Despite society’s indulgent consumption of all things digital — from music to movies to books to photos — it has become easy and, perhaps fashionable in some circles, to dismiss the printed image. But make no mistake, the printed image is far from dead.
Yes, people still want to hang beautiful photo prints in their homes and, obviously, they look to photographers to provide what they want. There’s actually a lot that goes into successfully selling prints, but there are a few key principles that you can embrace to increase your chances of making a sale.
These four tips will help you find success when selling your photos as prints.
Find Your Audience
Of course, you need to know who you’re selling to and what they want. What market you cater to is totally up to you — locals or tourists, coffee shops or fashion boutiques, dentist offices or apartment complexes. The point is to provide a product that your desired audience will identify with.
If you live in a seaside community, for example, you might want the bulk of your work to revolve around the local landscape and the interesting people who inhabit and work in the area (fishermen, shipbuilders, fishmongers, etc.).
There’s no reason you couldn’t also market your work to those outside your locale. You may have a potentially thriving audience spread out among various places, but you will definitely have to put in a bit more work to discover and reach that market. The Internet can be your best friend in this aspect.
Not only can you use the web to find things like art shows where you can display your work, there are also websites dedicated to helping you sell your photography. Or you can create your very own website.
Perhaps the best part about using the Internet to sell prints is that it provides an easy way for your audience to come to you. No matter what the content of your photography entails, all you have to do is put it out there and the people who are interested will respond accordingly.
Learn Your Market Value
It’s important to know your value as a photographer. Admittedly, that’s tricky to quantify, but one way to do it is by taking into account your expenses. Capturing and editing images, printing and framing, advertising and various other business-related expenses all factor into how you price your work.
The key is to find balance. Of course, you place a high value on your new creations, but that doesn’t mean others will, especially when you’re first starting out. So don’t set yourself up for disappointment by charging exorbitant prices.
On the other hand, you don’t want to relegate yourself to bargain basement status by setting prices so low that no one really values your work.
Offer A Top Quality Product
Expectations will differ depending on the final land spot of your prints — an art gallery might expect a more elaborate presentation in terms of paper quality and framing than would a coffee shop. But regardless of who you’re catering to, you should always make it a point to offer a high-quality product.
From subject selection to technical fundamentals to editing technique, every photo you make available for purchase should represent your expertise as an image maker. Before putting a photo out there to the public, ask yourself if you’d spend your own money on it? If you wouldn’t, neither should anyone else.
A driving factor in determining whether your photos sell is the connection a potential buyer has with any given photo. But that connection is really more about you — buyers like to hear the stories behind the images they see. They feel they get to know you through your work and that, in turn, compels them toward a purchase.
Photographers aren’t always good at sales-related stuff, but it doesn’t get much easier than this. Get to know your audience and let them get to know you.
Selling prints can be equal parts gratifying and challenging. There’s a lot of minutiae to navigate and you’ll figure it all out in time. But for now, use the concepts discussed above to get yourself on the right track to selling success.