to undertake such an endeavor I would definitely want help and sponsoring a college marketing major intern might lessen some of the leg work. What do you think?
    If I am sponsoring a college kid or two or three, and single, I might get want to look at biting into a publisher's fees myself. At the moment, I have no interest in big marketing of my photos. I make some money out of doing presentation videos from time to time for our organization. Maybe a coffee table book of my images will do for now maybe ...that is easy to self-publish and beat sonny boy to his game. I am happily retired John at age 52, for some still young enough to retire but my family needs me more around than in my previous life of travelling because of work...and I didn't own any pictures that I shot...and believe me, they were all rubbish right from the start.

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