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Author Topic: selling photographs online  (Read 6449 times)
KauMikel
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« on: September 23, 2007, 11:26:53 AM »
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Aloha
I have been getting requests of where to purchase my photographs.This is a new area for me and I am not sure where to start,except here.So please lend your considerable expertiese and knowledge on this matter.
                                                              e malama photography
                                                                              mikel
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feppe
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2007, 11:32:46 AM »
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Smugmug and ExposureManager (that's the one I use) seem to be the most popular and easiest to set up.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2007, 09:07:53 PM »
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Do you print your own work?   If yes simply have your customers send you payment then ship them the prints they want.

You can have them mail you a check or you can have them pay through Paypal or Google checkout.
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
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« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2007, 09:43:13 PM »
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Do you print your own work?   If yes simply have your customers send you payment then ship them the prints they want.

You can have them mail you a check or you can have them pay through Paypal or Google checkout.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141488\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This approach has worked well for me over the last 12 months using Live-books.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2007, 05:35:29 PM »
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I am assuming you have your own website, which is the simplest approach if you print your own work.  If you don't print then you can use any of the online printing/ordering services such as snapfish, Smugmug, etc.  

Do keep in mind that not printing your own work seriously diminishes the value of your prints, i.e. you cannot ask the same prices as if you were doing your own printing.  

For one thing, you cannot sign the prints since they are sent directly from the "lab" to your customers.

For two, you are not the creator of the print, only the creator of the raw file (or neg/transparency) and of the master file.  While some believe that printing is only a matter of pressing "enter" there is actually a whole lot more to it than that.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 05:38:21 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
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Don Libby
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2007, 05:53:26 PM »
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Iíve used Smugmug for a little over a year now.  I offer clients the option in most of the galleries to purchase the print and have Smugmug print and ship.  However, I have one gallery set up specifically where only I can do the printing and shipping directly to the customer (Panoramas).  Iíve been pleased with this arrangement so far.

Don
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alainbriot
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2007, 11:47:28 PM »
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Iíve used Smugmug for a little over a year now.  I offer clients the option in most of the galleries to purchase the print and have Smugmug print and ship.  However, I have one gallery set up specifically where only I can do the printing and shipping directly to the customer (Panoramas).  Iíve been pleased with this arrangement so far.
Don
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141653\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's a good alternative :-)
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
sojournerphoto
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2007, 09:24:29 AM »
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That's a good alternative :-)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141699\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Alain,

I've been considering using an online service to provide relatively inexpensive 'open editions' of work, but to offer signed (and possibly limited) editions printed by myself. I enjoy the print process and being in control of what I create, but equally am aware that there is a market for lower value prints. My concern is in not diluting the value of work, and perhap an alternative would be to offer some work only in artist printed editions and other work as open externally printed editions.

I would be interested in hearing your views on this.

(sorry about the thread hijack!)

Regards

Mike
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AndyF2
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2007, 11:27:15 AM »
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Iíve used Smugmug for a little over a year now.  I offer clients the option in most of the galleries to purchase the print and have Smugmug print and ship. 

Don
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141653\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Do you get a percentage or some payment for each print someone orders from Smugmug?  I had a brief look through Smugmug, and didn't see artist fees mentioned.
Andy
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alainbriot
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2007, 01:52:54 PM »
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Alain,

I've been considering using an online service to provide relatively inexpensive 'open editions' of work, but to offer signed (and possibly limited) editions printed by myself. I enjoy the print process and being in control of what I create, but equally am aware that there is a market for lower value prints. My concern is in not diluting the value of work, and perhap an alternative would be to offer some work only in artist printed editions and other work as open externally printed editions.
Mike
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141746\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Mike,

My approach is to sell fine art prints through my site, through galleries, at shows and through studio visits.  I do very well with this approach and it meets the needs of my audience who wants original, signed prints of the finest quality.

You are correct in saying that there is an audience for lower priced prints of lesser quality.  Personally, I do not offer these because I do not want to print my work at less than the finest quality I can create.  In other words, I made a decision to offer the finest quality work, period.  I only offer my original prints in one quality: the finest quality I can produce at the time I make each individual print.  

