Even in this digital age of virtual galleries and electronic displays, there’s still a market for traditional prints
Produce physical copies of your photographs to sell as wall art
social media likes and online comments are nice, but nothing beats knowing that someone likes your work enough to have it on their wall. Selling your prints can be done in many ways. Local art fairs and markets can be a great way to get started. You’ll need to get a range of images printed and framed, but it’s also worth having some smaller unframed prints and even cards or calendars. This is so you have some cheaper options for those who don’t have the cash or space for a large print.
You can also try approaching local coffee shops, restaurants or gift shops to see if you could sell images by hanging them in their premises. This is normally done on consignment, where you continue to own them until they are sold. When they sell you will have to split the revenue with the retailer, which is normally anything from 70:30 in your favour to 50:50. Before you start, make sure that you draw up a contract detailing the retail price of the prints, the percentage split, who is responsible for the prints while displayed, as well as how long the prints will be displayed. Local galleries are also an option, although these can be difficult to persuade until you have some sales under your belt.
If you don’t want to go to the expense of pre-printing and framing your work, then there are several online options where you can make a sale before getting the print made. This can be from your existing website, or you can create one using a hosting company such as Smugmug (www.smugmug.com), which has integrated photo lab ordering. There are also websites such as Fine Art America (www.fineartamerica.com) and Redbubble (www.redbubble. com), who offer a range of print products that you can add your images to. They then handle the ordering and fulfilment, which is one less worry.
When it comes to deciding what types of images to sell, it will vary according to the type of market and audience you are aiming at. For local art fairs, cafes and even smaller galleries, local scenes or landmarks are always a great option. These are most popular with people who have an emotional attachment to the location, so having a range of local
scenes will help you to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. These shots need to be taken in great light, as otherwise they won’t stand out, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shoot at sunset or sunrise.
In fact, moody, broody landscapes are a much harder sell, as are snowy winter scenes. These may be favourites among photographers, but most people won’t want a reminder of cold, rainy days hanging on their wall. The exception here is the fine art print market, where it’s possible to make some sales of this type of image, and there’s also a market for moody black-and-white images, but these are more niche markets.
There’s also a market for more abstract images, such as still life or details, but unless the image happens to fit into the colour scheme or home decor of the buyer, they don’t have the wide-ranging appeal of landscapes or wildlife images.
Selling prints isn’t just about enormous lavishly framed photos, though, as not everyone is looking for a large piece of art for their wall. Smaller, unframed prints are a cheaper option, and can sell at art fairs and online, while there’s also demand for greetings cards and calendars.
Selling prints isn’t just about enormous lavishly framed photos, though, as not everyone is looking for a large piece of art for their wall
Abstract images can be difficult to sell, as they have to fit in with the customer’s decor and colour scheme
Local scenes or landmarks make ace options for customers that have an emotional attachment to the area Try some smaller unframed prints to sell to people that may not want costly prints