Getting started selling prints

Nintendoeats

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(Preface: I am in Canada, in case that affects anything)

I really enjoy photographing vintage computers. I spend enough time on these photos that I've been thinking that it would be nice to start doing something with the good ones beyond putting them on the fridge. Specifically, I'd like to open some kind of web store and sell prints (not with the goal of making a living, just as a way to put the photos out there and perhaps fund the hobby). This is somewhat intimidating; I only have so much spare time to devote to setting such a thing up, but I am worried that if I go about things incorrectly I might wind up having to manage something unwieldy, or making an unreasonable upfront investment.

As I understand it, at a minimum I will need to do the following:
  1. Establish a relationship with a fulfillment house. Examples I have looked at are ProDPI.com and WHCC.com.
  2. Set up a web store using an external service, such as Shopify.
  3. Create an actual website that links to the web store. I already have this (built in Joomla), but it has been in a half-finished state since December and I am prepared to restart from scratch with Wordpress at this point.
  4. Link up the web store and the fulfillment house somehow so that I don't need to manually manage every order.
  5. Do technical photo stuff (apply watermarks, ensure that color profiles are embedded).
  6. Market somehow (???)
I know that at least one alternative is to use Etsy to cut out some of the website side of things.I also understand that they take a pretty large cut and I would still need to link it up with the fulfillment house. On the plus side, my photographs would show up in Etsy searches.

Is my understanding of what's involved correct? I'm prepared to put some legwork in to do this and I accept that it mightn't be very successful, but I am rather nervous about unexpected pitfalls.

Thanks!
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GeraldEdward

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an online store is prob the easiest way to go, like etsy. they take a cut but I dont think its huge.

one problem is your mindset going in though. not wanting to make a living from it. if you can charge healthy prices, why stick with enough to cover your costs. :)

why not take the next step and turn it into art, get it printed big and sell it in art galleries? 1st and 2nd image there could be interesting on metal for example. :)
 
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Nintendoeats

Nintendoeats

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Thank you, I am flattered that you think that my samples are good enough for a gallery! There are a few reasons that I am not aiming to be a full-time photographer, not least of which is that I want to do this primarily for fun. I also don't know know how much demand there really is for this kind of photography. In any case, I feel it is best to start small and let things progress as they want to.
 

vintagesnaps

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That first one is so cool, I keep looking at it... doesn't even look necessarily computer-like.

I've done submissions to juried exhibits, but it's not like anything has sold! lol Art and prints aren't exactly in demand. It's probably a matter of the marketing, finding a place to sell them.

The only thing that comes to mind is thru either ASMP or Sportsshooter, I've seen Photoshelter, but I'm not sure if that's a good option for art prints or more for media photographers' use.

You might think about any art shows, annual or holiday craft shows, or local art centers with gift shops, etc. where you could look into selling matted prints. Or coffee shops where you could display matted prints and see if anything sells. I would think on Etsy or online you'd need to figure out how to market. Calling it photos of computers would limit viewers/shoppers because your photos are waaay more than that! I see potential in what you could do, it might be a process of figuring out what could work, eliminating what won't work, etc. You might need to find resources on marketing art photos.
 
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Nintendoeats

Nintendoeats

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That first one is so cool, I keep looking at it... doesn't even look necessarily computer-like.

I'm glad you like it! That's one of a small number I put up at work, since it seems to be a photo that many people appreciate.

Art fairs and exhibits is something on my radar. I know some people with an art background so I've been talking to them about finding out about such things far enough in advance to participate. Maybe nothing sells, but hey at least it's exposure (buh-dum-tish).

Photoshelter looks interesting, I will look at that more closely over the weekend.

I really appreciate the advice and feedback!
 

GeraldEdward

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pricing will be the fun part. I know many artists that calculate their expenses precisely and charge a bit more than that. which ends up being way to cheap. :)

if I were to try something like that, I would start out expensive. many consumers have the perception "if its expensive, it must be worth it". look at beets headphones, their trash but their expensive so people buy them.
 

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