Marketing/Selling your Photos (ie.: calendars, posters, etc.)

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Continued from this discussion in the "Lens Flair" thread ...

I actually go straight to the core. I first made my name at some drift forums, now that they know I am not a scammer, I proposed my idea and people agreed. So in your case, I'd start frequent scenery photography forums or sth along the lines.
I'm not exactly sure where that would get me...can you explain a little further?

Alternatively, the N?rburgring fanshop has offered to sell my pics there, as I have tons of pics from the track.
Wow, colour me impressed! :eek:

I would look for bookstores and such that sell calendars or postcards...or....

Go to a bookstore, pick a card, the printers name should be on the back, do some googling, make some calls.
I live in a relatively small place with, um...one book store. However, we are the home of a large publishing company (of which the book store is a subsidiary). There are some local authors who have had their books printed through this publisher.

I was thinking something along the lines of creating a calendar with a "nature and life around this place" sort of idea. I'm not really sure how many people would be interested in paying for a calendar with pictures of the place where they live, though ;)
 
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carolsLittleWorld

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I'm not really sure how many people would be interested in paying for a calendar with pictures of the place where they live, though
That's exactly what a lot of people buy, especially if the pictures come out nice. For selling stuff like calendars, the price point is really important.
 

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Continued from this discussion in the "Lens Flair" thread ...


I'm not exactly sure where that would get me...can you explain a little further?


Wow, colour me impressed! :eek:



I live in a relatively small place with, um...one book store. However, we are the home of a large publishing company (of which the book store is a subsidiary). There are some local authors who have had their books printed through this publisher.

I was thinking something along the lines of creating a calendar with a "nature and life around this place" sort of idea. I'm not really sure how many people would be interested in paying for a calendar with pictures of the place where they live, though ;)
I suggest printing some photos, then taking to your head of the place, usually a municipality or something. Earlier this year I had a plan to do frankfurt panoramas paid for by the city of frankfurt. Since your stuff is good, they might actually consider it. Another thing you could do is shoot on demand, look for calendar publishers and ask them if there is something they would need, you go shoot them, they might be interested. My key strategy is aggressively selling your talent ;)
 

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I think it's a really nice idea too, I don't have very many Photographs I think are marketable however I made the decision to join an image agency back in May. I know fine art Photographers see these as the mortal enemy but as my work doesn't tend to work in sets I thought it may be a good idea. Unfortunately whilst looking at the photographs I have online at the moment I saw that I have a really poor range of material online. I've changed the organisation now in the hope that I may get some sales but the main reason I put my photographs into stock in the first place was that they could sell there but they won't sell lying on my hard drive.

If you have a publisher near you I think it would definitely be worth sending them some of your work, you may actually save them a lot of time and money if you have some of the shots they are after. If you wanted to do it a little differently you could try and talk to the local authors to see if any of your photographs would be suitable for the cover of one of their books. The calendar idea is pretty cool but I think there would be quite a few pitfalls (how many to have printed, who prints them etc).

Good luck :).
 

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(how many to have printed, who prints them etc).
Who will print them: that's easy.
How many: that's a good point. I'll have to do some research on that.
 

Dr_Q

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Well, if you decide to print them yourself the price of ink really tends to add up and if you decide to print them elsewhere you can't guarantee the quality of the final product and could be charged quite a bit. If you make a lot and go elsewhere you will get a discount but then again you will only be able to get that back if you sell all of them. To me it's more of a business proposition than a photography one, your photographs are good enough to sell you just need to find the best outlet for you personally.
 

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I know fine art Photographers see these as the mortal enemy but as my work doesn't tend to work in sets I thought it may be a good idea.
I don't look at it that way at all. It's just another way to market work. I've sold stuff to stock before and I might do it again (someday.) I don't shoot for stock, but I have sold them work. If stock works for you then that's another outlet for selling your work.

The microstock stuff is kind of a different story for me. I know there are some people who make a lot of money doing it, but I think there are more people who get suckered out licensing their work for pennies on the dollar. Frankly, I don't know what to make of it and, at least for now anyway, I'd probably avoid it.
 

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I heard good things about Alamy so I decided to go with them, unfortunately I completely missed that particular bandwagon and just as I joined there was a huge influx of images there. It's actually worrying how many more millions of images have been added since I joined too, still hoping to find a niche somewhere :p.
 

carolsLittleWorld

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Getty is now with Flickr. That's an interesting combination, though I've heard the terms aren't all that great. (Still better than microstock though.) There's also photographer's direct, they seem pretty decent (I think I'm listed with them and I've gotten client "call backs" with them before, but haven't sold anything through them.)

I always had better luck with the smaller agencies-ones that specialize-but, lately anyway, they all seem to have dried up. Of course, you could always just start your own. That seems like the thing to do if you want to go that route.
 

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...if you decide to print them elsewhere you can't guarantee the quality of the final product...
They're one of the biggest printers in Canada, there are absolutely no quality concerns. These guys know what they're doing.
 

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Something I haven't told you guys about, me selling my photos. I sell them at Mexican flea markets, Sonia sells them at her work, and over the summer I had a stall at a local farmers market.

