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Selling prints

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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  • #1996
    chupathingie
    Participant

    Alright, I get the same thing every time I go to the print shop: “You should be selling these!” My friends keep saying the same thing. It’s getting to the point where I’m starting to take them seriously.

    Now, I didn’t get interested in photography with that goal in mind. I’m a technician, so I like to just do things with images/graphics/CGI etc. I like the idea of making my own desktop images from scratch just so they’re unique, for instance (I’m sure that’s not an odd thing amongst everyone here), and maybe print the odd image off to stick to the wall or give away if someone wants one.

    I rarely enter the contests here, basically because I work allthedamntime it seems and even when a theme comes up that strokes prettily the muse, I find myself out in Rooster Poot all night when it goes live and realize I’ve not made time to even try. But that’s beside the point.

    Aside from the obvious library deficiency (I only shifted from CGI to photography last year), I simply have no clue how to go about trying to sell anything I do, or even how to price anything I might display. Do I sell simple prints at a double markup over printing costs or do I have them framed and charged accordingly?

    I’m not worried about content, that will come as I take more road trips. Each road trip nets me maybe 1/2 dozen sets of images that I can use (if I had a clue about composition there would be more 😆 ) provided the weather and my sporadic planning allow. This last trip for instance only got me 2 panoramas and a handful of decent single bracketed shots. The panorama I took the trip for was spoiled by high winds. Dammit. At least I planned on stops in other places along the way so the trip wasn’t a total wash (from a photographic standpoint; nothing spoils getting to see old friends and party like a fool for a couple weeks).

    So what do you folks do? From what I’ve seen here many of you simply have to be getting the same reaction from people… hell, I’d pay for prints from a lot of you folks. How would you market yourselves?

    #32819
    ravnostic
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this, too, so thanks for the query.

    **awaits the experienced poster’s response.**

    #32818
    Farktographer
    Participant

    I haven’t a clue regarding pricing and selling and whatnot, but for those without a reliable printing center near their house, I was told to use mpix to upload and buy photographs. I uploaded my photos for my niece’s birthday to shutterfly, but some people requested i upload to mpix because the quality of the photographs is supposed to be better. I’ve never seen the same print from the two locations side by side so I wouldn’t know, but mpix claims to be for the professional photographer.

    #32817
    chupathingie
    Participant

    Anything I want to print is going to be “large”, I’m just not compositional enough to not depend on scale :lol:. I just put in an order for 4 prints at 15″X30″ and that’s the smallest I’ve ever done (there are flaws I’m trying to hide via reduction); but keep in mind that that’s my current direction and could change if I ever develop that thing called “an eye”…

    What we need here is a some gifted coder with a farktography bent who wants to set up an online store… I’d drop some change off the profits for such a thing.

    #32816
    ennuipoet
    Participant

    I use two routes for prints, I have my Internet Sales route here at Redbubble

    http://www.redbubble.com/people/fvpncy/portfolio

    It is linked from my website, Facebook, Twitter and Blog. Redbubble is a bit like Flickr in which there are communities and groups to promote your work. I tend not to use a lot, RB is just the hosting and printing provider. RB sets the base price and you then decide how much commission on the print you want to make. I usually go between 30-50% over and above the print cost. I’ve made some sales, mostly friends and family buying small things. RB is OK, I would prefer stronger pricing controls but it is OK in the short term.

    For person to person and personal printing transactions I use myphotopipe

    http://www.myphotopipe.com/index.php

    and negotiate the price with the buyer. I’ve now made three sales of prints, one was a gift at no extra cost above printing and two print sales that spun off from that. I used the base price of the printing and then negotiated a price from that. The prints were small, 11×14 and of people’s pet’s so I sold them for less than $100 each.

    We’ve discussed print pricing before around here, so I am not going to run through those arguments again. Eventually I want to migrate the print production services and pricing to my website and run it all from there. There are several storefront services out there and I’ve only begun researching them. At this point using a storefront printer is not worth the effort and cost because I am not moving any prints. If and when I decide to transit to a more professional set up I want the infrastructure in place to do so.

