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Author Topic: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?  (Read 935 times)

donnieclark

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Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« on: May 19, 2017, 03:08:41 AM »

Hello,

Has anyone here sold their pictures? If so, how? I've often had friends tell me I should sell my pictures - some just assumed I already did. Is it even realistic for a hobbyist to make money of their photos? Would I have a real shot at selling something if I built a portfolio?

I think my pictures are reasonably good compared to other pro photos - but for every good picture I can take of something like the Eiffel Tower - there's 100 other equally good pictures of it out there. It seems like the path of entry is to do stock photos - but how much money can one really make on those? I've been on 500px - got about 14k view - but never one sale. Not sure if that's typical.

Thoughts?
Thanks in advance.
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Stephen Girimont

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 08:06:23 AM »

Alain Briot's "Marketing Fine Art Photography"

Alain Briot's "How Photographs are Sold"

And the answer to your question is yes. Many here sell their images (myself included).

Are you looking to sell your images as stock or as prints? I, personally, can't recommend stock, and unless you already have a reputation, the only way to sell prints is by physically getting them in front of potential buyers. I highly suggest reading the two books linked to above.

Otto Phocus

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 08:22:38 AM »

I have given some of my photographs away to good organizations, but never sold one. To be brutally honest, I don't think anyone would pay any appreciable money for my photographs, but that's OK as I shoot only for myself.

Maybe I should start selling my photographs to myself.  But then I fear I might have a jerk for a client  ;D  He is such a cheap bastage.  ;)
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 08:59:26 AM »

Has anyone here sold their pictures?... Is it even realistic for a hobbyist to make money of their photos? ...

Selling is one thing, making money is a completely different one. In other words, you can sell a picture or two (or even a dozen) and still end up losing money. Depending, of course, how much money you invest in selling efforts, and how much effort you invest in selling.

MattBurt

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2017, 12:15:26 PM »

I sell some but I can't quit my day job yet. It pays for my photo and outdoors gear and an interesting trip every now and then which helps a lot.

My sales are some landscape prints (usually just 1-3 a month), a few annual events (bike and ski races, concerts, community events), and commissions for real estate and portraits. Specific stock (not with an agency but direct to publications, usually tourism-based) has also been a money maker but demand seems very inconsistent.

I shot only for myself until the frame shop I use wanted some images to hang in their gallery and they sold. It's been slowly growing from there for about 10 years but I still need a more reliable and plentiful income to live on from my other job.
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nirpat89

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 01:07:17 PM »

Hello,

Has anyone here sold their pictures? If so, how? I've often had friends tell me I should sell my pictures - some just assumed I already did. Is it even realistic for a hobbyist to make money of their photos? Would I have a real shot at selling something if I built a portfolio?

Do you print your images?  It would be a good idea to enter local competitions and shows so you start being visible to potential buyers.  Most people would buy something if they relate to it somehow (could be that particular picture of Eiffel Tower of yours even though there are thousands others of the same subject.)  The problem with sites like 500px that most people who frequent those are photographers like yourself.  How many photos have you bought of others?  So you have to target non-photographers.

How about submitting for a solo show in a gallery or arts center or just the neighborhood cafe.  I have sold several of my pieces in solo and group shows, a lot of them to friends and people I know, but still quite a few to people I have never met.  None of that paid enough that can be remotely called making a living.  But they did pay for some of the materials costs.  Not to mention the satisfaction of making something that someone liked enough to pay money.  It's a good ego boost!

Overall though, I approach this as first and foremost being interested in creating the photographs and sharing those with others who might appreciate - not for the strict purpose of selling.  That way I am pleasantly surprised when a sale does occur.  I am not willing to change my photography so I can make more sales (as in stock photography, though I am sure that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do if you enjoy taking loads of generic pictures and are primarily living off your photography.) 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 06:56:33 PM by nirpat89 »
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Mjollnir

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 01:12:30 PM »

Yes, I have, but they're usually from unsolicited inquiries or gallery showings.  And this isn't my straight gig.
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aboudd

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2017, 06:36:27 PM »

Assignment photography (architectural) is my main source of income, but I have sold quite a few prints in the past few years. The first sales were to friends, then a client bought a number of images of Washington, D.C. for an installation in a residential building. Since my book came out last year I have sold a few more. Now, that I wrote all of that, I would say selling prints depends on your expectations.

First, is your work strong, would someone want to buy it? Flattery from friends is nice, greenbacks are better.

Second, you can't sell your prints if you are shy about it. Be willing to talk about your work when someone expresses an interest - and for God's sake do NOT show images on a phone or small tablet. Make an impression with the biggest image you can. I would recommend picking 6 of your strongest images and printing 13X19 samples to show. It isn't a large print for a wall, but held in hand as a sample it is quite impressive. 

