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Thread: Selling Prints Online

  1. #11
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    You ask the perennial question.
    How do you make a million in [photography]? Start with two million.
    What's the difference between a [photographer] and a pizza? A pizza feeds a family of four.

    I'm not an expert. I've sold a few prints, but not nearly enough. I am working hard on this question. I think the first step to success is being lucky. Unfortunately I've never been one to be called lucky. I have not personally found an online service or site to be particularly helpful in sales or marketing as a nobody. I have to wonder how Jeff, above, sells anything on that site at all, much less thousands of dollars a year. I'm not seeing it.

    I am trying to market towards uniqueness of the process (b&w silver prints) so "print-on-demand" services are not in my wheelhouse, but perhaps it is something to consider for auxiliary sales. Perhaps Jeff can enlighten us as to how it happens he sells that much and of what images. I am seeing a lot of highly processed digital HDR images that, for me, are frankly anathema.
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    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    Where there's a will there's a way. But I've seen enough starving artists already. I even had a family member who attained international fame as a painter
    and was collected by all the major museums in this country plus some in Europe, and still barely got by financially half her life. On the other hand, there are
    a few truly wretched photographers and painters who have done extremely well by successfully marketing to the lowest common denominator of taste. Not
    for me either. What's the point if you hate what you're doing? When I was younger and more ambitious, I had a few bursts of sales that came at just the
    right time in my life, with the prints selling for fairly high figures for that era. Today three or four hundred bucks would barely cover the cost of framing a
    single moderately large print, even using my own facility. But the presence of jillions of scratchy little images on the web for sale is just like a set of golden arches spoiling the skyline in every town in America as far as I'm concerned. Serving up fast food isn't for me, no matter how popular it has become.

  3. #13

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Today three or four hundred bucks would barely cover the cost of framing a single moderately large print, even using my own facility.
    It certainly doesn't cover the time and effort.

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    A friend of mine was all excited that he sold twenty 11X14 prints in a single day at one of those quasi-gallery events. At $200 apiece, that's $4000 in a single day! But he paid $175 apiece to have them framed, and also paid a lab about $60 apiece to print them, including a number of other prints that didn't sell. Then the "gallery" wanted its 50% cut. He had spent about twenty thousand dollars for his two trips - one to Tibet and the other to the Everest base camp, to take those shots, for which he assumed he just absolutely had to have the latest Canon SLR and its most expensive zoom lenses. Hey - if he had
    fun doing it, great. But he would have made far more money holding out a tin cup on the street corner.

  5. #15

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    $175 for an 11x14 frame is kind of expensive, don't you think? I mean for a print you price at $200. Who would do it?

  6. #16

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    Quote Originally Posted by j.e.simmons View Post
    Jeff, about how many images do you have up? Iím assuming you have the paid membership.
    I did an experiment several years ago and posted 600 images on the site. I posted all of them within about 30 days and then posted no more. It took about 6 months for the first sale and since then have averaged what about $300 to $400 a month (higher towards the holidays and lower just after). In my opinion, itís really a numbers game, the more you post, the more youíll sell.

  7. #17
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    $175 is cheap for any commercial framer. They have overhead and typically need high-rent locations to be successful. What this fellow should have done is
    use some do-it-yourself framing facility. He even had his own nice Fletcher matcutter, but never learned the right technique and wanted everything to look
    just right. Lots of folks just want to get their token two hours of fame among friends and associates. There are also a number of venues where artists get
    together and temporarily rent show space, paying apiece relative to square footage. Most of them lose money; but it seems to be something fun to do together, an artiste lifestyle thing. Selling high-end work is a completely different ballgame. I've often tacked a minimum of an extra thousand bucks onto a print just for the framing, which I always do myself. I predominantly worked in Cibachrome, which is a fragile media, esp in big sizes; so it's best sold fully
    protected. Now I predominantly make fiber-based black and white prints, which can be optionally sold simply dry-mounted. But sometimes I make big
    Fuji Supergloss prints analogous to Ciba. They aren't quite as susceptible to fingerprinting, kink marks, or electrostatic dust, but still deserve the full treatment of framing. That high gloss will show any imperfection in mounting or lighting. Ordinary RC color paper is easier. But the web is useless for showing the kind of hues and detail nuances that makes any these prints special to begin with. If someone is just looking for subject matter, guess it's OK.

  8. #18

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Donald View Post
    I make on average about $300 to $400 a month on FAA.
    Okay... That may be just fine for you.
    --
    However, please remember... That this site is 'primarily' a LARGE Format Film Photography Forum.
    Personally, I do not know anyone... That can afford to sell their 'LF Prints' for $29.

    Thank-you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    ... I am seeing a lot of highly processed digital HDR images that, for me, are frankly anathema.
    +100.

    ~~ "To Each His Own." ~~

  9. #19

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    Who supplies the physical prints? If it’s FAA you might actually make it up in volume.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taija71A View Post
    Okay... That may be just fine for you.
    --
    However, please remember... That this site is 'primarily' a LARGE Format Film Photography Forum.
    Personally, I do not know anyone... That can afford to sell their 'LF Prints' for $29.

    Thank-you!



    +100.

    ~~ "To Each His Own." ~~

  10. #20

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    Re: Selling Prints Online

    The original poster asked about places like FAA which prints, frames and ships. I don’t know what camera Jeff used, but my one sale was from a scanned 4x5 negative.

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