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Author Topic: Who do you sell your canvas prints to?  (Read 6580 times)
KenBabcock
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« on: February 08, 2010, 12:58:00 PM »
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I'm a little curious where and to who others are selling their canvas prints.

I realize many photographers are on here and probably sell most of their prints through their photography - shooting weddings etc...  But who else are buying your prints and how are you advertising?  Although I have shot a few weddings, I'm not a photographer... well, not full time anyway.  Photography is more of a hobby to me.  However, I'm really getting into the enjoyment of printing, especially on canvas.  I've been a traditional oil painting artist for many years and canvas is just something that gets me excited.  I'm really loving the whole canvas printing thing I've got going, I just don't do enough of it.

Where I live photographers have been having it rough lately.  With kijiji.ca being so popular here in Ontario nowadays, everyone who buys a Rebel thinks they're a photographer and then posts a free ad on kijiji advertising wedding photography for $400 - $500.  They're popping up like crazy for only a few hundred bucks.  I realize they and their Rebel XT cameras are in a different class than most on here and they can't command $2000 like some photographers on this site, but it seems as though the brides and grooms don't know enough about photography to distinguish the difference.  Weddings cost enough as it is, so when a couple sees the opportunity to save $1000+ on photography, well, you know who they call.  This closes the door on the possible future canvas sales to these clients.  Affordable Canon Rebels, kijiji, and people who think they're suddenly photographers with their $700 camera are really hurting this areas photographers.

So other than selling directly to clients through your photography business, who else are buying your prints?
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bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 07:22:06 PM »
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I'm selling lots of very large, framed canvases to local people who like my dramatic renditions of local landscapes.

Houses, boardrooms, reception rooms, hotels, those are my venues.  Sort of the Andrew Collett model, except even more locally focused.  Right now I couldn't sell a picture of a dazzling dragonfly or a stunning generic sunset or even Antelope Canyon Lightrays ™  to save my life.  But I'm up to almost 200 mural-sized landscapes since mid October when I started on that path, and have more than met my blue-sky goal of 1 per day.  I'm sticking to that single model and meticulously building a name for myself around it, and it's working!  Of course I'm working like a dog, 12+ hours every day, please take note.

But forget the weddings, that's as outa-here as the 450 volt strobe battery.  I'm more than happy to let the bumpkins beat their brains out on weddings etc, and will always encourage them in that direction.  And of course I happily provide free road maps to Antelope Canyon and Arches National Park to anybody in my area with a printer bigger than 13 inches or a camera larger than 8 megapixels.  
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KenBabcock
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 07:33:06 PM »
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Thanks for your thoughts on this, Bill.

I'm really curious now - can you post what you're selling?  I'd like to see some of what you're selling.

Are you doing any advertising to sell these large prints to the venues you mentioned?
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bill t.
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2010, 09:26:37 PM »
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This sort of stuff.  Local landscape, local historical interest.  The .jpgs look positively lurid here, something's wrong in color management land.  The favored size range is around 30 x 80 for the interior, 29 x 96 for the landscape.  Best selling sizes are a little smaller, but not much.  I have sold a few 40 x 120 pieces recently.

Anybody who lives around here recognizes the landscape, or has heard about the interior which appears in a lot of recent movies.  Don't think for a second those frames will work wherever you are, but they are OK for a lot of the houses in the Southwest.  I have slightly more generic and modern frames for offices and institutional buyers.  But I don't do the stultified thin-black-frame thing at all.

Best advertising is by far contacts made from being in local art fairs.  If there is an upscale art fair near you, make sure you get in.  Also I get lots of sales from displaying in community centers, restaurants, and galleries...in about that order of success.  Also got the interior shot into a museum show that's up now, that resulted in several sales in the last week.  I sold a few at the opening, then a few more when I gave an "artist's talk" a week later.  Also get sales from people seeing my work at my customers' locations, that's starting to reach critical mass now, yoohoo!

Media ads are essentially worthless, spend you money on making product.  I've gotten a few interviews in local newspapers and art rags, for which I egregiously leveraged my former day job.  Those interviews impressed other artists, but barely make a dent on public consciousness of my work.  Bottom line...publicity and advertising take a back seat to having stuff on view in crowded public venues, that's where the action is.  Bottom line #2...your images will sell a lot faster if you are around to pitch them.  Artists can sell their work in person at about 4X the rate of a gallery salesperson.  Never fail to attend an opening or any kind of public event where your art is present.

[attachment=20138:Tondreau...yrighted.jpg]
[attachment=20137:Tondreau...yrighted.jpg]
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KenBabcock
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2010, 09:55:50 PM »
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Excellent shots, Bill.  The stitching is seamless - very nicely done!

I know what you mean about being able to show your work off in public.  The little I've displayed has sold much better than any advertisements have.  I agree to spend money on the prints instead of advertising.  I learned that lesson already.

You mentioned in my other thread that you know where to get Fredrix 901 for $100.  Care to share?  I've had to order more Canon canvas for now to fulfill orders, but I'd like to try Fredrix.

