selling prints on ebay

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by SusanK, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Hey folks,

    I see several members that have a little "ebay" tag near their screen name when they post to the forums. I've clicked on your ebay tag and can't find anyone who has prints currently on auction. I've wanted to see how you list and show your work there. I am considering doing the same with a few of my prints.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts you may like to give. I've never sold anything on ebay so, I have a lot to learn. I'm thinking of setting a reserve of 50-75% of what I sell my work for on my website ($150/300 respective of size), plus the shipping. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    The bottom line is, I sold zero prints in '05... I gave away 5 as gifts. Granted, I gave them to people in "professional" occupations (doctors, pharmacists, business V.P.'s, etc) who have hung them in their offices. So, I see it as good advertising. :smile: But, it'd be nice to get at least a little something for the cost of my materials. And no one sees my work when it's sitting in my basement. The print sales for '06 is now at 5 prints sold.

    Thanks
    Susan
    http://www.susankopecky.com
     
  2. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I have nothing to offer regarding ebay, but I do like a lot of the work on your site. Best of luck with the commerce part.
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    McPhotoX, or Ryan McIntosh, has sold quite a few i believe. I have listed a print on 2 separate occasions and no luck, just someone wanting it for less. I've never sold a print anywhere so i may not be the best example. It seems like some prints do sell. Ebay doesn't charge for shipping price so many sellers have a very high shipping price that doesn't add any cost to the listing until it's added onto the sale at the end of auction.
     
  4. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Hi Susan.

    Many have tried and have gotten out of ebay entirely as it was a waste of time (and money). Prints over $100 by relative unknowns simply do not sell. At auction, they may go for $40, $50 if you're lucky. I know a number of excellent photographers selling gorgeous 8x10 contacts in silver and platinum who simply could barely get passed the $50 mark. At those prices, you're wasting your time (but the buyer gets a good deal... I bought some at $50 or less at auctions where I'd be the sole bidder!)

    Try it, you may get lucky, but be prepared for your current selling "success" (0 sales in 05) to stagnate.

    Sorry to be so negative but that is what I have obeserved with ebay print sales over the past few years. Good luck, whatever you do Susan.
     
  5. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    I sold some prints this last year on eBay. It cost me more to position them well then I made in sales. It was an interesting experiment but also very expensive for me. I may try again some time, but I think there are better avenues. Local art galleries, art fairs, and walls in any establishment you can find.

    I would agree with the above statements, that the prices you get may be a bit less than you hoped for. I also think eBay is not likely to do much for building your name recognition.

    Pete
     
  6. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Susan, have you listed your work here on the APUG gallery? If not consider that avenue in place of ebay. Sean has plans to really promote the gallery site, last I heard and now he can give it his full attention will bet that there is a good chance that images start moving. Just a thought....and Good Luck.
     
  7. nze

    nze Member

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    As said Daniel it is hard to sell print over 100$ if you're unknown. YOu sell at this prie and higher only if your print are large print (> 16x20) and/or nude.

    I sold about 600 prints on ebay but never find the way to raise my price there.

    I think a better solution for you is to submit a series at photoeye at photobistro
    http://www.photobistro.com/menu.cfm
    it will give you more exposure than ebay and you 're in contact with buyer who pay 300$ for a print in opposite to ebay. The few friends I know who have a portofolio there had been contacted by gallerie and sell at least 4-5 print a year ( enough to pay the starting fee)
     
  8. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    I started selling my prints on Ebay nearly 2 years ago, and it has been my only source of income since then. Last year, I sold close to 200 8x10 AZO contact prints, and this year I have almost topped that number in just the first few months! When I first started selling, I was listing prints for $49.99, just like many others were doing at the time. I found this price to be WAY to low, so now I'm starting prints at $75.00, however...that is still very low and I will be raising my prices very soon.

    There is somewhat a group of photographers that sell their prints on Ebay, and we all try to keep our prices about the same, and when one person raises their prices...everyone else does also. By doing this, it is slowing bring up the market value of photographic prints on Ebay. It also keeps things very consistent, because if one person comes on and starts listing prints for 20 dollars, that not only makes their work look bad, but it also hurts the whole community of photographers who are trying to make a living at selling prints on Ebay.