Third - The biggest problem for those new to selling prints is pricing. "How do I put a value on my work?" The short answer is, you can't, the market place does, but you have to start somewhere. If you do build a good reputation, pricing will be easier. In one of the previous replies I think someone said you have to make money. That is true. A lot of this depends on where you are trying to sell, the demographics of the area (income, etc). The same print in one market may only get $200 and in another market $2,000. So, if you live in a middle-income market, you are going to most likely sell on the lower end, which means you have to produce your prints at a modest price. If you are not printing yourself, use a company like Adoramapix. You can make a 12X18 print for about ten bucks. On the high end, a lab like Bay Photo will make fine art prints in that size for $47.00. Assuming, when starting out, you want to mark the print up 4X (don't forget you have the cost of your gear and time to compensate for) the Adoramapix print can sell for $40 and the high end fine art print $188. Again, what your market will bear is very important. 

Manyf people advocate the use of social media to market. I can tell you that with 2 web sites, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (since dropped), I saw very little return. There is the distinct possibility that I am not doing social media properly, after all, I am a geezer in this business. Most of my sales now come by word of mouth.  I hope this helps.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 06:35:06 AM by aboudd »
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Thomas J Conway

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2017, 02:07:28 PM »

Let me echo the idea of having solo exhibits. Many of my sales have come this way; people attend the opening, like what they see and contact you later; others buy on the spot. In addition to galleries think of other public spaces such as airports, bank or hospital lobbies, or libraries. Each of these will have specific guidelines, so keep trying. Lastly, I take large samples to interior designers; they often deal with affluent clients, and can mark up your work; that is OK with me!
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skierd

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2017, 04:50:09 PM »

Alain Briot's "Marketing Fine Art Photography"

Alain Briot's "How Photographs are Sold"

And the answer to your question is yes. Many here sell their images (myself included).

Are you looking to sell your images as stock or as prints? I, personally, can't recommend stock, and unless you already have a reputation, the only way to sell prints is by physically getting them in front of potential buyers. I highly suggest reading the two books linked to above.

These are going in my Amazon cart for my birthday for sure.  I've been fortunate enough to sell some work to a few friends over the past couple years, but I'm still in the beginning phases myself and want to take it further. 

Part of it for sure is a mindset change.  Going from "I'm just a person with a camera who enjoys this as a hobby" to "I'm trying to a make a living, or at least part of one, as an artist/professional" can be a pretty big mental leap.  At least it has been for me.
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tim wolcott

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2017, 01:03:51 AM »

Yes made my living this way since I was 17.  But I'm the rarity in the fine art gallery world.  Its not easy.  But for 34 years I have done this.  First all Black and white then color starting in 1991.  I would never ever sell a cibachrome, so thats why I waited until we could invent the pigment prints in 1991.  Tim
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HywelPhillips

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2017, 04:38:19 AM »

We've just started selling physical prints.

It's not gone great so far- we've made on loss on the couple of shows we've been to. But we've learned a great deal, we're improving our product and our presentation as a result, and the other craftspeople on stalls have been friendly and very helpful.

We're getting prints into local shops now, we've got a gallery show booked, we're running a single-artist event at the most expensive local hotel, figuring out other shows to go to, and generally trying to get up the learning curve.

The main problem we have so far is finding our target audience when they are in the right frame of mind to spend money on landscape photos. The reaction to our work has been super- lots of people have said very nice things. But thus far they are treated our stall like a library or art gallery. Browsing, enjoying, talking to us, saying the work is beautiful, asking questions... just not buying.

We have got grounds for optimism, but it looks like it is going to be a longer haul than we'd anticipated.

So from another beginner at this, I'd say the main thing is to start, and start getting up the learning curve.

Cheers, Hywel Phillips

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Jcradford

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2017, 09:59:20 AM »

What's right for you is hard to answer.  Your call, your life.  In my youth and now retirement I've sold pictures from coffee shop and restaurant walls to my website.  It helps to market, build your brand, and include word of mouth and local engagement.  And explore and fine tune a niche / style.  I don't get much from 500px, which I tend to use more to confirm peer interest and relative comparisons, not sales.


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john beardsworth

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2017, 10:48:53 AM »

FYI, the OP was a spammer and most of its posts were removed.
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kikashi

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2017, 02:37:34 PM »

FYI, the OP was a spammer and most of its posts were removed.

Things have come to a pretty pass when a spammer's post can lead to a more interesting and informative discussion than many others...

Jeremy
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john beardsworth

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Re: Has anyone here sold any of their pictures?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2017, 03:29:33 PM »

Most of the OP's other 10 posts were obviously illegitimate though. Spammers can be smart, and maybe this question was a cut and paste from another photo site? I certainly don't blame anyone for responding - or for wanting to continue the discussion anyway.
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