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Author Topic: Selling Landscapes  (Read 12502 times)

trevarthan

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Selling Landscapes
« on: July 21, 2014, 01:53:37 pm »

I assume some of you must be making money shooting landscapes. Indeed, some of you may do it full time for a living. The general opinion seems to be that making money shooting landscapes is too hard or impossible today, due to market saturation.

How do you do it? Where do you sell your work? Do you see it as sustainable?
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louoates

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 04:28:04 pm »

In my case there are three keys to selling my landscapes. First is to have really good prints in the popular sizes. Second is to have plenty of local interest (mine is Southwest locations in general, Superstition Mountain Arizona area in particular). Third is to have a gallery/outlet with exceptionally good traffic that will display at least 25 -50 of your scenes. In the last full season my best outlet sold around 550 framed prints and canvasses in a mix of sizes from 8x10 to 24x84.
I'd have to say that, of the three necessities, LOCAL content is the most important. But lack of the other two will degrade total sales considerably.
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Mike Sellers

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 06:42:04 pm »

Hi,
Is that location where you sold 550 prints in Phoenix? I used to live in Sedona and it is an excellent location for galleries but at a price!
Mike
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louoates

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 09:44:26 pm »

Mike, that outlet I cited is one of several hundred vendors in Mesa Market. The location at one time was an open-air venue (flea market style) with folks selling stuff from their car trunks. It has morphed into roofed buildings and concrete floors and can have tens of thousands of people going through it every day. My outlet is a high-volume framer with a nearby factory that mats and frames art and photo prints and sells directly to the public. A retail price point example: 24 x 30 Epson print with triple mats, glass, and wide, wood-like moulding, for $195.
If you have anyplace like Mesa Market Place near you, it may pay you to take a look. http://www.yelp.com/biz/mesa-market-place-swap-meet-mesa

This is definitely not like the galleries in Sedona! This is closer to being in an ant hill. It's not an "artsy" crowd, but an amazingly high income group for the plain-Jane trappings. What sells here, art-wise, is LOCAL scenics.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 09:48:59 pm by louoates »
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Mike Sellers

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014, 07:50:07 am »

Wow this looks like a nice deal! The problem with a regular gallery location is the amount of time one would have to spend running it which would take away from being able to go out and do photography. If I understand this correctly you don`t need to be there at all and someone else does the framing? If you don`t mind saying what percent of the selling price is profit?
Mike
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louoates

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2014, 09:37:58 am »

I set my print prices to them at 2 to 5 times my printing (Epson 9900) and other costs. For this type of outlet volume trumps higher markups every time.
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luxborealis

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2014, 10:07:23 am »

A retail price point example: 24 x 30 Epson print with triple mats, glass, and wide, wood-like moulding, for $195.


OMG that's inexpensive. Around here (southern Ontario) it would be at least that cost just for the triple matting and framing alone. If you're making good money from those prices, that's great!
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trevarthan

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 10:18:49 am »

What print size and type do you sell the most? Any canvas prints?
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louoates

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 12:11:25 pm »

OMG that's inexpensive. Around here (southern Ontario) it would be at least that cost just for the triple matting and framing alone. If you're making good money from those prices, that's great!
When I first saw the pictures they were selling at Mesa Market my first thought was that I could pay them the full retail price, tear out the art, and slap my own images into it--and still be paying less than 1/2 the price that any other local framer would charge. That led to asking if they (the owners) had any requests for local scenes, which they had lots of. I ended up supplying them dozens of local scenes and dozens of other Southwest scenes.
It's amazing how low those supplies cost when buying in large volumes. They can produce several hundred matted and framed pieces per week.

Sizes range from 8x10 paper prints to 24x84 canvas prints. The most popular large canvas (mountain scene) is 18x62 and sells, on average, every 4 to 6 days during the winter season.

This arrangement also channels many special size orders direct to me with my higher profit margins. In most cases the outlet ends up with the custom framing job.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 12:19:38 pm by louoates »
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LesPalenik

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2014, 06:06:18 am »

OMG that's inexpensive. Around here (southern Ontario) it would be at least that cost just for the triple matting and framing alone. If you're making good money from those prices, that's great!

In Canada, you get hit with a double whammy. Not only the manufacturing costs are higher, but also the discretional spending is lower.

joneil

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2014, 09:38:09 am »

In Canada, you get hit with a double whammy. Not only the manufacturing costs are higher, but also the discretional spending is lower.

  An artist friend of mine here in SW Ontario who makes a living selling prints of his artwork found the only real way to handle this situation was to both make his own prints and do his own matting and framing.   I forget what epson printer model he has, but it is litterally bigger than the stove in his kitchen.  :)   Also, the workshop he has for matting and framing would put most framing stores to shame.

