I would also say, though it can be expensive, difficult, and time consuming, the Art Circuit may also be a better way of showing your work and to try to move on to Art Galleries. Through this means, people have the opportunity to see your work first hand. Some of these shows draw from the tens to many hundreds of thousands of people in a weekend (some approaching 1 million). It is however, stressful, requires a lot of time and preparation, travel, equipment, set-up and tear-down, etc. After 10 years or so in this business, I am cutting back and am in the process of trying to find gallery representation as well as other types of distribution (which supplements stock sales).
Still being relatively new on apug I can see the value of lots of different points of view. Apologies to David about my unclear approach in asking the question. This, BTW, is an office habit and often interesting and worthwhile to see what comes back. Trouble is, I tend to forget when I'm not at work plus it drives my wife up the wall. More about that another time maybe.
Anyway, I like the way David reflected some different groups.
Being pragmatic about it, Ryan has clearly cracked this and it works for him.
I can see the logic in the just-do-it approach combined with a realistic price in the first place which reflects some of what has been put into producing the finished print. I like that because otherwise procrastination can be a major obstacle along with the "what if no one likes it?" line.
Maybe it's down to the belief in what any of us do, the worth of it in terms of the satisfaction, the enjoyment, the pleasure in creating something that makes the hairs prickle on the back of your neck. For me, a real buzz is taking a photo, seeing then in my mind's eye how it's going to look when printed and then achieving that. Even better, taking that step further and getting something really great - beyond what was originally seen - in the finished print. Seeing that in the fixer tray when the lights are turned on is great. Those moments make it so worthwhile no matter whether anyone buys it or even likes it. So maybe that's the goal. But if someone does buy it, that's a bonus and an encouragement too.
I don't believe this to be true. I think it is more the case that many who sell on eBay would never get into a gallery anyway. The cream rises no matter where it is sold.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
You would be amazed at how many "legitimate" galleries and dealers sell on eBay under assumed names, etc. I know several personally and they find money from eBay sales spends just as good as any. Several very well known and represented photographers sell their work there too. Granted, there is a stigma that can be attached to eBay sales, but I think this is rapidly disappearing as people realize it can be a very good source of cash flow with extremely little overhead when compared to more traditional means. I think it is a valuable tool to have in the bag. Those that want to denigrate it can, the others can laugh all the way to the bank.
Let me chime in here. I recently purchased Ryan's Iceland Portfolio II and quite frankly, if I hadn't purchased a couple of Ryan's Azo prints on Ebay for about $50 each a year or so ago, I would have never spent the $$ for his portfolio.
Originally Posted by Ryan McIntosh
What selling some prints on Ebay for $50 (actually they started at $50 and I was the only bidder on the two I purchassed) did was expose me to Ryan's work at a reasonable price. I also purchased a couple prints by another photographer (no longer participates on this forum) for $50 each and for this photographer, if I had spent say $250 each, I would have sent them back for a refund. However, at $50 each I just kept them and chocked it up to helping out someone just beginning to sell his work.
I don't think it would hurt a young artist to offer prints the way Alan Ross does. While Alan certainly commands a respectable price for his fine prints, he also offers 1 or 2 "artist edition" prints each year for something like $225. These prints are clearely listed as being different from his usual Gallery prints and it allows folks to afford one of his prints and become exposed to the quality of his work without paying the "normal" Gallery prices.
For those of you who are trying to become exposed to a larger audience and sell your prints at respectable prices, let me suggest that you consider offering on Ebay an "artist edition" of a print that is produced in volume and then sold for something approaching $50 for an 8x10 that is matted etc, the way you would normally present one of your "fine" prints. This would allow those of us that want to explore your work a way to enjoy a print at a reasonable price. Who knows, maybe the next portfolio I purchase will be one of yours.
From what I see there are many fine photographers here and your work deserves an audience.
Just my 2 cents,
Ebay is truly a great market for self representing photographers who are trying to sell work, but many people need to do more research and understanding into how the art market works, not just Ebay.
When I started selling prints a few years ago on Ebay, I started my print prices at only $50.00. This was really a break-even price where I was not making any money, nor loosing any. At first, no prints were sold for several weeks-months. As soon as a few people took a risk and purchased a print, a few more did also, then the first people purchased a few more, and I kept having repeat buyers along with more new ones coming. Soon, people realized that I was offering high quality prints for a very cheep price, so they kept purchasing. Prints sales were getting out of hand and I could not keep up with the mounting/matting of so many prints, so I knew it was time to raise print prices.
Starting out selling cheep on Ebay is okay, because it's a way to "test the water". If someone purchases your prints and they are of good quality, they will purchase more. In result, others will see this and follow. If someone purchases prints and are not pleased, they will not purchase anymore and neither will others.
Because selling prints is my only source of income, I knew that I had to raise my prices, so I went up to $75.00, then $95.00, $125.00, $175.00 and soon $250.00. As for print sales, they have remained steady and consistent over the past few years. The price increase has not decreased sales, if anything...it has increased sales. Many because people know my print prices are steadily climbing.
Ebay has been a great way to introduce myself to collectors, galleries, museums and photographer who purchase artwork on Ebay. I've sold several hundred 8x10 AZO prints on Ebay since I first started, and prints sales are still going strong. However, I'm starting to be approached by more galleries around the country (who found my work on Ebay) that are interested in representing my work. As soon as a gallery starts representing my work, I will probably stop selling so much on Ebay and reduce the online sales down to maybe only a few prints a month. This may also call for another increase in prices.