    One of the most important things with selling prints on Ebay is consistency and quality of craftsmanship. If you have these two things nailed, I find most new buyers of my work always come back and purchase more at a later date. You need to build of a list of collectors, museums, and fellow photographers who frequently purchase your work, because they are your most important buyers.

    Secondly, its VERY important to ALWAYS have new work being put up on Ebay. You cannot just keep listing the same few images, over and over again because people will become numb to seeing them and you will get zero sales. Always be producing new work! If you list a print more then two times and it does not sell, stop listing it.

    When you first start selling your prints on Ebay, you will probably sell zero prints. Don't be surprised if this happens, because most people dont know who you are or don't want to take a risk at buying your work. There is alot of pure garbage on Ebay, and its hard to pick out what’s quality and what’s not. After a few people start buying your print your sales will gradually start picking up. It has taken me nearly two years, but I can finally list prints now and have about 90-95% of all prints sell, any many will even get bid above my normal print price.

    One thing you must NEVER do on Ebay is lower your prices. I cannot express how important this is to the success of selling your prints. Many photographers will be starting prints at 50 dollars, raise their prices up to 75 and nothing sell, so they lower them back down. You need to understand that YOU as the artist are setting the market value for your prints, and by jumping your prices up and down, you show your collectors you are not consistent and your work is not worth buying. Many collectors are buying prints for investment purposes only, so doing this can really hurt your sales. For example, your selling your prints for 75 dollars and a collector purchases a print (with hopes it will go up in value over time), well you see your prints are not selling as good so you lower your price down to 50. That collector just LOST money and your print just became less valuable to your buyer. I sell all my work in pricing tiers, and as the edition sells out, the price is slowly raised. There are many prints that people purchased for first tier pricing of $175.00, but they are now priced in the second and third tier pricing of 400-600! If people see your are consistent with your pricing, and your work is only going UP in value, they will continue to purchase prints even at the higher pricing tiers.

    There are many other sites out there to sell your work, but personally...I feel that Ebay is a great market, and your prints don't sell as often on those other sites. Alot of recognized photography collectors actually buy prints on Ebay, and it’s a good thing for you as a photographer to be getting your work into peoples collections who also have many Westons, Adams, ect prints.

    Well, there is alot more to it then this...but if you plan to start selling on Ebay, but be consistent, produce the finest print possible, always be producing new work, and don’t sell yourself too cheep.

    If you have more questions, feel free to contact me.

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  9. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Ryan, how many repeat buyers do you get?
     
  10. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have also sold hundreds of prints on ebay. I have never attempted to raise my prices -- I sell them very cheaply, but then they cost very little and take little time to make.

    I use the money to keep the darkroom, and camera's fed.

    What I do is pretty simple. I post up to 25 pictures at a time, feature one or a group and sell the pictures for a week or two depending upon interest. After one group has run I put up a new group. When I subtract fees and costs my over all cost (including those that don't sell) is around 25% and my hourly wage comes in at 20-30.00 an hour.

    My business is mostly repeat business.

    At some point I'll look at other sales channels. I doubt I'll ever try to create value as Ryan does. What I do is sell smaller images on ebay and larger images elsewhere (although I haven't tried to sell my larger work in some time). I will sell the pictures at what they are worth to me or what the market will bear, whichever is higher.
     
  11. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    From what I can tell from surfing ebay (I've never sold any of my prints) a key seems to be listing it under art -> prints -> contemporary and not under photographs...
     
  12. nze

    nze Member

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    Hello

    These 2 parts of the Ryan message are really important and true

    It is important to planned regular raising of the price . And to have constant sales you must offer new work. It is this fact who bother me a little , because most of your collector , or on ebay you will sell 80% of your work to 20% of your buyer. Meaning that 20% of your buyer will be collector and repeated buyer. SO if you don't have new work to offer you loose a lot of your incomes. I stop selling there because I want to take more time for my new projects but if you have a set of 150 print you could display them o,n ebay within a year and have constant sales.