What I do, besides my fine art prints,  is offer posters that are printed on printing presses and not signed.  These are essentially sold in the National Parks such as Grand Canyon.  This meets the needs of the Park's audience who are looking for something unexpensive to bring back as a souvenir.  I sell thousands of these, but I do not do the printing or the shipping.  I sell wholesale to the parks who take care of the retail sales.

Let me know if this answers your question.

Alain
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 01:56:42 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Don Libby
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2007, 03:37:33 PM »
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Do you get a percentage or some payment for each print someone orders from Smugmug?† I had a brief look through Smugmug, and didn't see artist fees mentioned.
Andy
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141767\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Andy - I think you have to have a "Pro" account before you can see the fees.  Yes, there is a percentage basis if they do the printing and shipping.  In my case I am paid a percentage of what is sold/shipped via Summug, however in the panorama gallery where I sell directly (printing/shipping on my own) the only commission is to PayPal for the sales.

The website gets the work out there but the majority of my sales are here in the Tuscon area "face to face" thru a gallery, shows, and telephone calls.


Hope this helps

don


I'm not in Alain's league yet.....
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 03:38:53 PM by Iron Creek » Logged

feppe
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2007, 04:26:52 PM »
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Andy - I think you have to have a "Pro" account before you can see the fees.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If that's true, that's an incredibly arrogant and disrespectful approach to their customers. ExposureManager is very upfront about their fees: [a href=\"http://www.exposuremanager.com/scripts/website.pl?rm=pricing]http://www.exposuremanager.com/scripts/website.pl?rm=pricing[/url]
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 04:28:09 PM by feppe » Logged

sojournerphoto
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2007, 05:55:39 PM »
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Hi Mike,

My approach is to sell fine art prints through my site, through galleries, at shows and through studio visits.  I do very well with this approach and it meets the needs of my audience who wants original, signed prints of the finest quality.

You are correct in saying that there is an audience for lower priced prints of lesser quality.  Personally, I do not offer these because I do not want to print my work at less than the finest quality I can create.  In other words, I made a decision to offer the finest quality work, period.  I only offer my original prints in one quality: the finest quality I can produce at the time I make each individual print. 

What I do, besides my fine art prints,  is offer posters that are printed on printing presses and not signed.  These are essentially sold in the National Parks such as Grand Canyon.  This meets the needs of the Park's audience who are looking for something unexpensive to bring back as a souvenir.  I sell thousands of these, but I do not do the printing or the shipping.  I sell wholesale to the parks who take care of the retail sales.

Let me know if this answers your question.

Alain
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141791\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



Hi Alain,

Thanks. Yes your response answers my questions, both spoken and unspoken. My reaction shows me how jealous I am of maintaining control of my print quality! You seem to have found a model that places a clear distinction between the artist's print and the poster, which is not necessarily so obvious with the 'mid channel' approaches.

One question leading on from your reply - you comment that you make only the finest prints that you can produce at any one time. Am I correct in infering from this that your prints may alter over time as your vision develops and equipment progresses?

Thanks and regards

Mike
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luong
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2007, 06:17:53 PM »
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Do keep in mind that not printing your own work seriously diminishes the value of your prints, i.e. you cannot ask the same prices as if you were doing your own printing. 

For one thing, you cannot sign the prints since they are sent directly from the "lab" to your customers.

For two, you are not the creator of the print, only the creator of the raw file (or neg/transparency) and of the master file.  While some believe that printing is only a matter of pressing "enter" there is actually a whole lot more to it than that.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

For many years, I used to have prints made on the Lightjet because at that point inkjet printing had not reached an equivalent level of quality. When this changed, and I started to switch to inkjet printing, there was no change in pricing, and no change in print demand. I believe my experience is quite typical.

From a marketing point of view, I see it as somewhat like a wash: some customers might like it better that you produced the print, but some would object to the word "inkjet" and prefer a print made with traditional photographic materials.

