I don't sell any prints that aren't framed.
Although if someone wants a 5x7 after placing their initial order, I'll mount it and they can buy a desk frame somewhere.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
I prefer to sell framed prints, but will sell mounted only prints. I don't sell unmounted prints to the general public.
Originally Posted by blansky
So, what most of you are saying is, I'm better off selling nothing (the number of prints I can afford to matt and frame right now) than trying to sell the prints as they are, and it's not about the photography anyway, but about the marketing.
Maybe I need a middleman -- sell the prints for $25 or $50 each, bare, to someone who has the capital to mount, matt, frame, and hang. He gets the grand when something sells that way, and I get the $25 return on what I can afford to invest.
Or are most of you just saying that if I can barely afford film, I shouldn't try to make this self-sustaining?
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
I think everybody is relating their best advice based on their experience, as to what works best. Nobody is saying "don't go for it" If economics says you are going to start with unmounted fiber prints, then thats what it will be, and you can start mounting as you can afford it, bootstrapping, based on print sales.
About the best advice I can give beyond that, is a kind admonishment to get started, and last, but not least- once you set a price, never back it down.
Oh, and selling photography is about marketing. That's what selling is, and nomatter the price point, expressive photography is a luxury item, so it won't sell as a need. Somebody has to want it, and to want it they have to know it exists, and without marketing they flat out won't.
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
check out a place like this michel company
(they sell those things like your high school portrait came in )
i shot little league teams a while ago, and all the team photos were given out in folders like these ( no mats or frames). if the folks wanted to mat + frame they could take care of that themselves.
maybe, you might think of having your favorite photograph matted and framed, and use that as a sample and suggest that you can recommend a frame shop that will take care of it for them ...
just a suggestion ...
i hope it helps ...
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Since I am part of a group doing an open studio this coming weekend (photography, sculpture, watercolour, and block prints), I am in the middle of just this sort of exercise.
After a few years I have some idea of my market - I can sell material matted to 11x14. 11x14 prints matted to 20x16 is tougher. Postcards are popular, but hand printed postcards are hard work for little return. Commercial printing is pricey for small runs. One of the advantages of a group is that we share the cost of our mailing. So I am looking at a $20-$40 per item market for this event. $80+ just won't move. Better photographs might help (!)
Try Dick Blick (http://www.dickblick.com) for plain white mats and mounts in blanks and standard sizes. They have their house brand in 6-packs at a good price. Essentially bulk packaged Neilsen acid-free mats.
Matted prints are stored in clear bags (http://www.clearbags.com).
I will frame on request, but I would rather someone went to a framer than go to the trouble of delivering or shipping a framed print.
I have some framed examples on display, naturally.
But I am not expecting to make a living doing this - the marketing is small, and the financial and time investment is moderate. But I can recoup my costs for the event.
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Donald, a little less than a year ago I decided it was time for me to start selling my prints. Like you, I couldn't afford to drop a ton of money at once to get everything I needed. What I did do, however, was make a list of all the prints that I felt were my best and I've been printing them little by little over the past year. I also bought the other items as I went along (mats, hinging tape, etc.) when I could spare the cash. It is frustrating sometimes because I'm moving slower than what I would like, but its what I can afford.
What this long winded post is getting at is you don't have to do everything all at once. Buy things as you can and eventuallly it will all come together. Sometimes it does mean buying a frame or two or some mat boards instead of film. And as others have said, marketing is part of it, like it or not. The greatest photographer in the world is still a nobody if no one knows about him.
Searching my way to perplexion
First of all, the only one that can say that you are ready is You. If you need to ask, then I would assume that you are "not ready." We all know about assumptions, so take this with a grain of salt.
After reading your post and current situation, I would recommend more research on learning and understanding presentation and markets which includes the basics of mounting and mat cutting. To start in the business of selling photography; quality and presentation is most important.
Most people will say "practice makes perfect" -- WRONG!!
Perfect practice makes perfect.
Your question was "can I sell *naked* prints" --
First, please call them "loose prints" or "print only", generally people might find your term "naked" distracting. YES, there is a market for loose prints, but you need to ask yourself how you are going to find your market and present your work. Also, do you really want to sell a loose print to a customer that might be using your work as art and will eventually have it framed?
One helpful hint to understanding the business of selling photography is to walk in your customer's shoes.
The advice I commonly give out is: when you believe you are truly ready to enter the market of selling photography; keep working at it, do more research, and wait two more years...you'll wish you did
I don't mean to discourage you, I just don't like to sugar coat things especially when it comes to the business of selling art.
All things photography is like everything else, you can be discourage or inspired, its up to you.
I wish you luck and great success on your dreams and goals.
I donít know what all the fuss is over I sell unmated loose prints on ebay also and they SELL! And get this, not a single person that has bought them complained. Why does he need to have to frame, mount, matt, etc??
Give me a break. Look I do this for a living and I could give stuff if I donít get a thousand bucks for an image. I am in this to make money and not starve to death. I will sell un-mounted and unmated prints all day long for $30-50 bucks who cares! IF someone wants a mounted and matted print that is fine also and I have a different collection of prints to fit that bill as well.
Donald if I were you just go for it and ignore this framing, mounting and matting business. You donít need it. If you would like to do it down the road then that is a personal choice but definitely not something you NEED to do especially starting out, the sooner you get your images on the market the sooner you will be selling them.
I look at it like this. You have those that have days jobs and make bank so they can afford to put there prints in a gallery and ask $500-1000 bucks for them while they sit on the gallery walls for 5-6 months. Well I donít have that luxury and even if I did I donít think I would. My goal is to get a print in everyoneís home and not everyone can afford $1000 for a photograph heck maybe they cant afford what I change either but at least I donít have to worry about giving a gallery a 60.40 split and donít have to worry of not being to sell that image elsewhere as the gallery is showing it.
Just ignore all this framing and matting and list a few prints for what YOU FEEL is the right price not what everyone else tell you is the right price. And as time goes on, you can raise your prices and who knows maybe in time they will be selling for a $1000 but you got to start somewhere.
I am amused by your stance on selling unmounted images. You point to your ebay store and it sure looks like every image you have there is presented like it is matted and framed.