Selling Photography/Prints

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AirborneAngel, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. AirborneAngel macrumors 6502

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    Sep 8, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    I was wondering if anybody here has had experience selling photographic prints to places such as restaurants, businesses or offices.

    I love photography, but in order to maintain a balance of more than $10 in my bank account I need some way of making money!

    Also, do any of you guys/gals have experience with getting your photography featured at a gallery?

    Last but not least, do you guys think my photography is marketable?

    [link]

    Thanks!
     
  2. likeavaliant macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    #2
    I've never sold nor bought photography, but I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your photos.
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #3
    I've had some experience of selling prints and doing exhibitions... but not for a long time. It was fun to sell work, and exhilarating to feel that people would pay money to have one of my pix on the wall.

    But I found it expensive and time-consuming to prepare framed prints. In terms of raising cash, I can think of better ways. For example, I sell my pix through the Alamy picture library...
     
  4. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    Nov 23, 2007
    #4
    I regretted reading Doylem reply, cause now I cant stop thinking of registering. I do have a few questions though, how is the photos charged and how do people buy your photo and how do you get paid? I'm living in Malaysia so this is a concern. Also in your personal opinion, do you think people will buy some of my work? (just limit your scope to the photos I posted here so far)
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #5
    Go to alamy.com, and click 'How to submit'. Alamy don't edit for subject matter, only on technical criteria. The fee split is basically 60:40 (60% to the photographer), which is better than most agencies.

    You upload pix to Alamy (to join the 15.000,000+ images already there :eek:), and Alamy sort out everything from there, apart from keywording. Pay is by cheque or bank transfer, once you've made more than $250.

    Wil your pix sell? Ah, I wish I knew... If you meet Alamy's quality control, why not let buyers decide? :)
     
  6. wheelhot macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Oo, well I know for some people it is rude to ask this, but erm...how much you got from alamy and how long have u been posting ur pics there? (you can pm me if you want to keep ur answer as confidential)

    Thanks :)
     
  7. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #7
    Your potential earnings depend on many variables: the quality of pix, their appeal to buyers, the competition (ie Alamy doesn't really need another pic of the Eiffel Tower :)), the state of the market, etc. I'm in for the long haul, and now have 2,000 pix with Alamy. This is not a 'get rich quick' scheme. I'm making regular sales, but the price per image is falling (it's a buyers' market).
     
  8. AirborneAngel thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 8, 2007
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    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    Thanks for the responses guys!

    Just to clarify, I'm not really interested in selling stock images, as that is something that really does not interest me.

    Cheers!
     
  9. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #9
    Not to rain on your parade, but unless you start contracting for weddings, events, or working for a company, this is going to hurt you. You're automatically excluding one of the most common ways businesses and agencies obtain photos.

    Looking through your photos I honestly don't know why anyone would look at them and say "I want to buy a high quality print of this!" With very few exceptions, your photos are of every day things people can photograph themselves. I think your first step is to improve your craft, then maybe you can think about doing it as a way to earn income.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    The problem is that many other people own cameras, not just you. And many of these people have the same idea as you. So there is an over supply of people trying to sell photos which drives the price down.

    What you need to do to make money is offer a service the just happens to also require photos that you take. Could be anyting, product catalogs, menues with photos of the food, photos of building on a web site for realestate sales,.... You get the idea sell a service not a product. product prices have fallen through the floor.
     
  11. wheelhot macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    yup, I understand this is not a get rich quick thing, but I'm looking at any options to make some money, even little. Better something then nothing rite? And I like the feeling of getting paid for doing the thing you like (I got paid by my college for taking some photos and eventhough I got payed very little per hour, I dont really care cause I enjoy it and the experience gained)
     
  12. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #12
    Then give Alamy a whirl. There's next to no set-up costs, assuming you have a decent camera (I'd say 10MP minimum, though some snappers submit with less) and a couple of sharp lenses...
     
  13. Leafminer macrumors newbie

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    A lot of businesses and offices work through interior designers they hire - and in turn, the interior designers look for photography or other artwork they think will fit within the theme they are after.

    You have the first step done with your deviantArt gallery - having your work available for someone to review. Next step - either make some business cards to leave at restaurants or galleries inviting people to look at your work. Also, look up some interior designers in your area to see if they are looking for the type of photographs you offer.

    Just some ideas...

    Mark
     
  14. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #14
    Yeah... I'm going to have to say that very, VERY few people earn a living by directly selling photos and prints to consumers. Even if you have moderate success selling stock photos or art prints, you won't even come close to making enough money to survive off of

    The real money in photography is in selling services, not prints. What you want is for restaurants to hire you to photograph their food, bands to hire you to do their cover photo, parents to hire you to shoot their kids senior portraits... weddings, real estate, etc.
     
  15. AirborneAngel thread starter macrumors 6502

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  16. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #16
    How sharp is sharp enough?

    I have been thinking about this for a while, although highly doubt my photos are good enough for acceptance let alone sales.


    Doylem, do you sell the images you post in photo of the day?

    Also how sharp is sharp?