     
  13. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    I have to agree with Ryan also. I talk to Ryan quite often and as he raises his prices I edge mine up also trying to keep the value up. I have some collectors that buy my work on a regular basis but you have to always have new images. If you don then you will have 0 sales. Also in the beginning your sales will be extremely slow but don’t give up and DO NOT LOWER your prices.

    It is very important to make sure your prints are high quality if you want to have repeat business. If you even second guess a print toss it out and reprint it, or print a different image entirely. With all the junk out there you really have to make sure your stuff is above average.

    Good luck and give it a try,


    Kev
     
  14. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Interesting posts, although when I looked at the ebay market for photography two years ago, the only prints selling were nudes. I haven't actively tried to market my work yet, but got cold responses from gallery owners selling boring oil painted sunsets. So I've been a bit reluctant.

    You can make a living on ebay, but the biggest problem with ebay are in fact the fees, when you don't sell it really hits your profits hard. You need a regular turnover. Find a good subject matter and stick to a theme.
     
  15. SusanK

    SusanK Member

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    Gentlemen !!!

    I've just now had a chance to review my ebay thread... great input from everyone here. More importantly, "honest input"... which I view as the number one priority. I am a little disappointed in what I've learned from everyone about ebay. However, better to learn from the "voices of experience" here on apug, than to find out the hard way. I've wasted enough money on advertising without needing to lose any more through an auction house.

    To John Voss: Thank you for taking the time to view my website, I appreciate your compliment.

    I agree with the person who said, '...there's a lot of junk out there.' I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a print and thought, 'You want how much for this ?!?' At times, I consider beginning to print my images in editions of 5 prints instead of 50... with a few 1/1's thrown in for good measure. Then, once I'm dead and buried, whoever cleans out my house can do as they please with whatever they find. :smile: I've never done photography for anyone else but me to begin with.

    For what it's worth, I do think I edit my images quite strictly. I've "cleaned house" with my negative files several times. Minus a few exceptions, I put my time into those images that get a "gut level" reaction out of me. A couple of the exceptions that I can think of at the moment are: "Kilauea Lighthouse" (Kauai in b/w series) and "Morning Siesta" (miscellaneous images). I'm not a fan of either of those two shots, and yet.... I've sold both numerous times. There's even a man in an apartment on the 800 block of Park Avenue in NYC who's bought one of each of those prints ! Just goes to prove, 'different strokes for different folks.'

    As always, if I didn't want an honest answer, I wouldn't waste your time by asking the question. Thanks to everyone again for posting your thoughts.

    SusanK
    http://www.susankopecky.com
     
  16. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    The photographers that have been selling on ebay. Have you been selling from your ebay store or auction?
     
  17. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Auction and whatever you do, do not do a buy it now as that tells people this is all your prints are worth. If you are doing Traditional Gelatin Silver I would start no lower than $75. At first sales will be slow but once people start buying your work you will get a regular following.

    Good luck! If you have anymore questions just drop me a line.

    Thanks,

    Kev
     
  18. eggshell

    eggshell Member

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    Does anyone mind telling us the profile of your Ebay buyers? Thanks.
     
  19. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Another thing that is not good when selling on ebay is listing the exact same image with different prices. Or listing the exact same image in different sizes.

    For example Image A Listed at $50 then Listing it again at the same time for $99 for Listing Image B 8x10 for $49 and listing Image B 11x14 for $125.

    Collectors will look at that and not take you serious and you will have trouble selling your artwork and it will haunt you.

    The key is to list different items all the time. Sure you can rotate an image back in after a few weeks.

    Another point I cannot stress enough is that once you set a price you CANNOT go back on it. Say you are now selling at $50 and you sell good. Then you increase to $60 sales still good then you edge up to $75 some sales but not as good so you go back down to $60. That is bad real bad. If you raise your price you need to honor it and stick to it as collectors have already bought your work at $75. If you lower it you might as well not sell anymore ad you have just ruined your integrity with your buyers.

    Just some food for thought.

    Kev