Marketing Prints on the Internet

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by mmcclellan, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    Friends and Colleagues:

    I'm just curious to know if ANYONE is having any real success marketing fine prints via the Internet. I know a number of people are selling prints on eBay, through their own websites, and other web venues, but am wondering if it is really paying off to a worthwhile degree.

    If anyone can share their personal experiences, or share what they have read or heard about from other photographers, I think it would be of interest to many of us in the APUG community.

    Thanks in advance for your comments and input!
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I really think it depends on the type of photographs your trying to sell, I do pretty good with wildlife and landscape stuff, I have never tried to do anything with so called fine art stuff, you really need to target your market and then push to that market share, there are many photographers selling work, but in all reality, I think the market may be a bit tighter than some really realize...

    Dave
     
  3. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Its pretty tight alright. I had pretty good success the first four months I sold on E-bay, but its been real tight ever since. Most of my sales during that initial period were to fellow APUG members (and kind thanks to all of them). I watch the market by tracking sales of other similar photographers and no one has been selling much throughout the spring and summer.

    One exception to this is nudes; nudes seem to always sell, whether male or female, expensive or cheap, digital or analog, azo contact print or resin-coated 35mm 16x20.

    Other than nudes, the only work selling for much over a hundred bucks is that of the traditional big names; a few of them living like Sturges and Sexton, most of them deceased like Weston and Adams.

    I know this sounds pessimistic and is a "half empty" vice "half full" response, but its a highly pragmatic view of the situation.
     
  4. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Brooks Jensen, the publisher/editor of the wonderful magazine Lenswork, sells his prints for a meagre $20! He, apparently, sold over 1000 so far. His philosophy is basically to either sell 1000 prints at $20 or none at $1000. Your pick.

    There's a huge gap between people telling you they love your work and them actually shelling out money - any money - for it. $20 will assure you some sales. $200 won't - unless your work is amazingly good and very unique.
     
  5. lee

    lee Member

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    the $20 variety I think are inkjet.

    lee\c
     
  6. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    You get what you pay for :smile:

    I only know of one photographer who makes a living from sales primarily from his website. http://www.davebeckerman.com/

    I don't think the guy is living in the lap of luxury but he is doing what he wants to do and was able to leave a regular job to persue photography full time. Considering he is not represented by a gallery, does not teach workshops and receives no play in magazines he does pretty well.

    Everyone else who is not primarily a commercial shooter for a profession does it with a combination of workshops, gallery representation and commercial work. In most cases I don't know if a person would recoup the cost of a website with the amount of prints sold in year.
     
  7. B-3

    B-3 Member

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    Brooks Jensen's prints are beautiful. No two ways about it. You can argue 'til you're blue in the face about the process and the relative value thereof, but his prints are still beautiful. I've purchased several and I feel that I got far more than I paid for.

    Not long ago I was in a show, offered some 5x7s (traditional photo prints), matted and framed, for $55 each. Larger (8x10s and 11x14s) were more. Only the 5x7s sold. After writing the check my buyers, to a person, said "You should ask for more." I suggested they add whatever they thought appropriate to the price. They all laughed. I'm a photographer AND a comedian.
     
  8. rhphoto

    rhphoto Member

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    Looked at his site, seems he has good connections with Google and uses others' links to add a bit of revenue. I was reminded of a photographer in the Seventies who sold his prints on the streets of NYC for like, ten bucks. A former editor for Natl. Geographic discovered him and made a nice hardcover coffee table book of his photos. So the point is, nudes sell, New York sells. I'm moving to the Big Apple and rounding up some hot women to photograph in B&W posing on famous NY landmarks.
     
  9. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I think you will do well. Don't forget the E-Bay market with those. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Dave Beckerman's also only sells inkjets! Albeit limited edition inkjets.
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I think one of the problems with the internet, and the ability for the public to view prints in a digital format, has somehow "cheapened" what the photographer does, I know this last few years, I have had to lower my prints costs to sell stuff, so I feel that maybe the internet has become something bad for sales, but it is good for contacts, kind of a catch 22 situation.

    Dave
     
  12. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    Out of curiosity has anyone had any luck with selling off internet gallerys? Something like http://www.art-mine.com or something of the sort?
     
  13. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Some of the work on that site looks good and some not good at all, but geez is it ever expensive!!!! If that stuff is selling for those prices, (and with no specific mention, in many cases, of what kind of prints they are) one can only be amazed to the nth degree. WOWeeee!
     
  14. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

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    I've sold enough to pay for the site and I plan to keep adding images as long as I live!
    Two things that occur to me, big prints sell better - 40" wide is my max, and thats the size I do most of, although the other better selling size is around 20x16. The other thing is a web site is a brilliant way to refer people to your work - not long ago I used to prefer visits for folks to look at prints (and hopefully buy!) but this meant keeping a large stock of prints, and inevitably someone wanted a print in a size I hadnt got. So now if someone wants to look at a lot of what I do I refer them to the web site, and more often than not this works as a starting point.
    Advertising the site is something ealse though. I've got a small permanent display of framed stuff in a nearby high class eating joint, and I make sure the web site details are almost as visible as the prints. This seems to work pretty well, and on the whole things (web site sales wise) are getting better - although I'm no where near making a proper living from it. I just think its a good way of showing work, and a good way for people to have a good look at what we as photographers do all around the world.
     
  15. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    This is true. But he was totally digital, (he only shot digital for about a year) having sold off all his film gear. About 6 months ago he decided he was not getting the results he liked with digital cameras so went back to film with a Bessa R3 and a combination of Leica and Cossina lenses. So he is slowly coming back to the fold. He has been printing digital exclusively about 1 year. Before that he printed with a Zone VI enlarger.

    But regardless of the final product, pixelgraphs or photographs, the guy still sells a lot of work on the net. One reason is he has a large following for his blog and was one of the first people I was aware of that had a blog about photography. Dates back to 1999 I believe. But I really believe that his blog has a lot to do with his selling work.
     
  16. ilfordrapid

    ilfordrapid Member

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    Daniel
    At such a cheap price I would not print on fiber base paper, and if you make your prints in the darkroom I would charge at least $45.00 for a 16X20 with shipping cost added to the price. One must at least make it worth their while. Also to speak for the slump in sales a lot of people are on vacation during spring, and summer, or are just outside doing other things. Fall, and winter you have more of a captive audience
     
  17. User Removed

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    I have been selling my 8x10 AZO contact prints (mounted and matted to 14x17) for nearly a year on Ebay now, starting auctions at only 50.00+10.00 shipping. Most prints will get bid up too nearly 200.00 sometimes thought.

    When I was first starting out, I barly sold ANYTHING...but after a few people purchased prints from me, it was almost guarenteed that they would come back and purchase more. I value these collectors because they are the few that keep things going for me. Alot of these buyers have purchased over 10-15 prints! I still get the random buyer, which I value all their support as well because sales to other photographers and people just wanting nice art...are just as important as the sales to the collectors!

    I have been able to live on print sales for the past year, and not have to work or get a job. It pays the bills, food and gas...and not much more! I dont have money for extra spendings, but im okay with that.

    If you are planning to start selling your work on Ebay (or any place for that matter) Contact me and I will give you tons of suggestions for success. I dont want to type out everything on here.

    Best of luck to you,

    Ryan McIntosh

    PS-Here is a link to one of my current auctions. A new images I just posted in the Crtique gallery actually. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7354220965&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MESE:IT&rd=1