Part of the natural progression of becoming a better photographer comes the thought of how to make money with it. Shooting portraits or weddings, entering the world of stock and submitting images to calendar or card companies are all options, but they’re highly competitive. A good way to start producing income is by selling prints of your best work. Chances are, you won’t be able to quit your day job, but when someone acknowledges your work as art, it provides motivation to continue the pursuit.
Most photographers’ first sales come from a friend or family member. Depending on your benevolence and relationship with the buyer, it may mean you provide the print at cost, but once the image is hung, it’s free advertising. If Aunt Barbara is having a holiday party and 50 people see your image in her home, it may lead to sales down the road.
Start A Sales Plan
When visiting restaurants, pubs, banks, coffee shops, etc., make a point of looking at the walls to see if they’re in need of art work. Speak with the manager, and ask if he or she would be willing to have you provide photographs to decorate their walls at no cost to them. The give-back is you would receive 100% of the profit from image sales. It means you’ll need to develop a portfolio to show the decision makers your work. It also means an investment in time and money, but the amount of traffic each location receives should pay off in the long run.
Be Your Own Toughest Critic
Display only your BEST work. Emphatically eliminate pictures that are even slightly out of focus, have distractions or lack impact. It’s better to hang five great prints than 15 average ones. Many fine-art photographers introduce only one or two new pieces each year out of their entire 12-month inventory. Think quality rather than quantity.
Many photographers host their own website and sell their work through it. If you decide to pursue this route, keep the site simple and make the ordering of prints easy for the buyer. Potential purchasers don’t want to navigate a multitude of pages to get price, size, shipping, etc., information. Start small but think big!