Selling your photographs as prints for someone’s wall is both a gratifying experience and a useful revenue stream, but it’s not easy to do. So, why is it so difficult to sell prints?
From the first time I printed my work I knew I needed to get good at it. By that, I actually mean good at preparing the files for a professional printers to turn into something I can hang on my wall. My first effort — which coincidentally I discussed recently — was awful; the exposure was wrong, the colors were wrong, the contrast was wrong, and what I’d decided to print it on was terrible too. Over the years I’ve honed each one of these necessary preparations and I’ve got a brilliant printing company that I trust. However, I very rarely sell them. Usually, my prints are for me, gifts, or for my clients as part of a job (or another form of a gift.) I do sell one-off prints to private clients as art rather than photo prints and I’m not sure that’s particularly relevant here.
You see, selling prints of your photographs is difficult. There are so many fences to hurdle before you make regular sales, I honestly wonder how those photographers who are tremendously successful at it, manage it. On the photography side, you need to create beautiful images — average won’t cut it, and they have to work as printed files, which not all photographs do. Then you have to find a market that has similar tastes to you. Then you have to cut through the ocean of noise that is all the other photographers selling prints and not only be seen, but build a formidable reputation and client base.
In this video, Evan Ranft goes through what he sees as the key reason most photographers can’t sell their prints, and in my limited experience in the area, he’s perfectly on point.
Do you sell your prints? How did you succeed in that area? Share your thoughts in the comments below.