   But the downside is the large amount of money and space and time he has invested in computers, software, inks & maintainence for his printer, supplies for his framing, etc, etc.  It is just incredible.  From a strickly business point of view, I would estimate that the costs of his actual art supplies -  paints (oil and water), his brushes, canvases, etc, etc, is less than 20% of his whole overall business overhead.  If anyone is thinking of going the route, bear that in mind.
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luxborealis

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2014, 09:14:05 pm »

Printing and matting I do as a matter of course just to ensure my photographs are properly "contained" for shipping and for framing. Framing I don't do unless a client specifically asks me to as making frames is a pain for someone like me whose carpentry skills leave much to be desired!
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Griffin86

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 05:27:30 pm »

I have an Canon ipf8400 that I use to print on canvas. I make my own stretcher bars (cut and router them), most common size is 1.5". The cost of canvas per print is $15, wood is $5 and it takes me an hour to make them. They  sell for $200 for a ~18x27".

I would like to get into framing and matting though. In my dream I would like to buy a Chromira printer so i can print on Fujiflex, eventually making Peter Lik style prints.

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JayWPage

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2014, 01:40:04 am »

In Canada, you get hit with a double whammy. Not only the manufacturing costs are higher, but also the discretional spending is lower.

There is also, at least in rural Western Canada, little recognition that photography is an art form.
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JoeKitchen

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2014, 07:43:38 am »

Why not try shooting landscapes for those that need landscape images for their marketing? 

Country clubs would need great images of their golf courses.  Ski resorts need images of their slopes.  Resorts need images of their lands. 
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Mike Sellers

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2014, 07:50:39 am »

Speaking of the Cromira This spring I missed out on a government surplus auction for a Cromira that sold for about $2,500! I would have bid on it had I known in time.
Mike
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MoreOrLess

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2014, 12:15:51 am »

In my case there are three keys to selling my landscapes. First is to have really good prints in the popular sizes. Second is to have plenty of local interest (mine is Southwest locations in general, Superstition Mountain Arizona area in particular). Third is to have a gallery/outlet with exceptionally good traffic that will display at least 25 -50 of your scenes. In the last full season my best outlet sold around 550 framed prints and canvasses in a mix of sizes from 8x10 to 24x84.
I'd have to say that, of the three necessities, LOCAL content is the most important. But lack of the other two will degrade total sales considerably.

I'v been just starting to try and get into this market over the last few months(after doing it more casually previously) and so far I'd agree with this.

I guess the natural assumption many have(certainly what I had) is that most interest would be in amazing exotic locations but as you say its local interest that's really sold with probably 70% very local and 95% regional with the 5% more exotic generally being not obviously "of" a location. Actually a very positive surprise for me since it means that the cost of getting to locations is minimal and I can be out shooting whenever the weather is agreeable(to good photography).

I spose the kind of sales depend a lot on the kind of outlet, I'v got a bit or work in some small shops and a local hotel(none of which really idea for sales) but my main sales are though a quite well attended farm/craft market every Saturday within a few mins of my house. In that outlet I'v found the real business isn't actually framed prints but mounted ones backed with card and wrapped in plastic, transport is a big issue here as most people at the market won't want to carry a big frame around with them.

Getting really good locations beyond this has been the main sticking point in expanding things further. I'v found pretty much all markets/shows that might do good business near me happen on a Saturday so not an option as my present market needs both weekly attendance and benefits a lot from it(a lot of sales come from customers making 2-3 visits). The area I live in is actually quite an active art market but its had the upshot that rented gallery space is generally prohibitively expensive, 40-45% commission is common. Sadly I'v found that in artist co-ops that seemed like they might be the answer(spreading rental costs and manning) photographers especially seem VERY adverse to competition, two well known local ones I'v applied to so far(who both had multiple members selling similar arts/crafts to each other) and were generally positive about my work ended up refusing me based on an existing photographer member not wanting any competition.
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JayWPage

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2014, 01:41:06 am »

I think if you want to focus on selling prints then you have to cater to the market in every possible way, and probably also spend much of your time marketing your work.

If you want to spend your time exploring your creativity and producing prints as an artist, then you should be happy if someone else connects or finds inspiration in your work and buys something.

Although not exclusive, the two often don't coincide for most of us.
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bretedge

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2014, 10:38:01 am »

There is plenty of money to be made as a landscape photographer and the more you diversify your business to include multiple revenue streams, the better you'll do.  We own a gallery in Moab where we sell a couple hundred prints each year.  Some are just small matted prints at a low cost and others are large, ready to hang prints, and everything in between.  I also market my work for stock which is just another revenue stream coming from landscapes.  This income is hardly enough to sustain a business but when it is added on to other income sources it's a nice supplement. 

I've heard lots of people say that you can't make a living as a landscape photographer.  Bull! You can, but you need to be a good businessperson as well as a talented photographer.  There's a lot more to it than this but the short answer to your question is: YES, you can make money selling landscapes.   

Mike Sellers

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Re: Selling Landscapes
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2014, 09:21:59 am »

Hi Bret,
I see from your blog that you use a Canon 5DIII. Is there a reason that you are not using medium format digital?
Mike
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