Thanks.
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bill t.
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2010, 10:16:55 PM »
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When you order a few rolls at a time Shades of Paper has very good prices on Fredrix 777 and I would assume also 901.  Don't know if Fredrix is better than Canon, which I never have tried but probably should.  Main reason I use Fredrix 777 is because it has relatively subtle texture which lets my high reso panos print sharp.

What is the weave like on the Canon canvas?
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k_p98
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2010, 10:35:21 PM »
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What is the weave like on the Canon canvas?
[/quote]

The Canon canvas is defiantely a very coarse weave, but I do personally like it.  You just can't beat the price of $75 for a 24inch 40 foot roll.  It is definitely true that you need a very fine texture for higher resolution.  I was running some tests and I would say printing at 150dpi is really all that is necessary for the Canon canvas.  I cannot see any detail to be gained in my 200dpi test and certainly no point in going higher.
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KenBabcock
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2010, 11:13:20 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
When you order a few rolls at a time Shades of Paper has very good prices on Fredrix 777 and I would assume also 901.  Don't know if Fredrix is better than Canon, which I never have tried but probably should.  Main reason I use Fredrix 777 is because it has relatively subtle texture which lets my high reso panos print sharp.

What is the weave like on the Canon canvas?

It is pretty rough.  I'm attaching a quick photo I just snapped to show you the texture.

k_p98 is right, we can get a roll for $75 but by the time it's shipped and taxes are added on it works out to $136 for a 24" roll.  Not bad for price-wise in Canada.  Remember, we get absolutely nailed for canvas and related products here in Canada.  Shipping is 50% the cost of the canvas, plus the brokerage fees which can run another 50%-90% the canvas cost, plus the exchange rate.  Your $100 roll of canvas can end up costing us Canadians well over $200 by the time it arrives at our door.

No wonder sales aren't so great in Canada - customers balk at the price of canvas prints here.
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k_p98
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2010, 12:19:33 AM »
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Quote from: KenBabcock
k_p98 is right, we can get a roll for $75 but by the time it's shipped and taxes are added on it works out to $136 for a 24" roll.  Not bad for price-wise in Canada.  Remember, we get absolutely nailed for canvas and related products here in Canada.  Shipping is 50% the cost of the canvas, plus the brokerage fees which can run another 50%-90% the canvas cost, plus the exchange rate.  Your $100 roll of canvas can end up costing us Canadians well over $200 by the time it arrives at our door.

No wonder sales aren't so great in Canada - customers balk at the price of canvas prints here.

I actually got my canvas when I got my ipf6100 which I picked up in the US so I didn't have to get into shipping and stuff.  But for my next order from Atlex.com, I'm fairly certain I will get it shipped to this great post office in Buffalo where they setup a PO Box as a suite and accept any packages on your behalf.  The shipping is free from the company for order over $100, and you will just pay taxes when you cross the border.  The rental of the PO Box is very cheap if you do like 3 or 6 month rental.  And of course your gas across the border is maybe $20.  But it will certainly end up I believe to still be a much cheaper option.  Now if the company can just ship USPS ground or something that won't incure the heave brokerage fees then I might go for that.  I guess I'll find out when I need more Canvas!
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bill t.
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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 01:11:15 AM »
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As recently as a year ago Dura was making one of the best inkjet canvases around in Montreal.  Apparently there was some shuffling around and their name now seems to be inkAid with an address in Wattertown, NY.  But maybe the plant is still in Canada.  Anyway the CAN901 canvas I tried was excellent, and the QC was way above average.  Might be worth while for Canadians to track that stuff down.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 10:07:03 AM »
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Is canvas printing harder on the printer?  Dust?  Canvas debris?  Does the printer need cleaning more often?
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bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 11:08:47 AM »
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Canvas and matte art papers are a little on the dirty side.

-Don't use the built it cutter, it creates dust particles very close to the print head.  Cut the paper with an Xacto knife.  The bottom of the Epson outfeed plate makes a handy cutting guide for Xacto knifes, dueling scars on the outfeed plate is the sure sign of an experienced printer.

-Dust flakes off the edge of the media from handling and unrolling.  The paper media cover and the metal surfaces right under the roll will become very dirty and will transfer flakes to the media if it comes in contact, as when my 9880 winds the media backwards just after loading a new roll.  Wipe those surfaces down all the time.

-Make dead certain you have the right media thickness entered into your printer driver.  For Fredrix 777 it has to be 0.6mm, for Lyve it should closer to 0.7 or 0.8mm.  Anything narrower and you will get subtle head swipes over the whole print and megaclogs in to time at all.  IMHO the default thickness setting on the Epson canvas profiles is too small.

-If the roll is badly wound, check the edges of the media.  If the edges are curled under you will get head swipes there, and megaclogs.  If you must you can straighten out those edges with your fingers, but basically you should just say NO to that roll.

But other than that, I don't think canvas degrades the printer any faster than the other stuff.  The key is to make sure you don't get head swipes, and to remove accumulated dust on the paper handling surfaces before it contacts the media's printing surface or accumulates on the printing heads.  Until I got those things straightened out, I definitely thought canvas printing was inherently a pig sty operation, but I was wrong.



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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2010, 07:36:16 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Canvas and matte art papers are a little on the dirty side.

Excellent, Bill.  Thanks very much for your clear and detailed response.
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