How to Sell Photography Prints
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If you love taking photographs, and more than that, are accomplished enough a photographer to believe that you could sell some of your prints, then you should know that there hasn't been a better time to do so.
One reason for that is the demand for high-quality photographic prints is extremely high, but also because there is an almost endless number of places where you can sell your photographic prints, and in many cases, for a decent sized fee.
Photography Prints versus Photographic Images
One thing we need to clarify before we go any further is what we mean when we refer to photographic prints and the difference between photography prints and images.
Before the digital age of photography, a 'print' was often what people referred to as a single developed photograph that you might have got from a photo processing store having previously handed in rolls or cartridges of unprocessed film containing all the other snaps from your vacation or family event.
Today, the term photography print is now generally used to describe a photographic image printed on all sorts of items, including, a canvas, wall art, T-shirts, mugs, key rings, duvet covers, and other novelty items.
That being said, many photographers, who want their work to be seen in the most artistic way possible, limit the use of their photographs being printed on a canvas or as wall art only, rather than for gift or novelty items, but it is a personal choice.
Another point is that it is possible to sell your images as digital downloads to stock photograph and image sites such as Shutterstock. On sites like this, you are merely selling them your digital photographs for others to purchase and use.
The amount you will earn for each image is very small compared to it being used for print purposes, and therefore you will need to produce a lot of photographs to generate what might be considered a decent level of income.
In this internet age, there are going to be loads of opportunities online to sell your photography prints, which we will come to in due course, but you should not overlook or dismiss the many options there are offline too.
For a start, if you are selling offline, there is a greater perceived value, and thus you may be able to command higher fees.
Secondly, in many cases, you will be able to meet those who wish to buy your prints personally, which can help you network and get referrals more readily than the faceless online environment.
Some of the most popular offline places to sell photography prints are local art fairs, farmer's markets, restaurants, hotels, art galleries, and coffee shops.
You could offer some of these establishments some of your prints for free in return for them displaying them for sale to their customers and guests. Another idea is to ask if you could display your prints in their lobby or reception area in return for a percentage of any sales you make.
For all your offline activities you should always carry a digital portfolio on a tablet or laptop of all the photographs which you can turn into prints as well as some of your most popular physical prints, where possible. You also want to carry business cards to give to potential clients
Selling Your Photography Prints Online
One of the biggest advantages of selling anything online, including photographic prints, is you literally have the entire online population as potential customers. Whereas locally you might only have local residents and businesses to sell to, with the internet, your marketplace is worldwide.
As a photographer you might not fancy the idea of having to market to customers, deal with sales and payment, and then subsequently have to arrange the prints to be dispatched and delivered to your customers, and thereafter, sort out any customer service issues which might arise.
The beauty of selling your photographic prints online is that in a lot of cases you do not have to.
There are now many eCommerce-platforms and online services that allow you to set up your 'store,' upload your images, and then they will literally take care of everything else for you, for a fee, obviously. This will normally be a monthly recurring fee and a percentage of each sale you make.
Many of these platforms also deal with all the payment processing and fulfillment, leaving you to get on with your photography, and more importantly, striving to make the prints you have to offer, the very best they can be.
Some of the most popular platforms for selling photography prints online, are Zenfolio, Etsy, Fine Art America, Great Big Canvas and Cafepress. They all operate in different ways, so do your research on these, and others.