So you want to sell your photos? I can help you start this journey. I have been a full-time photographer since 1995, so I have experienced more than 20 years of this ever changing industry. Through the years, I have met many art photographers and have learned to understand the photography market and how to sell photographs.
Here are the six most important points I have learned…
Know your Market
Knowing the market is very important! Whether you are in a coffee shop, gallery, or outdoor art festival, knowing the market will help determine your success.
How do you determine the market? Look around and research. What is the price point of the artwork on display? What subject matter/sense of location do you observe? Does the area cater to tourists or locals? With these questions answered, you will know how or if your work will fit. Keep in mind that very high end galleries, fine art shows, and museums have an extensive mailing list and a worldwide collector base. So if you look at these, you will notice that they are more open to a variety of art and imagery as well as higher price points. But on the other end, they have a much higher expectation of uniqueness and quality.
Find your Market
Finding your market is another route you can take. If you have a beautiful portfolio of ocean scenes, your best market will be in areas where there is an ocean. You can still sell this work elsewhere but it will be much harder. Many buyers (not collectors) of art and photography are attempting to match their decor. If you are in an area of southwestern architecture and interior design, you will have the best luck with images of the southwest. Again, research is imperative here. Talk to other artists, visit the gallery/art festival to see what is on display and selling, and look at their websites to see what style of art dominates. You may not want to waste your time and energy on a gallery that only shows the work of dead impressionist painters.
Also know what the market can bear. If you want to sell your photos in a flea market, people are expecting certain price points that are dramatically different than they find in the high end galleries. Keep your prices consistent across the board but maybe only offer your smaller and less expensive prints at the flea market with the hopes of up-selling them to your more expensive work.
Create a Quality Product
We are our own best advocates. But making and creating positive relationships with others goes a long way. This plays true on the internet as well. Learn to get along with other artists, gallery owners, art show directors, and collectors because word of mouth is a huge part of this business. I have created great relationships with collectors who have then invited me to teach them about photography around the world. You never know who will pass your name onto others.
Our photography is the greatest representative of us. Every gallery I have the pleasure of being represented by requires flawlessness in the final displayed piece. You should require the same of yourself regardless of the venue. Don’t look at a coffee shop as a way to dispose of your damaged or substandard work but instead put your best foot forward.
Don’t Compete with Low Priced Artists
Visit any number of websites or art festivals and you will find an array of different price points. Don’t succumb to the pressure to sell your photos by lowering your prices. Instead, find a way to project value for your work. With this and experience, you can demand higher prices. But be realistic as well. Understand your expenses of capturing the images, your time and expenses in creating and getting the work ready for display, and your general business expenses. Don’t just price the work based on how much it cost to print. There is so much more that you have invested in each and every image. Plus, the more competitively we as photographers price our work in relation to painters and other artists, the more value people will put on photography.
Learn to Sell
Get your work out there and learn to sell it. Buyers love stories. They want to know what inspired you and they want to know how their life will be enriched by the purchase of your artwork. I believe 50% of most fine art sales is attributed to the connection the buyer had with the artist and the other 50% is the connection the buyer had with the artwork.
If you are getting started in trying to sell your photos then good luck. And for those of you who have been doing this for few years, please feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.