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Old May 17, 2007, 1:09 PM   #1
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How do you SELL photos

I was thinking that selling photos is probably like everything else that has to do with cameras. Everybody has their own ideas. If we all share our ideas everybody may pick up on a few new ones to try. Remember the more photos you sell the more money is available for new camera toys.


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Old May 17, 2007, 1:38 PM   #2
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I think this will bring a lot of varied answers which should be interesting. I think the key is identifying your market, appropriately marketing your work to that market and providing a purchase experience that works well for your selected market. Is thatnon specificenough for you :G

In my case, I do sports work. I decided to sell work to pay for my hobby - much like you're suggesting. I happen to love sports photography, so I actually took a two-prong approach:

1. Contacted local papers to inquire about freelance work. Turns out the major daily by me doesn't use freelance photographers AT ALL - they only use staff with the lone acception being a case where a news-worthy event occured and they didn't have a photog there. But for sports work they don't use freelancers. So of the various smaller papers that had interest I settled on an outfit that produces about 5 or 6 different community additions. I have a contract with them and do freelance sports work for 2 of the communities.

2. Set up a website through smugmug to sell prints on-line to parents/athletes for the events I covered. I cleared this with my editor and they don't have a problem with this as long as they have photos only they use which is not a problem.

In my case, this work is similar to any event type photography - highly unlikely someone unrelated to the subject(s) in the photos would be interested in buying the work.

Lots more details about the ins and outs, but for an executive summary level this is pretty much the gist of how I sell my work. Again, the whole purpose was to make my hobby self funding - an important goal since equipment for sports shooting can get fairly expensive. While I've been doing photography for a while, the business has only been up for about 16 months and I'm so far meeting my objective.


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Old May 17, 2007, 2:22 PM   #3
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JohnG wrote:
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I think this will bring a lot of varied answers which should be interesting. I think the key is identifying your market, appropriately marketing your work to that market and providing a purchase experience that works well for your selected market. Is thatnon specificenough for you :G

In my case, I do sports work. I decided to sell work to pay for my hobby - much like you're suggesting. I happen to love sports photography, so I actually took a two-prong approach:

1. Contacted local papers to inquire about freelance work. Turns out the major daily by me doesn't use freelance photographers AT ALL - they only use staff with the lone acception being a case where a news-worthy event occured and they didn't have a photog there. But for sports work they don't use freelancers. So of the various smaller papers that had interest I settled on an outfit that produces about 5 or 6 different community additions. I have a contract with them and do freelance sports work for 2 of the communities.

2. Set up a website through smugmug to sell prints on-line to parents/athletes for the events I covered. I cleared this with my editor and they don't have a problem with this as long as they have photos only they use which is not a problem.

In my case, this work is similar to any event type photography - highly unlikely someone unrelated to the subject(s) in the photos would be interested in buying the work.

Lots more details about the ins and outs, but for an executive summary level this is pretty much the gist of how I sell my work. Again, the whole purpose was to make my hobby self funding - an important goal since equipment for sports shooting can get fairly expensive. While I've been doing photography for a while, the business has only been up for about 16 months and I'm so far meeting my objective.

John IMHO a very good business approach. I like the idea that you looked at what you wanted and then came up with a approach to getting it accomplished and then followed thru and got it done.

You done did gooood.

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Old May 17, 2007, 4:55 PM   #4
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I wish I knew the right answer. John's approach is great, but probably wouldn't work as well for a nature photographer.

You could post your photos on stock photo sites, and I'm sure they'd sell, only they wouldn't make you nearly as much as they're worth (though there are exceptions). People that shop these sites are usually looking for specific images, and usually for something business related. If you could get a shot of a monkey holding a wad of bills in one hand and scratching his head with the other, that could do pretty well.

When I saw your post displaying your work area in the hotel, I thought that was how you sold your photos. I think the best way of selling nature shots is with actual prints, whether they're posters, frames, mugs, or whatever.

So that begs the question, "How do I make money selling my prints?". I really don't know yet. I guess art shows, if you want to rent a booth, would be one way. Perhaps shop around souvenir and craft shops and see if any place buys stuff like that. You could try selling at an antique mall that lets you rent a glass case and fill it with your stuff. I've also had the suggestion to try going to bars and restaurants and having them hang your work on the walls where people can buy them.

I've just started getting interested in trying to sell some prints, but I've got a lot to learn. One thing I did learn though is that your photos will look better in a frame, and you should check out dollar stores for cheap frames. You can get basic 8x10 and smaller frames, many with matting, for a buck each. I've found a few that actually had interesting designs, but they'll require certain styles of imagery to work.