On the other hand, it is possible that signed prints would commend higher prices, although not everybody agrees, see [a href=\"http://www.danheller.com/biz-prints.html#6]http://www.danheller.com/biz-prints.html#6[/url]. Nothing prevents you from having the lab send you the print. In fact it is exactly what I did for years.

It is a very common practice in photography to have someone else print your work, and indeed most of the best known names in photography do so without adverse effects on their careers or sales.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 06:34:26 PM by luong » Logged

alainbriot
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2007, 07:11:06 PM »
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Hi Alain,

One question leading on from your reply - you comment that you make only the finest prints that you can produce at any one time. Am I correct in infering from this that your prints may alter over time as your vision develops and equipment progresses?

Thanks and regards

Mike
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141830\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, you are correct.  As my vision and equipment changes, so do the prints.  In other words, a print purchased from me say 4 years ago, will be different from a print of the same image purchased from me today.

This is an evolving medium with the technology changing very rapidly.  Just over the past few years I went from using an Epson 9600 to a 9800 to a 9880 shortly. The print quality is getting better and better, which is great.

My vision also changes, and I do from time to time re-interpret previous images and make new prints.  Not always, but sometimes. It depends how I feel about it.  Some images are fine as they are. Others I feel I can improve on, or add something that I couldn't do or did not think about before.

It's an ongoing process, and I think the changes are for the better :-)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 10:23:00 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2007, 07:19:38 PM »
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It is a very common practice in photography to have someone else print your work, and indeed most of the best known names in photography do so without adverse effects on their careers or sales.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141836\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You are correct to some extent, however this depends on your approach. For some photographers making the print themselves is something that is very important.  For others, letting someone else make the print is OK.  

Similarly, some photographer's career is built on their search for the ultimate print.  Others are known for their vision rather than their printing. Some are known for both vision and print quality.

All this is a personal choice.  However, photographers who let someone else print their work and who desire the finest quality do work with their printer towards creating a print that matches their vision.  


Alain
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 10:26:03 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
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http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
sojournerphoto
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2007, 05:28:52 AM »
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Yes, you are correct.  As my vision and equipment changes, so do the prints.  In other words, a print purchased from me say 4 years ago, will be different from a print of the same image purchased from me today.

This is an evolving medium with the technology changing very rapidly.  Just over the past few years I went from using an Epson 9600 to a 9800 to a 9880 shortly. The print quality is getting better and better, which is great.

My vision also changes, and I do from time to time re-interpret previous images and make new prints.  Not always, but sometimes. It depends how I feel about it.  Some images are fine as they are. Others I feel I can improve on, or add something that I couldn't do or did not think about before.

It's an ongoing process, and I think the changes are for the better :-)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141845\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Thanks Alain,

That's helpful. Having the freedom to grow your vision and reinterpret images over time is refreshing in an age of uniformity in so many endeavours.

Regards

Mike.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2007, 01:23:38 PM »
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Thanks Alain,

That's helpful. Having the freedom to grow your vision and reinterpret images over time is refreshing in an age of uniformity in so many endeavours.

Regards

Mike.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141904\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Mike,

I think that one canot grow if one does the same thing over and over again.  If so one would do production, not creative work.   Creativity is by nature looking for ways to do things better, do things differently.  It is looking for ways of reaching an ideal by getting ever closer to it.  

What's interesting is that even though it seems this ideal is never quite reached, when looking back the distance covered since I started appears enormous.  Each small change, each small improvement, adds to all the other and eventually makes an enormous difference.

I see it as one of my duties to my audience to keep trying to create better images, to continue to learn and study and to continue to find new ways of reaching this ideal.  To stop doing so is to decide that one's career has come to an end.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2007, 01:31:12 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
KauMikel
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« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2007, 10:39:51 PM »
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aloha to all
mahalo for all the good advice,and it is quite interesting how the thread morphed into another related and equally informative topic.as always ,excellent and pertinant advice.
                                                             e malama photography
                                                                             mikel
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