Cash from your Nikon

This month, Chris Rut­ter talks about the in­come to be had when you sell your im­ages at mar­kets and fairs

NPhoto - - Contents -

Earn money selling prints

Even in a dig­i­tal and online age, there is still a huge mar­ket for tra­di­tional prints for peo­ple to hang on their walls. Pic­tures give a home a per­sonal touch, an of­fice a hu­man feel.

Most peo­ple don’t have the tech­nol­ogy, or the know-how, to make great prints from dig­i­tal files and will still pre­fer to buy pic­tures for their walls ready-made, with or with­out frames. So, this month we’ll take a look at how and where you can start selling prints of your im­ages, what ini­tial costs you’re likely to face, and what even­tual re­turns you can ex­pect.

If you’re keen to take this route, be sure to take a look at this is­sue’s Big Test on page 124, where we’re com­par­ing four home print­ers and four pro­fes­sional print­ing labs. You’ve put in all the ef­fort to take the pic­tures, so it’s worth get­ting prints that do them jus­tice!

Find­ing a mar­ket

There are sev­eral op­tions when it comes to find­ing places to sell your prints. A pop­u­lar one is to ap­proach shops and cafés, of­fer­ing your prints on a consignment ba­sis. This is an agree­ment where you pro­vide the prints to hang in the shop, and then split the money when the item sells. The split of the selling price can be any­where be­tween 70/30 (where you keep 70 per cent and the shop takes 30 per cent) and 50/50.

When con­sid­er­ing this ap­proach you need to choose the right venue for your work. Look for places where there are plenty of peo­ple who are likely to buy prints. Tourist ar­eas are a good place to start as they of­ten have a steady flow of peo­ple pass­ing through. Make sure that the venue has de­cent light­ing and space to dis­play your prints, as you don’t want them to just be stuck in a dark cor­ner of the shop or café.

Once you have come to an agree­ment with the venue, it’s

vi­tal that you have a con­tract writ­ten up be­fore hand­ing over any of your prints. Along with the com­mis­sions and per­cent­age split of the selling price, this should in­clude full con­tact de­tails for both par­ties, a list of the prints and selling prices, how long the con­tract will last, how and when pay­ment is due af­ter a sale, and de­tails of who is re­spon­si­ble for in­sur­ing the items while they are at the shop.

Find­ing a mar­ket

Along with shops and cafés, gal­leries can be great places to sell your prints on the high street. It’s worth do­ing a bit of re­search when look­ing at which gal­leries to ap­proach to check whether your im­ages and sub­ject mat­ter are suit­able for a par­tic­u­lar venue. But while some gal­leries spe­cialise in a par­tic­u­lar media or style, many will be on the look-out for some­thing that com­ple­ments the work they al­ready have, rather than dis­play­ing all the same type of art.

When you ap­proach a gallery, start by ar­rang­ing a meet­ing with the man­ager or owner, and take along a se­lec­tion of around 10 im­ages. These can be on a com­puter or lap­top, as they’re just to give them an idea of the type of im­ages you are pro­duc­ing; there’s no need to get them printed at this stage. This ap­proach will mean that you can get an idea of which im­ages the gallery man­ager thinks are saleable. Many gal­leries will also be able to help with fram­ing.

Along with re­search­ing the suit­abil­ity of the gallery, you should check what the gallery’s terms and con­di­tions are for dis­play­ing and selling your work. Some will re­quire you to pay a monthly fee to ‘rent’ the wall space, although this varies with dif­fer­ent gal­leries. Then you will also have to pay a com­mis­sion and/or a per­cent­age of the to­tal selling price to the gallery. The fees and amounts charged by the gallery will vary greatly be­tween dif­fer­ent venues, so make sure that you will still be mak­ing a profit on each piece once they have taken their cut.

If you want to have com­plete con­trol over the sales and mar­ket­ing of your prints, with­out the cost of set­ting up your own shop or gallery, selling at art/craft fairs might be the per­fect an­swer. Although this is op­tion is cheaper than a shop you’ll still need to fac­tor in the fee charged by the or­gan­iser of the fair and the cost of get­ting you and your prints to the event. You will

If you want to have com­plete con­trol over the sales and mar­ket­ing of your prints, with­out the cost of set­ting up your own shop, selling at art/craft fairs might be the an­swer

need a way of dis­play­ing your wares, too, such as a ta­ble and dis­play stands. This op­tion can take a lot more of your time than sim­ply dis­play­ing your im­ages in a shop or café, as you’ll need to be there to set up the stall, sell the prints and pack away at the end of the day.

Only the best

When pick­ing which im­ages you are go­ing to print, mount and frame, make sure that you only choose your best (and most saleable) shots. Ask your­self whether you would want it on your wall, and get the opin­ions of friends and fam­ily (es­pe­cially non-pho­tog­ra­phers) to help you choose. Of­ten pho­tog­ra­phers can be too con­cerned with the tech­ni­cal­i­ties or style of the im­age, or even whether it’s an im­age that they would have liked to have taken them­selves, whereas some­one who isn’t into pho­tog­ra­phy (and this will be a large num­ber of your po­ten­tial cus­tomers) will be able to judge an im­age solely on its mer­its.

Whether you are selling a post­card on a mar­ket stall or a framed print in a gallery, you want to make sure that your work is printed and pre­sented to the high­est pos­si­ble stan­dard. So, first of all, don’t be tempted to skimp on the print­ing. (See page 124 for our head-to-head test of print­ers and online print­ing labs.)