I've got a friend who rents a case at an antique mall, so I might try having him stick a few photos in the back of the case for $10 each and see what happens.

Anyway, let us know of any progress you make at this endeavor, I'm certainly interested to find out what works.
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Old May 17, 2007, 5:04 PM   #5
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Corpsy wrote:
Quote:
I wish I knew the right answer. John's approach is great, but probably wouldn't work as well for a nature photographer.

You could post your photos on stock photo sites, and I'm sure they'd sell, only they wouldn't make you nearly as much as they're worth (though there are exceptions). People that shop these sites are usually looking for specific images, and usually for something business related. If you could get a shot of a monkey holding a wad of bills in one hand and scratching his head with the other, that could do pretty well.

When I saw your post displaying your work area in the hotel, I thought that was how you sold your photos. I think the best way of selling nature shots is with actual prints, whether they're posters, frames, mugs, or whatever.

So that begs the question, "How do I make money selling my prints?". I really don't know yet. I guess art shows, if you want to rent a booth, would be one way. Perhaps shop around souvenir and craft shops and see if any place buys stuff like that. You could try selling at an antique mall that lets you rent a glass case and fill it with your stuff. I've also had the suggestion to try going to bars and restaurants and having them hang your work on the walls where people can buy them.

I've just started getting interested in trying to sell some prints, but I've got a lot to learn. One thing I did learn though is that your photos will look better in a frame, and you should check out dollar stores for cheap frames. You can get basic 8x10 and smaller frames, many with matting, for a buck each. I've found a few that actually had interesting designs, but they'll require certain styles of imagery to work.

I've got a friend who rents a case at an antique mall, so I might try having him stick a few photos in the back of the case for $10 each and see what happens.

Anyway, let us know of any progress you make at this endeavor, I'm certainly interested to find out what works.
I got the idea for the thread thinking about so many folks that post here have wonderful photos and are they selling them and if not what are some ideas so they can.

I do pretty well selling photos and I have around a dozen different ways I sell them so the thread isen't so much for me but to give some other folks some ideas. Of course if I see a new idea that I like I will add that to my list of a dozen or so.


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Old May 17, 2007, 7:46 PM   #6
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WackyRoger wrote:
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I got the idea for the thread thinking about so many folks that post here have wonderful photos and are they selling them and if not what are some ideas so they can.

I do pretty well selling photos and I have around a dozen different ways I sell them so the thread isen't so much for me but to give some other folks some ideas. Of course if I see a new idea that I like I will add that to my list of a dozen or so.


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Well then please, tell me a few of the ways you sell your photos!
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Old May 17, 2007, 7:52 PM   #7
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Corpsy wrote:
Quote:
WackyRoger wrote:
Quote:
I got the idea for the thread thinking about so many folks that post here have wonderful photos and are they selling them and if not what are some ideas so they can.

I do pretty well selling photos and I have around a dozen different ways I sell them so the thread isen't so much for me but to give some other folks some ideas. Of course if I see a new idea that I like I will add that to my list of a dozen or so.


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Well then please, tell me a few of the ways you sell your photos!
Corpsey I will make up a list and post it. I live in a very small tourist area so a lot of my ways may not work for others but then again maybe some one can adjust them to work for their area.


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Old May 17, 2007, 8:29 PM   #8
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I was asked what I do, so here is some of what I do. I live in an area that is very small & tourist orientated so some of what I do wouldn't work for a lot of you. Hopefully some of these methods can be adjusted to your area and will help you make a few extra bucks to buy more camera toys.


I do a lot of different things rather than just one way for me I found many ways works better for increasing the bank account. A few sales from each method starts to add up at the end of the year.


1. Internet - I have two web sites that I sell photos from.

2. Hotel Rooms - Using photos that we have for sale in our hotel rooms as decoration.

3. Gift shops - I have two gift shops on the 1st floor and we have photos for sale in both of them. To get peoples attention I have a 19inch monitor playing a 868 photo slide show and a 8x10 image frame player showing photos. I learned many years ago that movement attracts peoples attention and the changing photos works like movement.

4. We have a free computer with Internet access for our Hotel guests and when a guest is not using it a slide show of 868 photos for sale is playing.

5. I use my photos for magazine, TV and newspaper adds for our community, state parks and our railroad.

6. I have photos being used by both of our state colleges in new books they are putting together. Both books are suppose to be available the first part of 2008. My GUESS is the photo credits and a blurp about me and the photos will also increase sales.

