“How do I make money from my photography?”. This is an age-old question and challenge that most, if not all, artists face in their careers, and it’s something that requires effort and determination as well as talent. Selling prints of your work is one of the methods you can use to create a source of income from your art, and today we’ll be speaking to theprintspace to find out how:
As with creating your work, selling it is a learning process. The first step is to use and understand the process of printing before you start selling: learn what papers you like, research their different properties and see what works with your photographs and your style. For example, here at theprintspace we have 11 different paper types which are produced with two different processes, ‘C-Type’ and ‘Giclée’, and each paper emphasises certain qualities while with others, it doesn’t work. Find out what shows your work in the best light possible, before you sell it to clients.
The easiest way to begin selling your work is online. Using a platform dedicated to help creatives sell their art makes it even easier, and it’s exactly why we launched thehub in late 2014. It’s an elegantly designed piece of software that we created to support artists; we discovered, after conducting a survey with over 1000 responses, that 99.3% wanted to sell prints online when only 32.2% actually do!
When you’re ready to sell, there are a few points that you need to thoroughly consider:
Decide which images you want to sell
You might want to sell all your images, or you might not. The important thing to realise and consider here is that in any case, you will need to decide what work you want out in the world. When you sell a print, if it’s for a restaurant, a building’s lobby or even just a customer’s home, it’s going to be on show and people will be looking at it, seeing your name, and ideally passing it on! In a similar manner to creating your portfolio or website, decide what work you want to be known for.
Present your work beautifully
The presentation of your print sales is also very important. Our aim with thehub is to remove as many barriers between artist and customer as possible whilst keeping the appearance neat, tidy and visually focused on the artwork. On thehub, a “gallery” acts as a single-page store, and it has been designed with the above points in mind while having a selection of customisations available. The best thing to do is keep the phrase “Less is more” in mind.
Price your images accordingly
This is always one of the more difficult points, especially if you are just beginning. It’s important to be realistic; unless you’re an established artist known to collectors, preferably with gallery representation, you will most likely not sell your work for a high number – even in limited edition. The best way to do this is look at the work of other artists in a similar situation. See what they’re doing, and figure out what the average number is. You can then use this as a basis for your own decisions.
Don’t forget to market yourself
In our survey mentioned above, we also discovered something interesting: 47% of buyers were coming directly from social media channels, with social media traffic to artists’ print sales pages averaging at more than three times any other source. Social media is increasingly important and is almost a requirement these days for any creative to promote themselves and connect with others in the industry. If you want to sell prints, it’s essential to be regularly spreading the word and your work on your own channels.
Make it obvious
Finally, and possibly the most important point: make sure you advertise obviously and clearly that you are selling prints! Whether it’s a tab on your website or a mention on your homepage, or regular social updates, make sure you explicitly say that you are selling prints of your work. It’s surprising how many artists don’t actually tell their viewers this, or have their print sales link or page hidden in the back of their websites, and it’s a huge contributing factor to a lack of sales.
By following these suggestions, you will have a basic but strong practice to start selling your photographic prints online. As with many things, there is going to be some trial and error. But, by putting in the time and effort and with some patience, you’ll discover what works best.