    So, to shorten it, I like Redbubble for the amateur that wants to try and sell a few pieces to friends and family, I like myphotopipe for semi-pro work because of the flexibility of prints and pricing but if you decide you want total control over your work you need a storefront on your website linked to your printer of choice or a local printer that you’ve built a relationship with, true professionals rent time at a printer and do their color correction and printing as part of the price.

    The more I research the business side of photography the more I am into it AND the more frightened of it I become!

    #32815
    olavf
    Participant

    I’ve got the server space and the bandwidth here at the house, so I’ve opted to set up my own website. That way my costs are minimal ($35/yr for the domain name + I have someone else handle the DNS since my ISP does something funny & I couldn’t get it to work reliably on my servers) and I don’t feel like I *have* to sell pics to pay for my hubris. Plus, I’ve got complete control over pricing, and more importantly my work. The other upside is that (I feel) it looks more professional (as in, I’m serious about it), but on the flip side, I’m wholly responsible for getting search engine indexing, marketing, etc. Facebook helps there either way, if you create an artist/business page and start getting your friends (that are so inclined) to follow you, then their friends will also see your work. Just don’t upload any of your work to that page – Facebook can use your art for marketing purposes under their TOS. Plus, they filter what people see on their wall to reduce information overload and one of the major factors that they use to determine whose posts get seen is how many external links they post. Plus, external (hot)links are a good way to invite traffic back to your own site.

    Whatever you do, do NOT put anything up on art.com. If you look in the fine print, once you put something up there you can never, ever take it down. deviantart and some of the other places are better about that, but definitely read all the details of the TOS before you put up a single piece.

    I’d also recommend ordering something through whatever outlet you’re considering before you commit, too. For example, there’s a HUGE difference in quality between shutterfly and mpix – from the quality of the paper down to the color correction of their printers. The key thing you want to look for in a print house is ‘archive quality’ – meaning under normal conditions the art should last 70+ years.

    #32814
    Farktographer
    Participant

    I’ve got the server space and the bandwidth here at the house, so I’ve opted to set up my own website. That way my costs are minimal ($35/yr for the domain name + I have someone else handle the DNS since my ISP does something funny & I couldn’t get it to work reliably on my servers) and I don’t feel like I *have* to sell pics to pay for my hubris. Plus, I’ve got complete control over pricing, and more importantly my work. The other upside is that (I feel) it looks more professional (as in, I’m serious about it), but on the flip side, I’m wholly responsible for getting search engine indexing, marketing, etc. Facebook helps there either way, if you create an artist/business page and start getting your friends (that are so inclined) to follow you, then their friends will also see your work. Just don’t upload any of your work to that page – Facebook can use your art for marketing purposes under their TOS. Plus, they filter what people see on their wall to reduce information overload and one of the major factors that they use to determine whose posts get seen is how many external links they post. Plus, external (hot)links are a good way to invite traffic back to your own site.

    Whatever you do, do NOT put anything up on art.com. If you look in the fine print, once you put something up there you can never, ever take it down. deviantart and some of the other places are better about that, but definitely read all the details of the TOS before you put up a single piece.

    I’d also recommend ordering something through whatever outlet you’re considering before you commit, too. For example, there’s a HUGE difference in quality between shutterfly and mpix – from the quality of the paper down to the color correction of their printers. The key thing you want to look for in a print house is ‘archive quality’ – meaning under normal conditions the art should last 70+ years.

    On the facebook note, my supervisor warned me about them being able to take your photos for their own use. After I heard that, I started making groupings of photos that I only post to facebook – I scale down the image and muck up the quality just a bit, so they could never blow it up and use it for anything larger than a normal computer screen. At least it guarantees they don’t get a high-quality version out of me.

    #32813
    olavf
    Participant

    Yeah…I link *everything* on my artists page, with the exception of notes and any write-ups for the links themselves. But I also generally only post sizes that don’t need to scale in the average web browser, and anything larger than that gets watermarked. (it’s the balance I’ve found between watermarks interfering with the image, and trying to protect my work). You’ll notice I do the same thing for Farktography.

    I’m more lax on my personal page, but most of those things are cell phone pix and/or just general mucking about.

