Selling prints

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by Nwcid, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the fall of 2017 I decided that in 2018 I was going to put time and effort into making photography part of my livelihood. Right now I am in the oversaturated landscape/wildlife photography market. While I know the money is in shooting people, I am not sure I will go that route.

    So far I have a basic business plan. I am waiting on my LLC to complete so I can get my state business license. My family has owned businesses before and my wife among having other degree's has one in finance.

    For the next 2.5 years I am planning on trying my hand at selling prints both online and at local fairs. I do not have website set up, as I am waiting for my business license so I can open a checking account to be used with the business.

    My question comes down to print services and how to deliver my product. For the next 2.5 years it will be no problem to take orders, have them shipped here, then ship them out to the buyers. At the end of that 2 years we plan on traveling extensively and would like to be able to do drop shipping or print on demand type delivery. Are there quality companies that do that?

    Most of the stuff I can find about POD service is that you have to sell on their sites. Sure you might be able to link back to your site, but you don't get all the data from views, to customer names, they deliver with their information not yours, ect.

    Any thoughts or insights would be appreciated.


     
  2. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    My local lab does a "white label" delivery, basically a ship direct to the customer with all of their company information removed. So there must be some others that do it! In fact they are a very good print lab Professional Photo Printing Services | Loxley Colour If you are travelling to europe it might be worth considering them. Most companies will allow you to ship to a different address though.
     
  3. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for your reply.

    I also forgot to add, there is no "local lab" for me, at least not one that I am aware of. I live in a rural area, 20 miles from the nearest town. The closest photo lab is likely in "the city" that is about 80 miles away.

    But if I can not find other options, that 80 mile trip might be in my future.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Most of the online pro labs do 'white label' shipping.
    Check out Mpix Pro or Miller's Professional Imaging.
    Both, and the consumer lab Mpix, are all the same company - Miller's.
    They are now in Missouri.
     
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  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yep... my lab is in Alberta, the better part of 1000 miles from my house. They will ship direct to customer and gift package as well... BUT... the downside is, you don't get to do any QC beforehand. It's probably not a big deal if it's an image that's already been printed a dozen times by that lab, but if it's something new, or a different lab...
     
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  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Perhaps you should invest in a printer. I know of one landscape photographer (he has made a Youtube video) who does his own printing. Get wifey to figure out how to finance it.
     
  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It sounds like you're on the right track with how you're going about this, and I'd suggest if you haven't already done so, go to area craft shows, art fairs, etc. and see how people seem to be doing selling photographs. There's a range in my area from larger art shows in the city to smaller local art fairs waaay out in the country. Pricing and what sells seems different at the various shows and fairs, but I don't think I'd count on selling prints being substantial income depending on what you need to accomplish. Seems like it's a sideline at best for most.

    You might want to take a look at American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage and PPA for resources for pro photographers.
     
  8. qmr55

    qmr55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some great info on this thread already! I might add, I was in the sign business for awhile and we did a lot of outsourced printing and drop shipping. It always helped to find a good shop, give them a call and explain our situation and they would usually work with us to accomplish what we were looking for. Always nice to work with a company where you can get someone familiar on the phone if there ever should be a problem in the future, and you're in a different area, rather than just "some guy in the help center" of a larger website.
     
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  9. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have slightly considered this, but I was always under the impression this is still quite expensive, but I have not researched it. While it could be a good idea for short term, once we start traveling, wont work as well. I would like to get set up with a business that I know I can trust prior to travel.

    I have been watching a lot of youtube, I will look for that one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  10. Nwcid

    Nwcid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you, I have been pondering this for about a year. In the last couple of months gotten more serious about it. Now I am in the beginning stages of actually putting time and effort into doing something with my art.

    As in my original post, there are 3 main "fairs" here in my area that I plan on attending this year. I figure the worst I can do is go try and if I fail, I have a lot of gifts for family this year. I know it would be a rare exception to make a full time living at this alone. I hope (and am setting up for the best chance) to be successful, but if not it is a cost I am able and willing to risk. If done right, even the cost is minimal in the end.

    I will check out the link.
     
  11. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've done submissions to juried exhibits and I print, mat, and frame and ship my own. I've re-used frames for those that don't sell (they keep coming back). Unless the shows are very different in the type of art displayed, or close enough in location that a lot of the same people may be attending, you may not need alot of new photos for each show.

    Usually in my area photographers will have a few framed photos to show and sell, and matted prints for sale. Maybe try doing some networking and get some idea from any other photographers at the art fairs how they do with sales.
     
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  12. Olivia Green

    Olivia Green TPF Noob!

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    Have you tried WHCC or Miller's?
    While starting out, you need to cut down as much expenses as you can. Go for self fulfillment with a lab you feel most comfortable with, while also considering the expenses. Make your website with a builder that has E-commerce or Proofing feature but allows you to self fulfill. Pixpa is one great platform that I use. Once you get in the business and become comfortable enough, go for lab fulfillment and automate the process.
    Hope this helps!
     

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