I get them printed at Walgreens using matte paper for $5, and sell them for $20 for an 8X10, $30 with a cheap frame. One of my photos is poster sized, hanging in a medical clinic.

So far I have made....enough to pay off my camera and lenses, and that is all I care about; something to fund my hobby. It is seriously easy, I wonder why no one else speaks of it. Middle aged women LOVE pictures of flowers, probably something to with vagina's.

I sell them cheap because I feel that is what my "artistry" is worth. Don't look at the money amount, but the percentage I am making on a photo. If you print it for $5, and sell it for $10, that is 100% profit. Most businesses can only hope for at most 30-40% profit before expenses.
 
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AshDav

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Just had a thought. Quite a simple one but it could be hugely effective
Any mac users, make an iphoto book of your work
Perhaps center it around a theme, print it in relative bulk and then go about selling them at a suitable place
or you could make a portfolio of your work and then, when you approach a gallery or such, you can present that to them
I had an iphoto book printed a while ago and the quality is unbelievable. Hard cover, high quality glossy pages, and the price is very reasonable. I think i had about 30 pages, and it only cost $40, including shipping

Because the majority of my photos are taken at Paynesville, i'm going to contact the tourism place up there, and once/if a deal is negotiated, i'll make a book with about 15 photos from there, print them for probably 25 each including shipping, and sell them there for maybe $40 or $50 each
tourists will slog anything :p
and its quite a nice souvenir
 

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I sell them cheap because I feel that is what my "artistry" is worth. Don't look at the money amount, but the percentage I am making on a photo. If you print it for $5, and sell it for $10, that is 100% profit. Most businesses can only hope for at most 30-40% profit before expenses.
So, for example, what is one your best sellers? How many sold?
 

AshDav

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i just finished my ImageKind page
all my best New Zealand photos are up if you want to have a look
the link is in my new signature

with a free account, am i able to receive anything for my sales? or do i need a pro or platinum to actually get the markup
 
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carolsLittleWorld

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Ash, I think you get stuff from your sales but that you are limited to 24 photos in your gallery with ImageKind. Congrats on the setup!

The thing you want to do is to set it up with your bestsellers first, so that way you can use the money from initial sales to pay for the full blown account. Then, once you have initial sales and an account, upload additional galleries. So, start with pretty flowers, sunsets, water shots and then move onto night work or stuff that's more "artsy" but doesn't sell as much with the public.

Regarding the Apple books, any user can make them, doesn't have to be Mac. Apple actually outsources to a company called mypublisher.com so Windows users can use them as well. They print off the same digital presses.

All of the "self publishing" books result now in pretty nice books. I've made books with blurb, lulu, and apple/mypublisher. I would say that lulu has the worst quality (don't really like them though cheap prices!) but blurb and apple have pretty decent stuff. One big advantage to blurb is that you can setup an online bookstore and sell your books directly through their site. It's also getting a lot of traffic right now-all of the "big dogs" have blurb books. (I can rattle off some "household name" style photographers who are on blurb if you'd like me to.) Here's a link to my blurb book if you want to check it out: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/538718

One big issue with all of these self-published books is that it's not cost effective to sell them. My blurb book (link above) is selling through blurb at something like $50 or $60 hard cover. That's too high for retail. But, you could then take the blurb book to a publisher and work with them on printing and distributing it. (That's what I'm doing-the publisher I'm working with actually told me "go make a blurb book, get 300 prints in a clamshell box, come back to visit me and then we'll do your "real" book.)

As far as submitting to a gallery to show you work, this is what you will need:
biography-doesn't have to be long, just 1 or 2 paragraphs about your work
statement about the work-again 2 paragraphs about the work itself
press clipping or "reviews" - if you are just starting out, use other photographers who are more established
10-20 images-make a CD and also make a small blurb style book. If you want also make a quicktime movie
Sample print-include something like an 8x10 to show them how your work looks printed
resume/C.V. - usually this lists your previous gallery shows, what you've done on the web, etc.
moo cards-I print out moo cards or postcards with my information on it, so they can contact me

They refer to that entire collection as "an artist's packet."

It's really not hard to be working full-time, yet produce such an "artist packet" on the weekends, send it around to different galleries, and see if you get a bite. Even if you are not a full-time photographer, this is the sort of thing you can do in your spare time and it can really pay off.

Hope that helps.
 

AshDav

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^ thanks for the great advice
I've made up two calendars, one of Paynesville and one of New Zealand photography. I'll most likely print them towards the end of the year. I'm working on a book at the moment on iphoto and i'll work out something for that when its finished

In regards to the blurb books, that seems like an excellent idea and i'll definitely look into it. Just a few questions though.
How long has your book been up there?
How many sales have you had on your book? and roughly how much profit do you get for each one?
Also, do the books cost you anything to produce? or do you just make them and they sell them, similar to the ImageKind system

I've not had any bights yet on my ImageKind account and at the moment i'm thinking of upgrading to a Pro montly membership, just once as a trial, and if i make a profit over the month and sales seem promising i'll look further at maybe getting an annual account. I figure subscribing as a trial will be a good option so that my images will be further promoted throughout the site.

