Selling your work.. any experiences?

StefanKruse

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Hi,

So a friend of mine keeps pushing me to sell some of my work. I keep explaining that my work isnt all that good and that there is a difference in large prints that are not obvious when you only see instagram. (I have a long list of why this will never work). But then the idea has grown a bit and I am starting to think maybe, why not try, what is there to loose? whats the downside except for maybe loosing a bit of $ in the investment.

So my questions are, does anyone have experience in setting up a site using e.g. wix or squarespace? how expensive is it? how do you deal with prints? Do you have an agreement with a printshop for a fixed set of prices? How do you advertise? etc.-

Any input, experiences and recommendations would be greatly appreciated to help me make up my mind on whether to this is worth spending some time on, if not for anything that a fun little project.

Thanks,
Stefan
 

grcolts

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There are many web hosts for keeping and selling your images. I use Smugmug for my personal collections but do not directly sell on that site. Many people use FineArtAmerica, Etsy, etc. for selling images. Smugmug has a great selling feature too if you are willing to pay a higher price for it. Check around on the internet and read reviews from people using a service to get a feel for whether is may be worth it or not.
GQR
 

ex machina

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You might consider getting your feet wet with local art fairs or exhibits. This would be a smaller initial investment, would allow time for figuring out pricing (through experimentation) and get you used to making prints, which is remarkably different from creating images for display on screens. I've ended up relying on bayphoto.com for all my processing/shipping needs; I'm sure there's something similar closer to home for you, but you might have to go through a couple vendors to find one you like.

Then, if it all takes off, consider an online presence.

I've been lazy and have never updated my one-page site that's essentially a way for folks to contact me if they want to buy a print they've seen in one of my shows -- I've had purchases from folks who saw my print as long as a year prior to contacting me. I also have sold a few prints from people browsing my Flickr account after seeing my prints in a show, or people simply coming across them organically.

Maybe someday I'll quit being lazy and do a real site.
 

StefanKruse

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There are many web hosts for keeping and selling your images. I use Smugmug for my personal collections but do not directly sell on that site. Many people use FineArtAmerica, Etsy, etc. for selling images. Smugmug has a great selling feature too if you are willing to pay a higher price for it. Check around on the internet and read reviews from people using a service to get a feel for whether is may be worth it or not.
GQR
Thanks - had a look at FineArtAmerica (did not know them). Excellent site for research and definitely an option that makes it easy and allows for potentially much more exposure that creating your own page. Competition is however also fierce and you lose the ability to create something a bit more personal and risk that your images get lost among their many offerings.
 

StefanKruse

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Stefan
You might consider getting your feet wet with local art fairs or exhibits. This would be a smaller initial investment, would allow time for figuring out pricing (through experimentation) and get you used to making prints, which is remarkably different from creating images for display on screens. I've ended up relying on bayphoto.com for all my processing/shipping needs; I'm sure there's something similar closer to home for you, but you might have to go through a couple vendors to find one you like.

Then, if it all takes off, consider an online presence.

I've been lazy and have never updated my one-page site that's essentially a way for folks to contact me if they want to buy a print they've seen in one of my shows -- I've had purchases from folks who saw my print as long as a year prior to contacting me. I also have sold a few prints from people browsing my Flickr account after seeing my prints in a show, or people simply coming across them organically.

Maybe someday I'll quit being lazy and do a real site.
Thanks-

My friend who is pushing me to do this is selling paintings herself and has been using local business like cafe's, dentist's etc. to display her stuff, that has been quite succesful for her and that may be a good option.

I guess the biggest investment up front is "testing" how the photos do on print in different sizes and materials. I like aluminium print and have a few myself which works for the kind of photos I would sell, but I would need to test them on paper as well to see if they hold up. That might be the biggest monetary investment as setting up e.g. a squarespace site seems a small investment in comparison except for the time I would need to invest. The stuff I have in mind for selling is not technically very good i.e. a lot of it is low-light and struggles with both noise and sharpness, but printed on aluminium it works and the idea is not to sell stuff which excels in sharpness but the stuff I like is more playing with contrast and mood and works well on aluminium.

In all honesty I am a bit lazy as well, which is never a good ting in terms of setting up a business, but then again I see this more as a project that could be fun to do, as opposed to a real business venture.
 

grcolts

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Setting up for art shows is very time consuming and costly. Images have to be printed in advance, and you have to try and second guess if it is something of interest to the visitor. Something I am not very good at...I always ask someone else what they would purchase and it is always different than what I thought would sale. Go figure. LOL. Shows are fun to do as you get to meet lots of people. When I used to do shows I would do poorly at some and great at others. Again, I could never predict which show was going to be a success for me. I can say though, that outdoor art shows were always better than indoor shows. Of course, with outdoor shows one is at the whim of the weather. If you are up to the challenge I say try a single show and see how it goes. It may or may not be for you.
 

ex machina

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When I used to do shows I would do poorly at some and great at others. Again, I could never predict which show was going to be a success for me.

Ha, ha, I have had the same experience. I mean I've always had some images that were clearly very popular and consistently sold at every show, but among the remainder were some that would seemingly interest few at one show but sell out at the next, while those outside of the consistently popular set that sold well previously were this time ignored, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯...
 
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Macroramphosis

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In my very limited experience, it is the shots you have that no one else has that sell. Generic does not do well, spontaneous captures do, as do unique. Content is king, and if no one else has your content then you in with a shout,

That's from vague memories of the 80's and 90's when I did make a decent half-living from photography. I have not tried to do anything much than sell the odd industry photo since then :)
 
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Replytoken

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This question come up from time to time and I do not mean to sound pessimistic, but it is not that hard to "build it" (i.e. a place on the web to sell your images), but will they come? Are you planning to do anything to help sell the images? Are you willing to engage in social media to drum up business? We, as a society, are awash in images each day, so what is your tack to try and get attention and sell an image? Personally, it is not the investment of the start-up that I would worry about losing, it is the potential "time suck" of trying to make it work that I would regret as my time is quite valuable to me. So, I guess I would decide how much time, energy and money I would want to commit, as well as set out my expectations before heading down this path. If you are able to carve out a niche, then you could have a good go at it.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
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