7. POD wins has caused E-mails asking if I sell photos and I have sold some from the inquiries.

8. I make myself available for special events. Example: Our railroad has numerous special trains such as the annual Rotary train steak dinner and moonlight ride train. I ride and take photos and pass out business cards with one of the web sites where I will put up the photos for sale. I pay the Rotary club a % of the sales.

9. At special events shoot the people and use their photos with the event photos. Example: At the Osprey Fest last year I took a lot of photos of people shooting at the Osprey and made the photos of them taking photos available. The most popular ones are the photos of the customer taking the photo as a insert on a background photo of the event.

10. Real Estate Featured Properties. I contacted all the real estate companies in my area and I take photos of their feature properties. These are their better and more expensive listings and they seem to be willing to pay to have better photos of them. I also do 360 photos for them.

11. I also build web sites so there is an opportunity for me to take photos for the new customers web site.

12. We take folks out on wildlife camera hunts. This is like double dipping - Paid to take them out and find something for them to shoot at and while they are taking photos I take photos of them taking photos and these are made available to them.

13. Our area is known for its great elk hunting. To get started I made up a bunch of business cards and passed them out to the different outfitters and the game processing plants telling about my service of taking photos of hunters and their animal. This idea turned into a yearly contract with one of the outfitters. I contract with him for 6 days a week September thru December.

If any one has a question about the ways I am selling photos please ask and I will try and explain it better.

IF YOU ALL WILL SHARE YOUR METHODS maybe we all can come up with some new ideas to try. Remember the more photos you sell, the more money for camera toys.



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Old May 17, 2007, 10:47 PM   #9
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Wow, Roger, you really are quite an entrepreneur! With the hotel & the wildlife hunts, you really have created a captive audience. You also have an interesting angles on creating prospective business that is for sure! I really like the idea of the slideshow on the monitors & TV's ...that's pretty good!But also making yourself available for the local community events is something that I need to consider.

What I started doing is ... my wife & a friend were doing craft fairs in the area. My wife makes scrubs & salts & lotions & potions while her friend makes jewelry & candles. So they found that they were having "open spots" in their stand where something just needed to be but they didn't have anything to sell that was appropriate. So my wife took some shots of mine to fill in those spots & it helped draw customers in. One lady would comment on the picture while her friend would start looking over the merchandise. Granted I had limited success...but once I had a lady buy about 6 or so prints of a trip to Ireland that we had taken.

Now, this is leading to my new adventure. This week I hung about 20 or so pieces at a local massage therapy spa that my wife has been doing business with. The owner has an artist or photographer come in & decorate her waiting room with their work for a month at a time. She doesn't charge a commission but really tries to help sell the works & in return she likes to pick a piece for herself ...dependent of how the month goes. Also, she is willing to host a show on a Sunday afternoon where the artist can invite whoever & have some wine & snacks & whatnots. It helps drum up business for her & helps to promote the artist. So far so good, I have already sold 1 piece & like 10 greeting cards. Fortuneately, I having my "show" this Sunday which coincides with a local art show that is going on like a 1/2 mile from the spa so hopefully this will help bring some folks in too.

It sounds like a good opportunity so far sinceI do a lot of landscapes with flowers & such. Someone comes in for a massage all stressed out, gets a massage, feels like living again, walks out to pay & there's a nice 8x12 shot of some beautiful wildflowers, tulips, or waterlillies or across the room is some 12 x18 closeup shots of some colorful blown glass. I'm hoping that the clientel will be a little more receptive than at a craft fair where they would be walking around with their mother-in-law & 3 small kids wondering if it's time to leave yet.

I have also thought about talking to my doctor & dentist about hanging some pieces up in their waiting rooms...talk about captive audiences!! Hang the shots & attach a business card with a price on it for the piece. Couldn't hurt ...might help!

Oh yes, I would like to take the opportunity to advertise the art show for those that may be in the St. Louis / Southern Illinois area that be interested. Here's a link to their website

http://www.artonthesquare.com/

I believe they are advertising it to the 5th or 6th largest art fair in the nation! Not bad for a city of 40,000 or so!

Thanks again, Roger!

Ron
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Old May 17, 2007, 11:01 PM   #10
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Oh yeah, 1 other thing...I don't know how it is in other states but here in Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources has a monthly magazine that they put out to promote their parks & events. Then once a year, they have a photography contest with different divisions. So for folks like me that like being outside & taking wildlife & landscape shots, this might be an avenue to pursue. Furthermore, you may try contacting hobby magazines to see if they use freelance photographers as well.

Just an idea! Thanks again, Roger! Good idea for a thread!

Ron
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