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Thread: Selling Images

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    Selling Images

    Hi all. Not sure if has come up before or not.
    I would like to know how you pro’s and semi pro’s sell your images.
    I understand that genres like sports, portraiture and weddings have outlets like magazines and clients.

    But I think landscape images would be a different kettle of fish.
    I have seen many market stalls with some TOGs trying to sell prints. But are they full time pro’s and do they have a studio with regular buyers browsing through?
    I know there are some professional photographers on here that produce really good wall hangers. How do they sell those images? Do they do their own printing and framing and hang them in their own gallery for people to browse and buy? I know there is selling over the internet. But I think a serious buyer would like to know who the photographer is and is the photographer a member of AIPP.

    There is also a fair few amateur/hobbyist photographers like myself that on the odd occasion (In my case very odd) that come up with that one image that would look good in a gallery, and sell quite easily.

    Would some of the professional photographers that see these images on the forum offer to add that image to their gallery/studio to sell on consignment, with the image owner bearing all the costs of printing and framing up front? After all the professional photographers know what sell and what doesn’t sell.

    I know this could be a difficult question. Because a pro would rather sell one of his own images before selling someone else’s image that hasn’t gone through the hard work of setting up their own business.

    Geoff

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    I'm also interested in this Thread Geoff, I'm in the process of trying to do the same , I just got back from some Markets , There were about three stalls selling Landscapes/Seascapes , Not cheaply either
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    OK my normal business model nowdays, is based on showing what I can do, and then being commissioned by a prospective client to shoot for their particular company or organisation. So my website is based on that premise. Yes I do shoot portraits, and shoot commissioned landscape works, which again is generally based on my prospective client trusting that I will deliver a standard that I show on my website.

    Having said that, many of my colleagues have studio/galleries/shop fronts, which they use to display and sell their work, that they have shot on a non commissioned basis - which means that the customer is buying what they see, and not what they expect to see (hope that makes sense).

    re Market Photographers - ask them the questions you want to know. Most I've spoken to are only too happy to chat about their business - whether its part time or not is fairly irrelevant. Unless you want to know if they survive full time off it.


    Would another photographer sell your work on consignment - frankly from my experience I doubt it severely. Not enough margin in it would be one good reason.

    When I was in the UK I used to shoot a great deal more self commisioned landscape work, and I found myself at a loss as to where I could display and sell it (bear in mind this was almost pre internet). So I spoke with a few local shops and cafes and by supplying them with framed art works for their walls, they were happy to sell them on my behalf (very few even charged me a commission - because I was decorating their bare walls). Best places were resteraunts, & cafes. I also found quite a market by approaching hairdressers, and again supplied some nicely framed B&W portraits, and a set of marketing materials (A5 brochures, business cards etc), they too were happy to promote my business, without commissions or charfges.

    So the outcome would be find your own places to sell your own prints - because its unlikely that another photographer would sell your work on their site/shop/gallery.

    Another way of selling, is to organise an exhibition of your work - and some small art galleries are interested in selling photography, (but an exhibition doesnt need to be in a gallery). Quite simply look around your local area for any spare spaces - for instance shops to lease, and then see if the owners are interested in allowing you to furnish the shop window of your framed prints for a small fee.

    Basically you will probably need to spend money to earn money.

    And although it might pain me to say this A buyer of a print that they can see in front of them, and have access to buy it, really isnt going to be too concerned if you're part time, full time or even a member of a photographic association. People who sell their work, have generally had the confidence to take the leap to start a business. They're not always the best photographers out there, they've just been brave enough to have a go.
    Last edited by Longshots; 17-07-2011 at 2:33pm.
    William

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    Thanks William for the useful info Now Ya got me thinking , BTW the Markets were the Carrara Markets on the Coast , My biggest problem is to get the Images printed and framed $$$$

    PS : At the right price
    Last edited by William; 17-07-2011 at 2:48pm.

