Where to sell images?

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by pixieplease, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. pixieplease

    pixieplease TPF Noob!

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    This is my first post in these forums, yipee to me!

    Anyway, I've been working as a studio and on-location photographer for families, particularly infants and the like. I like it, I enjoy my work, but I want to branch out with my nature shots. The question is, aside from 'stock photography' websites, how in the great blue hell are you supposed to go about finding clients?

    If anybody can give me any pointers on where to look, who to look for (I'm in Canada), I am all ears!

    Thanks in advance!


     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Most of the nature photographers I know are either attached to paying groups (BBC/Natgeo type affairs) or get most of their income from teaching/holiday trips. The photo market is very small, unreliable and not easy to get into (esp in these days with micro stock stealing a lot of the market).

    Landscape is a bit more lucrative, though for most remains at the local scale - local galleries, coffee shops, calendars, postcards and the like.
     
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  3. RainyDay

    RainyDay TPF Noob!

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    I'm in somewhat the same boat... I love taking landscapes, but it's a bit sad, because apart from posting them to Flickr and my FB photography page, not a whole lot of recognition happens for them. I'd love to know if selling prints from a wesbite is at all lucrative...
     
  4. shootermcgavin

    shootermcgavin TPF Noob!

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    If you love taking landscape photos would it really matter if selling them on a website is lucrative? I would just do it and figure it's a bonus when they sell. I think the key is getting them in front of people with a discretionary income, possibly working with a local restaurant to post photos or coffee shop. Also I would think frame stores or stores that sell art wouldn't be opposed to a 50/50 type split... I would imagine you will get a few customers that will start to contact you directly eventually to keep that certain look. From the art/photography collectors I know they usually stick with 1 or 2 different people and know where to look for their new stuff. I'm hoping one day I can walk into a store around here and say hey that's my picture for sale on the wall, but that day is far down the road.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Where in Canada are you from eh? ;)

    Selling photos as art pieces can be a tough go. Firstly, there are millions of other photographers who would also like to sell their work. Many of them have great cameras & lenses etc. and some of them are really, really good at it. Also, everybody and their dog as a digital camera these days and many of them think that because they spend a whole $400 on it, they can go out and take pretty photos themselves...so they don't feel the need to purchase photos as art.
    In other words, the market is flooded...so if you want to be successful, you need to rise above the crowd with either quality, uniqueness or marketing (or all of the above).

    So you need to do more than just put up a web site and wait for the orders to roll in. I don't know what the typical 'visit to sale' rate is for photo/art sites...but I'd guess it's probably something in the 100,000+ hits for every good sale. So for that to work, you would have to make your website very, very popular. And just selling photos alone, won't do that.

    Of course, you could do a lot of marketing...but this could easily get very expensive and I think it would be crucial to target the right demographic. Maybe you could get lucky and find some clients who can be big and/or repeat customers. For example, it would be great if you could find a hotel that wants artwork for all of it's rooms...or something like that. My best customer for nature/landscape photos, is a large company that has an annual convention, where they have been giving my photos to all the speakers. It's great that they have become a repeat customer, I hope it lasts for a long while.

    From what I've seen, the photographers who are successful at selling art prints, are doing so because of their name/reputation. They are 'known', and so people are more willing to fork over good money of one of their photographs. So the question is...did they become known because they sell a lot of photos...or do they sell a lot of photos because they were already known? It's probably the later.
    So how do they become known? I'd say that being published is top of the list. If you have your photos in National Geographic every other issue, a lot of people are going to know who you are. It also would be helpful if you write articles to go along with the photos. Of course, writing is a broad platform. You could write about the places/people you photograph, but there is also a large market for writing about how you get the photos you do....in other words, writing about photography. And of course, that can lead to teaching about photography, which besides being a way to get your name out there...is a way to make money (probably more money than selling the prints).
    Take that a step further and you can write books about photography...there is a real money maker...although, it's also a bit of a saturated market and unless you self publish, you don't get a huge chuck of the profits. And of course, if you can give seminars to a room full of people, that's big money too.

    So, sort of where this is leading (if we are talking about ways to make money in relation to nature/landscape photography) is that there is probably more money in catching the fisherman, rather than the fish. By that I mean, that selling (anything) to 'wanna be' photographers is probably more profitable than trying to sell prints to the public.
    That may or may not be the direction that you want to go...but that's what I see a lot of so-called successful photographers doing.

    Another thing you could try, would be direct sales. For example, setting up a booth/gallery to sell your work to the public. It could be a booth at a craft or art fair...or even a flea market (although, a flea market probably isn't your target market). I've talked to several photographers who do this, and I don't think they make a huge amount of money, it can be profitable. They tell me that it takes a while to really nail down what sells and what doesn't. For example, you might have a beautiful, professionally framed print on display and have it listed at $800...but you may make more money selling 'post card' type prints for $3 each. And that might change for different locations or types of show/fair that you are at. I hear that it takes a few years of going to a particular show, to really get a feel for what works.
     
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  6. margosoriginals

    margosoriginals TPF Noob!

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    I would check out Etsy.com for selling prints. I've seen some pretty successful photographers on there, with over 1000 sales. Of course for every successful one there are about 10 unsuccessful ones.
     
  7. mavrik

    mavrik TPF Noob!

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  8. imagemaker46

    imagemaker46 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I used to buy that book every year and contacted all the groups, publications, agencies that I felt were a good match for what I could supply them images with. It usually worked out to between 25-50 contacts every year, and every year I would try again, and every year I would hear back from perhaps 1-2 people, the rest never heard anything. I think the only people that are making money from that book........the people that put the book together in the hopes that all the suckers out there buy it. I haven't bought a copy in 10 years, looked through the new one a few weeks ago and decided not to contribute to the "buy our book and we'll retire before you fund"
     
  9. MelissaP

    MelissaP TPF Noob!

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    Great points Big Mike! I had a friend that got a beautiful framed picture of a landscape from a local cafe in Ontario. She liked the photo so much that for her engagement present, her friends and family pitched in to get it for the couple. It was sold on a consignment basis. Maybe you can try local pubs &cafes and work out a consignment deal. Just a thought!
     

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