    #32812
    Kestrana
    Participant

    This discussion actually makes me wonder if we should set up a Farktography photo shop where we could choose what photos we want to make available and figure out how to partner with something like Shutterfly (having tried Shutterfly and Snapfish, Shutterfly is better quality by a lot) and see if we could sell prints of our work. Which would be great if we do work out the “Fark Photo of the Week” thing on the main page mentioned in the other thread.

    #32811
    orionid
    Participant

    I have not done side by side comparison of mpix versus shutterfly, but I have gotten prints from mpix and love the quality. That said, I had a LOT of people tell me I should sell prints, or that they and their friends would buy them. A friend and his wife let me stay at their place for two weeks last year for the low low cost of six 4×6 and two 8×10 prints. They say they get comments all the time from guests about the pics, and they refer them to my smugmug page (which, I’ll admit is highly out of date right now). I set my prices at roughly 150% to 200% of cost, which I consider to be fairly reasonable, and have had ZERO sales so far. Of course, I haven’t taken the FB spamalot route yet, so……

    #32830
    olavf
    Participant

    Kestrana, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. I can foresee a bajillion problems from what prints get put up there, to who gets a cut, to the nightmare of getting the printing permissions from each person for each photo every week.

    orionid I just got my website off the ground at the end of last year, so me either. But I haven’t been pushing them – not even on the FB side. Since most of the followers are my friends, I’m very careful of that line between sharing pics and creating awareness, and shoving things in front of people and screaming BUYYYYY THIIIIISSSSSSS – if you watch other people that are trying to make a buck from their art, it’s pretty apparent when it crosses the line into annoying…

    #32829
    Kestrana
    Participant

    olavf I’m not talking about making every photo in every contest available to anyone who wants a copy. What I would want to do is make a separate store where you as a Farktographer could choose to host work you posted in a contest available for sale. You would have to upload the file, it wouldn’t just take it from the contest threads. Of course there would be a TOS agreement stating it had to have been used in a contest or we have the right to remove it. We could also take requests and try to contact a farktographer if someone wanted a copy of their photo. But then the proceeds would go something like 90 or 95% to the photographer, keeping 5-10% for the cost of keeping the site maintained less of course the actual cost of manufacture.

    You’re right in that it’s probably too complicated or hairy. But it would be cool and another way to get people interested in playing and in our art if we did have it.

    #32828
    Farktographer
    Participant

    Kestrana it’s a really interesting idea, and I’m sure a lot of photographers here would be interested in joining in.

    #32827
    olavf
    Participant

    You’re right in that it’s probably too complicated or hairy. But it would be cool and another way to get people interested in playing and in our art if we did have it.

    I’m not saying it’s a terrible idea, but it’s fraught with issues. Would it be limited to winnars? Top tens? Anyone?

    And Drew would need his cut too, FWIW. It’s his moniker.

    My other fear is that it would somehow alter the game. Farktography is not necessarily *good photography*. It’s…different. Look at the cuts for the book – there’s a lot or really awesome shots, and a lot that are…well, they’re funny as shiat and awesome in their own right, but nothing anyone would want on their wall.

    Also, I wonder if it wouldn’t take some of the fun out of it. We’re not doing this to make a buck. Most of us that want to have, or are considering, other venues for that. I’m afraid it might take the ‘Fark’ out of ‘Farktography’. :/

    #32826
    Kestrana
    Participant

    I wasn’t expecting we would be getting rich off of selling farktography shots, and I don’t see why Drew would be involved in proceeds from things that are not his creative property. He is not taking money from the Farktography book, except whatever is needed to host the Fark party if we ever get it released. But why would we limit it? If someone wants to take the time to make their photos available for someone to buy, that’s their option. I don’t know why anything would change and there’s certainly been some photos people have posted that I would pay money to have – I’m actually going to order a print of one of ennuipoet‘s after the wedding when we have disposable income again. I would like to see Farktography become more integrated into the Fark world which would hopefully grow our community, and offering Farktographs through the fark.com store (for example) would be another way to do that, and reward participants in a way that doesn’t involve actual prizes as was being discussed in the other thread.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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