I hope to start a "Special Edition" print program shortly, to give new buyers a chance to buy my work at a more introductory price. I'm still getting several new buyers each month, but as prices increase, the number or new buyers will decrease. Of course, even for past collectors, this will be a great chance to acquire prints for a lower price.
I don't think it’s a good idea for a artist to sell their work to cheep, as it only devalues the artists work. However, you need to realize what your intentions are with selling your work. Are you selling your work as just "wall art" for the casual buyer to hang in their home, or selling work to more collectors as an investment purpose for the buyer? Personally, I'm doing photography for a living, so many people purchase my prints to collect and value them, not always just to decorate their home.
There is only a VERY small handful of artist on Ebay that are worth collecting and selling their work not just as wall-art. If you do some research, you will see these are the artist that are selling most.
Like someone said before...if your just wanting to sell prints to share an image with someone, Ebay might not be the place for that because there is several others trying to do that unsuccessfully. It takes alot of time, energy, and effort to sell your work. However, in the end, it's one of the most fullfilling and pleasing jobs one can have and I would not want to do anything else with my life.
All the best,
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I have to disagree with this statement completely. Lately my prints sales on eBay have been in the toilet, so does this mean I am not worth collecting even though selling prints is how I make a living and the fact that I am completely and totally dedicated to pursuing this as my only source of income?
Originally Posted by Ryan McIntosh
I have made sales the last few month off my website but to say that since artist are not selling on eBay per say they are not worth collecting is really wrong.
As far as steady sales at higher prices on eBay, I have yet seen it for myself and many others that sell on the site. One print a month or even two is hardly enough to consider strong sales. If someone was selling 20 prints a month at the $175-225 range then yes I would agree, but as I comb over eBay feedback and the many known and unknown photographers they are only selling 1-3 prints a month at best above the $50 price point. To me this is not strong sales and hardly enough to support a family or a household.
I am sorry but eBay does not produce sales. Look at the lister that goes by hasting on eBay, this guy must list 20-30 prints a week and only sells one or two. At that rate he is not even breaking even so in reality he is paying eBay to take his prints off his hands, the fees must be killing him. His price point is $49.95. Then I have seen a few other who sell at $175-$250 and they go for months on end on eBay with 0 sales and at times you will see with only 1 or 2 sold every 2-3 months.
Look up on eBay for yourself and see what has sold versus what hasn't, look at the prices the prints have sold for, 95% of the prints are at or below $50. When you do your searching exclude the knowns such as Weston, Adams, Loranc, etc...
Just my take on it.
Nowhere did I say that since an artist is not selling on ebay, that means they are not worth collecting. Nowhere did I say that, and nor do I believe that. That would just be stupid.
I was saying that out of all the people selling art on ebay, only a small percentage of them are worth "collecting" for investment value. There is alot of artwork that is pretty wall art, and you can see it's not selling quite as well.
Of course, I consider you one of the self representing photographers selling on Ebay that is worth collecting. Your certainly selling more than just wall art.
Ebays sales come and go in waves. We all have down times where nothing sells, or times when we get more sales from another selling outlet (ie-website).
Checking someones sold items or feedback does not mean they are not selling images from Ebay. I've had several people contact me wanting to purchase prints that just found me from Ebay, or someone that just got one prints on ebay...then views my websites and wants to purchase a few more via private sale.
Personally, I think Hastings is selling wallart images. He has been selling (not much!) on Ebay for the exact same prices for along time and never changes. I believe he may just be interested in sharing his images with others. As you can see...no collectors are buying his work, only the casual buyer. This does not mean his images or prints are of poor quality.
Originally Posted by kjsphoto
As I read these writings, and the ones in the other thread I continue to feel like Bill Schwab is the voice of reason, and I tend to agree with him. I would also like to say that I feel like he is coming from a place where he might know what he is talking about; he is well represented and is prolific in his work.
As for the others of you, I wonder why you care so much. If ebay is not working for you, and you can sell prints for lots more money somewhere else, then do it. I do not buy into your reasoning that collectors who would otherwise be buying your work for a few hundred dollars are being side tracked by cheap prints on ebay. If they want your work at your price they will buy it, they will not buy 5 others on ebay instead.
There are lots more serious collectors browsing ebay than you think. And as Bill said, plenty of top drawer sales are taking place.
Nobody is “ruining” the market for selling your work.
As you are fond of saying,
Just my take on it.
The reason many galleries don't want to handle artists who sell on ebay is that it will undercut their selling prices. It may be a good way to get seen by some galleries, but once you have significant gallery representation, you may well be asked by more than one of them to stop ebay sales because A: every ebay sale means one less print they can sell, B: one less commission they can earn, and C: because it is an auction, it can go for less than they are selling your work for. If you can not only sell work without paying them a commission, but your side sales will undermine their pricing, why would they represent you?
To think one is going to throw a few prints on eBay and suddenly be making a living is ridiculous. If this is what you are basing your negative feelings on, I would agree. Making a living with your work takes so much more than print sales and the sooner you realize this, the better you will feel. There is education, licensing, posters, notecards among many others. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE that thinks they are going to make a living off their work in one specific venue, is very sadly mistaken. People that complain about their sales should realize that each and every sale is a gift no matter how much it is for. Anyone feeling they deserve to make a living because they've been doing this a few years is just fooling themselves.
Originally Posted by kjsphoto