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    Also, Thanks for the information William.
    One part of the question relates to printing and framing. As professionals you know what type of image will sell, and what image wont.
    We amateur/hobbyist think that a lot of our images are worth a million bucks. But in reality nearly all are not worth a brass razzoo to a image buyer.
    It would be nice if a pro tog could say when giving CC if an image is worth the expense of printing and framing then showing at a gallery.
    I have some ideas to try and sell some of my images, as postcards or small prints, that I can display in our local shops. But it would be nice to have a person that I respect say which images would be worth it.
    Personally I'm not interested in selling any images. But when the ball and chain complains that I'm out taking photos, using up fuel, wheres the money coming from?
    Geoff
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    At the right price ?

    My advice to you would be, if you're going to get it done, dont do it cheaply - do it right.

    The biggest cost will be your framing. And then you also want the print to look right. Plus you dont want someone returning it in a few years time with a complaint that its badly faded/yellowed.

    And then at the end of the day, that cost will influence the selling price

    BTW Geoff - "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - which is response to knowing what images sells or not. I wouldnt be so brave to say what type of image sells.
    Last edited by Longshots; 17-07-2011 at 3:38pm.

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    Geoff I have been thinking along similar lines. I have got some 16x20 and 8x24 frames from the Reject Shop and other similar shops for around $6-$10 each, I have used a number of these for prints for family and they don't look too bad. The printer I use does 12x18 prints for $5.00 ea or $2.00 ea for 20+ so the outlay isn't too great to start, I also have some 8x24 (A4 Panorama) paper which produces quite a good print from my Pixma 4700 printer. I have a small spare room (originally a filled in veranda) with a seperate outside door. This would be my Gallery, a couple of signs on the highway and one at the gate, then wait and see. If it does ok I will invest in the gear to make my own timber frames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshots View Post
    BTW Geoff - "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" - which is response to knowing what images sells or not. I wouldn't be so brave to say what type of image sells.
    I totally agree. But my eye hasn't got the experience or knowledge that someone like yourself and other professionals have. Your eye makes you a living (Well hopefully)
    When I do like an image presented on here that I recon would sell easy, I use the old "Gee that would look good hanging on a wall" comment. I certainly wouldn't say "you could sell that" A comment like mine when coming from someone like yourself would either make me think I'm on the right track or it may be worth the time and expense to get it framed and put on show.

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. I did a small display of my bird photos and was approached by people to buy them - I was surprised as I thought there was no market for bird photos. I also have been approached to sell through displaying at an exhibition through camera club. This was a real surprise for me, as my intention was not to sell.
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    Geoff, look at your photos through the eye of a buyer, If you think it is good enough that you might buy it, it is probably more than good enough to put up for sale. Most photographers are their own worst critics. Williams idea of putting some up in the local take away or Hairdressors is a way to get a good gauge on what others think.
    Keith.

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    Now i have no experience in this field but the one thing i notice every time we venture up to gold coast to go to the markets , that every one selling prints at the markets or in shopping centres is doing the exact same thing ( selling beach / wave shots, pandanas trees at the beach, or dawn / dusk beach sunset shots. It sort of dilutes the genre and market when everyone is doing the same thing and competing for sales against other part timers / hobbyists trying to sell pics. I feel that u need to do something that is different to what the standard every weekend tog is trying to sell at the markets. Coolangatta is flooded with beach / surfing pics in every cafe, hair dresser, and to me they all seem to just flow into each other. just my 1 1/2 cents worth.

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    I have to agree there also Chris. Even on here there seems a fair bit of the beach, surf, sunset, sunrise, slow shutter speed, wet and wild type photography. Which is understandable because generally the coast is not far for most members. Getting these images just right is the hard part. And it takes a few uploads and comments to get it to were the tog is happy with it.
    I myself like to try something different. Something that will catch the eye of the passerby. But I'm not confident enough to spend the dollars on something that might sell. If I, and other amateur members could get comments from the pro togs that imply (not directly say) that the image is worth the effort of trying to sell would be handy.

    I might go down to the local camera shop, and see what ideas he has on the topic.