    Part of their website says don't sharpen whilst browsing the forums I read plenty of failures with QC and softness.

    Could you (or anyone else) post an accepted photo and a 100% portion so I could get an idea of if I'm kidding myself even thinking about this?
     
  17. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    Just came across this thread. Did you ever find anything to give you a good idea of how sharp is sharp enough? Did you register with Alamy?
     
  18. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #18
    Better late than never... ;)

    Yes, I sell the images in POTD, or, rather, they are for sale... and some of them sell. Via Alamy, my own sales and in books & magazine features.

    How sharp is sharp? If you view a pic at 100% an in-focus pic will retain a 'snap'. You need to look at a lot of pix to get a feel for it... You'll soon come to recognise critical sharpness (in the areas of a pic where it's supposed to be sharp)...

    Getting my first efforts (rightly) rejected by Alamy is the reason I started shooting with a tripod. It's made all the difference.

    I don't do any sharpening in PP. The theory is that designers & printers may sharpen some images... but it'll be the last thing they do before printing, and they want to have the option of doing it... or not doing it...

    Meeting Alamy's technical requirements was hard for me at the beginning, but I tightened everything up and now (fingers crossed), every submission this year has sailed through QC...
     
  19. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    #19
    Since I last posted I did sign up with Alamy and submitted the initial batch of 4 images to be QC'd (for acceptance).

    After a few days wait I got an email saying they were accepted!

    I've been looking at my images, your right Doylem at 100% I think I'm starting to get a feel of what I'm happy or not to submit, sometimes it can be disappointing when what you think are good ones aren't actually as sharp as you thought.

    Phrasikleia, my initial thinking was 100% sharpness should be coming close to what a sharp image looks like at say 25%, it's a different type of sharpness…I think, not really resolution as such (cos its 100%), rather lens blur/out-of-focusness. Hope that made sense :eek: Definitely give a go!

    That said I'm still very cautious of what I should upload next. :eek: I've been trying to use sharpest optimum aperture for future shooting, etc. see how it goes...
     
  20. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #20
    Congratulations on getting your first batch of pix accepted by Alamy. Next on the agenda: making sales. :)

    Ironically (for a digital medium) it's not a simple matter of 'sharp' or 'unsharp'. So I err on the side of caution. If I'm trying to convince myself that a pic is sharp, then I don't upload it...

    Selling through Alamy has made me think about critical sharpness, and what it really means. I still use the kit 18-70 lens that came with my Nikon D200. Hell, I like the lens. :)

    I read all kinds of stuff - on these forums and elsewhere - about the sharpness of different lenses, Canon vs Nikon - etc, etc. Well, for me, critical sharpness is more about getting the best out of any particular lens: using a tripod, using the sweet spot (f8-f11), focusing not on infinity (for landscapes, say) but closer, on the 'hyperfocal distance'. This, IMO, is what makes the difference...
     
  21. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Sep 30, 2007
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    #21
    Haha, thanks :) I'll really need to work on taking and getting images in on a more regular basis. Heaps excited to get into this stuff.

    I know aye, I'm loving the kit lens when trying to get the most out of it!

    Thanks for the tips!
     
  22. rouxeny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2008
    #22
    Doylem, I'm glad to hear you say that you're a technically smart photographer. A lot of people think you have the luck of having beautiful surroundings, but it's obviously a lot more than just that.

    Great advice.

    I have a few photos on istockphoto, but I have found that the types of photos that I like to shoot aren't necessarily the ones that they are looking for.

    I will look at Alamy also.
     
  23. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #23
    Having my photos rejected by Alamy was the spur to 'tighten up' my technique. My first thought was to trade in my kit lens for something more 'professional', but I didn't have a lot of $$$ to spare. So I tried to get the best out of the gear I already had.

    The self-discipline hasn't been a problem; in fact I've rather enjoyed it (maybe like a carpenter who finally decides to sharpen all his wood-working tools). I'm so used to shooting with a tripod that I honestly don't feel comfortable without it...

    The pix that sell for me on Alamy tend to be simple, well-lit pix of places rather than the moody landscapes. The last few sales include a train in a station, a post office, a whisky distillery and repeat sales of a particular house, for which the only (decent) pix on Alamy are mine.
     
  24. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #24
    I did and just received notice that my first four passed QC. :) :)

    My "main" output is stuff that I almost never post on these forums. I have some 35,000 photographs of Greek and Roman artworks, an archive that maybe boils down to about 3-5K photos I could submit to Alamy (the rest are "similars" and shots that are only good enough for academic publishing). But I really want to develop my skills and "vision" for the other types of photos that I've been doing for fun (the stuff that I do post here).

    I'm about to leave for a month-long photo trip that I've been looking forward to for a long time. I hope to come back with some winners for Alamy! Or at the very least, some fun stuff for the Daily Thread. ;)
     
  25. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Location:
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    #25
    Congrats!!! :D

    You've got a great head-start then!
    …and a photo trip :rolleyes:

    I really need to start getting a more commercial mindset for this…long exposure beach shots just aren't going to sell :eek:

    But first I need a new tripod…mine does not sit level…
     

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