If you are think­ing of print­ing your own im­ages you’ll need a high-qual­ity inkjet printer. The best mod­els use pig­ment-based inks for bet­ter longevity than dye-based ver­sions, and also have a gloss op­ti­miser op­tion for the best re­sults when us­ing glossy pa­pers. You’ll get more con­sis­tent and re­li­able print re­sults by cal­i­brat­ing your screen us­ing a de­vice such as the Dat­a­color Spy­der.

The al­ter­na­tive is to have prints made by a com­mer­cial lab­o­ra­tory. This doesn’t of­fer the same con­trol as you have when print­ing at home, and

Not ev­ery­one is will­ing or able to buy a huge framed print, so as well as framed prints, try hav­ing some smaller mounted prints, post­cards or even cal­en­dars on of­fer

you may have to wait a few days for the prints, but if you are just start­ing out and need a se­lec­tion of prints made, it will be cheaper than buy­ing a printer and pa­per.

Once you have made your prints you need to mount and frame them. Again, this area can be cru­cial to suc­cess­ful sales, so you need to think about it care­fully. The choice will be a per­sonal one, but to max­imise the ap­peal of your im­ages it’s gen­er­ally best to avoid or­nate or colour­ful frames, as these will only ap­peal to a small per­cent­age of buy­ers. It’s much bet­ter to use sim­ple, plain frames, and also to have a se­lec­tion of mounted but un­framed prints to of­fer, so that the buyer can al­ways choose a more per­sonal frame if they want.

Pric­ing your work

The first thing to con­sider when pric­ing your work is the ba­sic cost of pro­duc­ing each print. This will in­clude print­ing costs, mount­ing, fram­ing and any postage or trans­port costs you need to pay. Once you have worked out your costs, you need to fac­tor in how much profit you ex­pect to make.

This will give you a start­ing point to price your work, but there are some other fac­tors to take into con­sid­er­a­tion. If you are selling through a third­party such as a shop or gallery, then they will take a per­cent­age of the selling price. Then there’s the fi­nal fac­tor, which is how much peo­ple are will­ing to pay. This is the most dif­fi­cult part of the equa­tion, so it’s worth spend­ing some time look­ing around at other shops, stalls or gal­leries to get an idea of what they are charg­ing. The prices can vary im­mensely, depend­ing on the type of peo­ple that are vis­it­ing the area, the type of work you are selling and also the over­heads of the busi­ness. A busi­ness based in a high street in a pop­u­lar and af­flu­ent tourist lo­ca­tion will of­ten have work priced much higher than one which is in a less pop­u­lar part of town, just to cover the ex­tra costs. So, take into ac­count where your work is be­ing sold when de­cid­ing on the fi­nal price.

Wher­ever you are selling your work, it’s worth look­ing at hav­ing a range of dif­fer­ent sizes, prices and types of work that you’re of­fer­ing. Not ev­ery­one is will­ing or able to buy a huge framed print (es­pe­cially if they are on hol­i­day), so as well as framed prints, try hav­ing some smaller mounted prints, post­cards or even cal­en­dars on of­fer for these cus­tomers.

How LONG will it take?

Pro­duc­ing, fram­ing and selling prints is go­ing to take some time and in­cur more up­front costs than many other ways to make money from your Nikon, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea. Get­ting your ini­tial prints made, mounted and framed will take a cou­ple of weeks. Then you’ll need around six months to start re­coup­ing your casts by selling the prints through the var­i­ous out­lets. Art/craft fairs of­ten re­sult in the quick­est sales, as they tend to at­tract large amounts of peo­ple look­ing to buy art or pho­tog­ra­phy, while selling through cafes and shops can take longer, as a lot of their cus­tomers won’t be in the mar­ket to buy prints. But as long as you’re pre­pared for the long haul, by build­ing up re­la­tion­ships with dif­fer­ent out­lets and cus­tomers it’s pos­si­ble to make print sales through these out­lets a vi­able money maker.

Wh at can you earn?

This will be dic­tated by your profit per item, and the vol­ume of sales. The profit on a small print, post­card or cal­en­dar is of­ten very small, so you will need to sell tens or even hun­dreds of them to make it vi­able. While the profit on a large framed print can be much greater, you are much less likely to sell large num­bers of these.

If you are just start­ing out you will be do­ing well if you make a few hun­dred pounds’ profit in the first six months. But selling prints is a busi­ness that can be grown grad­u­ally, and in time it’s pos­si­ble to make a good in­come from a wide range of sources.

Su­perb im­ages of scenery will ap­peal strongly to tourists whose hol­i­day snaps won’t be as good as the prints you’re selling

When you’re selling your photos via a café or res­tau­rant, be sure to choose im­ages that are likely to ap­peal to the sort of cus­tomers the venue at­tracts

Peo­ple buy­ing prints are most likely to be look­ing for art for their homes or work­place, so don’t be afraid to mar­ket your more cre­ative im­ages

Don’t crop un­framed prints to odd ra­tios – many peo­ple will want to buy ready-made frames in stan­dard sizes

If you’re go­ing to be print­ing your pic­tures your­self, you need a top-notch printer – see page 124 for a se­lec­tion

If your work is strongly con­cep­tual or chal­leng­ing, an art gallery might be the best venue for selling your prints

Think­ing of selling your photos via a fair or even a street stall? The im­ages you choose will need to be in­stantly ac­ces­si­ble, to grab the at­ten­tion of passers-by

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.