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Geoff, I've personally found selling landscape images tough work - but Marianne and I probably have ourselves to blame for that in that we are only part time in photography and don't really devote the amount of time needed after the taking and editing of the pictures.
    We've had quite a few exhibitions and probably broke even with them. The website doesn't really generate much sales ( I can count on one hand the number of prints sold - possibly two hands if I think long and hard).
    One things we've found that has cut costs is learning to do framing yourself (once again if you have the time) - we now cut our own matte boards and foam core and can do it well and have learned from framers how to hook up backings etc. Now instead of paying 100 bucks to get a large print framed, the monetary cost is halved but the time is quadrupled ! Good thing we don't mind doing it :P This year, we've tried different media and will find out if canvas prints make a difference to desirability.
    Haven't tried the stall option but maybe in 15 years when I plan to go half time at the real work !
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    When my kids and i were on the coast last month for a school dooey, i bought a 2 metre by 80cm photo print of the cane fields down behind Murwillumbah.. Just a simple late afternoon pic of sugar cane (green) , ploughed ground in front ( brown ) and a golden sunset behind ( orangish )... the three main colours all complimented each other and made a simple farming landscape some thing special. Sure beat the almost nauseating abundance of beach-surf-sand, night time gold coast / brisbane city scape , and surfing pics which were offered from 2 out of 3 coffee shops and markets.

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    Wow.. Dylan. You were one that I thought would have no problems selling your images. Although as you said, time plays a big part in preperation.
    I have the tools for framing, but not the know how. Maybe it's time to learn that part of photography.

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    yea, it's easy for people at exhibitions to give praise, but to fork out , that's a different matter entirely - I think probably we're not selling to the right crowd! if there is such a thing in Adelaide :P

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    I gave up on selling images.

    For starters, I don't see photography as a form of income; for me, it's a passion, and blending it with 'money' and 'work' would kill it.

    I have sold prints via RedBubble, but I recently decided not to publish or sell work on that site any more, and I've removed all of my content.

    To make money from selling prints, not only do you have to have the sort of stuff that people want to buy, but you have to be good at marketing and selling, as well as find the right type of people to buy what you have on offer.

    I don't know many (or perhaps any) people who would buy prints. Most of the people I know are people, like myself, who make the stuff, not buy it.

    Geoff,

    Re a perception that Dylan would easily sell lots of prints and the facts being quite contrary to the perception, I'm not surprised.

    It's similar to the discussion I started some weeks back about being good enough to do well at competitions.

    This is not to say that Dylan doesn't have work that wouldn't sell; he absolutely does, but I suspect that, like myself, he does this for the love of the craft, and does about as much marketing as I do (ie, none).

    It takes a fair bit of work to sell images, and in my experience, merely having a link from my site isn't a silver bullet when it comes to generating sales.

    I recently decided not to sell images any more. It was always something that ran in the background, and I'd make the occasional sale, but I no longer want to even bother with that.

    If you want to sell images, I think you'll need to be more of a salesman than a photographer.

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    Two surprises in one night, I'm on a roll.
    Xenedis, when you say do a set of images for someone. An example would be I did a bit of a portrait shoot at work of the elderly ladies in our day centre. I did all the processing and loaded all the images on a CD so that the could get their own prints if they wanted. I didn't charge anything for the service, called it a work thing. Would you do the same thing, or recover cost of CD and a bit of your time?

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    Xenedis said...
    If you want to sell images, I think you'll need to be more of a salesman than a photographer.
    And this is the truth. Most professionals work on a commissioned basis and produce what the client orders, even wedding photographers. Random buyers purchase on appeal, not skill. If you need objective advice on random selling talk to an artist rather than a photographer. Generally they have much more experience (and are good photographers).
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    John speaks the truth!
    Quite honestly, most of our sales / money made from landscapes has been completely out of the blue (eg. unsolicited random email from popular photography earlier this year) rather than when we've actually tried halfheartedly - not much of carrot to keep trying when that's all you can put in :P
    It's definitely not going to stop us taking photos though!

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