As for the artist packet, i'll look at making one up this week. Do you think an iphoto book inclusive of the biography and other notes, in the style of a folio would work?

Sorry for all the questions
and thanks again for the help
 

carolsLittleWorld

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Ash, no problem I do this all of the time.

How long has your book been up there?
I have three books actually in blurb at the moment. I did my first one last July. They are different sizes.

How many sales have you had on your book? and roughly how much profit do you get for each one?
I set my profit at $1 because I am not trying to make any profit on my book right now. I'm working with a publisher, so I don't want to profit through blurb. I have not sold anything through blurb and don't expect to, though I have had several hundred hits and I have sold prints though the book (showing it to people, ask for a print.)

Last year, I did a calendar through lulu and promoted that on my website. I have sold copies of that (it was selling well actually) but I did not like the print quality of lulu (the calendars were a horror) so I changed to make a few calendars with Apple (they are much more $$$ $26 vs. $12 but the quality was there.) I have since heard that zazzle makes good calendars but have not tried them.

A friend of mine who is promoting his book (though website, live appearances, direct sales, etc.) has sold over 600 copies of his blurb book. Sales can be made, you'd just have to sort of "pimp" the book a lot yourself with blurb or any of these services. (For various reasons, that's not something I'm willing to do right now, so I am not a good example for you to use. Think about it, my publisher would probably not like me very much if I started pimping my blurb book and then tried to sell the same book through him. But, I did a blurb book because he suggested it and I was thinking about doing one anyway, before the publisher got involved.)

Also, do the books cost you anything to produce? or do you just make them and they sell them, similar to the ImageKind system
I have bought two copies of my book so far. The way I did it with blurb is I set my price for the "bookstore price" to be $1 over what the cost to me was. I ordered one copy for myself and then, when I got that copy, changed a few things, uploaded a new book, and ordered another. Blurb is an on demand publisher so you don't have to order any set number of copies upfront, I think maybe just 1, to get it into the bookstore.

Another friend of mine (yes, I know, seems like all of my friends are photographers) uses a printer down in Mexico. He's selling his book for $20 and it sells briskly. I was just in a gallery show with him a few weeks ago, and the gallery sold out of his book in a few hours (maybe 20 copies.) I believe he has sold over 100 copies so far at something like $5-$10 profit. He is an excellent photographer, he's represented by a few very high end galleries (like Verve in Santa Fe.) The same gallery we were in last week wants to carry my book, if I ever get it printed.

Do you think an iphoto book inclusive of the biography and other notes, in the style of a folio would work?
Depends on the gallery. If you are just starting out and looking to get into a more local gallery, it might be enough. I always like to give them a packet though, because I want them to have a folder with all of my information. Books, like the blurb books or an Apple book used as a folio, tend to get "grabbed." If you are talking to a gallery, you want to give them a slim folder that they can put in their drawer (file cabinet) and store away. Galleries tend to remember who submitted work to them when and sometimes don't take anybody on their first attempt. The trick is, if you do this, even a rejection is positive, because they will remember your name or your work.

The gallery world is small and people tend to talk. Even though it seems like there are millions of photographers, there are really very few (surprisingly) who show their work on a regular basis. We all tend to know each other, and know what galleries are looking for what type of work. Much like the racing circuit, that's probably how everybody knows The Stig, right? I mean, at the end of the day, only so many drivers even though everybody has a car.

Another thing I like to do with galleries is send them an actual print. Have one print made that's the size you would display in the gallery. The visual impact of touching a physical print will often land you a show. People like to see and hold things, not to mention it shows them you know how to print. If you are not setup to print, use ImageKind and get stuff printed on some of the higher end papers. I can help you with paper selection if you are stuck (ImageKind uses high end Epson printers.)

A lot of galleries are now going "green" and want to see a website instead of a packet. You might want to setup a cheap website with tabs for each of the items in the packet (bio/statement, Exhibition record, books, etc.) If you want to see how I did mine this should give you an idea. If you click on "Image Gallery" you'll see each of the bodies of work I'm working on and some of them have artist's statements when you click on a small photo to enter that gallery. I've also got a link for my bio and generic artist statement, along with my exhibition record (well, some of it. I only have about a third of the shows I've been in listed there.)

Hope that helps.
 

LeVeL

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Ash, epp_b, if you both shoot motorsports, I *might* be able to hook you two up
I'm not Ash or epp_b, but care to share? I shoot at car shows and autocrosses pretty often... dunno if that's the same as "motorsports"
 

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take pictures of Spiderman in action, and sell them to the local news paper!
 

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take pictures of Spiderman in action, and sell them to the local news paper!
that would be sweeet. would make big moneys with that!
seriously though, working free lance is pretty good. not selling your photos you have, but shooting for someone. i just made about 80 bucks for an hour job covering the press conference for the honda insight for a site. Usually they have their own dedicated photographer or whatnot and might not be interested but you just might get lucky and get a job. sometimes i look through craigslists for some assisgnments and they usually have single jobs that pay over 200 bucks for taking some landscape shots of a building and stuff. easy stuff really.
but damn.. making enough money to cover your gear by just selling your photos is just sick.
 
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