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Author Topic: Should I try to sell?  (Read 3849 times)
EduPerez
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« on: January 09, 2012, 11:43:24 AM »
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I am an amateur, I enjoy taking photographs for my own pleasure; I already have a job that pays the bills, and have no intention (or expectations) of changing careers now. But well intended (and usually uninformed) relatives and friends praise some of my photographs, and insist that I should be trying to sell them.

I set this site some time ago, primarily with the intention of having a portfolio visible on-line; I also added a "buy this picture" button. And I haven't seen a single sale since then. I cannot say I'm disappointed, or even surprised at all, considering that I have done basically zero promotion of that site, and I get very few visits. But I keep wondering whether I'm loosing money not trying to sell.

So, my question to the experienced people in this forum is: should I try to sell? Do I hold any chance to make profit? Or am I being delusional?
Please, be honest, brutally honest... I would rather enjoy my time doing something else than try to polish a turd.

Many thanks.
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Bryan Conner
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 01:22:23 PM »
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I think that a lot of your images are very nice.  But, asking a photographer if photos will sell is the wrong choice.  Photographers usually do not purchase photos. 

I think that the only way to find out if anyone will purchase the images is to put the image in front of someone wanting to buy images.  So, you have to promote your site.  I have never attempted to sell fine art images, only weddings, portraits etc, so I can not offer any help on how to promote fine art/landscape portraiture efficiently. 
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Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 01:39:30 PM »
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delusional?
Please, be honest, brutally honest... I would rather enjoy my time doing something else than try to polish a turd.

Many thanks.




That's the trouble: you shouldn't worry about polishing turds! An 'artist' recently had 'art' on show that consisted of things made from elephant dung; I don't know if it was polished or not, but if it wasn't and yours is, you are already streets ahead!

But yes, I'm a photographer and I wouldn't buy photographs; I might buy paintings, but then I'd need to move to a bigger place because I've already got the present one full of stuff... much of it my own photography. My wife was a very patient lady.

Rob C
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amsp
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 02:25:59 PM »
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I'm gonna go against the grain here and give you the brutal honesty you were wise enough to ask for. Some of your photos are decent, but they look like 10.000.000 other decent photos out there taken by other amateurs, in other words they are quite generic. I'm sure you could sell a print or two if you really wanted to and put some work into it (photos don't really sell themselves unless you are already famous), but we're talking small sums here, so it would be more for the personal satisfaction than any kind of financial gain. There are people out there dedicating their entire lives to this, have received awards, and regularly exhibit yet still struggle to make sales. I suggest you go look at a couple of photo sharing sites, like 500px.com for example and you'll soon realize how many not decent but amazing photographs there are out there. I say be content to photograph for your own sake OR you need to dedicate yourself to photography and the art of selling it in a more serious way.

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nightfire
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 02:38:59 PM »
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I believe most of us tend to have at least one relative or close friend who is enchanted by our pictures, even if only because it's part of the relationship  Wink

To find out the brutal truth, I guess maybe the only real lackmus test is to put your pictures on display out there and promote them with the (either intrinsic, or simulated) mindset of someone who depends on the income from those photos as his primary source of revenue, and see what comes out of it.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 03:25:45 PM »
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Bang on "amsp"! More of us need to read this and take it to heart to really understand what's going on out there and not become too delusional about becoming the next Ansel Adams.

Photograph for the joy of it. Sell photographs for the joy of it. If you get "noticed", then that's a bonus! And "don't quit your day job" unless you are totally dedicated.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 07:21:18 PM by luxborealis » Logged

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louoates
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 06:19:59 PM »
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Overall you have quite a good eye for seeing worthwhile image possibilities and a good sense of processing the images. I happen to believe that the best market for your work is local, that is, close to where the photos were taken. My best market is within 10 miles of the mountains where I photograph. Anything done well, with a identifiable local flavor, is much more apt to be displayed by local galleries, gift stores, etc. If you are printing your own work and can hit some very low price points you might have some success.
I also sell scenics well in larger sizes. Especially canvas panoramas to 84" long. Mainly for behind sofas or in dining rooms. But, again, it's 95% local scenes.  I can see your oceanside shots selling for those purposes. You might want to visit local art galleries, furniture stores, gift stores, etc. and see if they will show your work, on consignment if necessary.
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leuallen
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 07:08:32 PM »
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I show and sell some of my work at a local crafty-antique boutique shop in my small midwestern town (1500). I have a 15 foot wall for display, well lit. It costs me $50 a month plus 15% of sales. I don't sell much, farmers are not big on art, but I cover the rent with a little left over. It actually costs me in the long run but I don't care-just another photo expense. I enjoy the exposure and get lots of complementary comments. It motivates me to get out and take pictures of local items. Am retired so need something to keep me active.

Larry
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 03:43:38 AM »
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I show and sell some of my work at a local crafty-antique boutique shop in my small midwestern town (1500). I have a 15 foot wall for display, well lit. It costs me $50 a month plus 15% of sales. I don't sell much, farmers are not big on art, but I cover the rent with a little left over. It actually costs me in the long run but I don't care-just another photo expense. I enjoy the exposure and get lots of complementary comments. It motivates me to get out and take pictures of local items. Am retired so need something to keep me active.
Larry



Bingo! Moi aussi!

I started a website as part of that - found it to be the principal safeguard against the pervasive mood of self-destruction brought on by the death of my wife three years ago and the seemingly pointless linger in God's Waiting Room until my own train comes in. I stuck in a Sales slot, and it doesn't matter in the least if anybody even nibbles! What matters is that I find a reason to go out, take a camera (now predominantly the cellphone!) along for the ride and use my eyes again. It fills some time otherwise spent aimlessly trudging the streets to do the hourly exercise the cardio ordered, and also provides some entertainment (and frustration in equal measure) with Photoshop at night.

It's as good a reason to do photography today as it was decades ago, when I used it to feed my soul and my family.

Rob C
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aaronkneile
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 11:30:26 AM »
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In my opinion, the question of should you sell isn't as relevant as how you sell. Being a photographic genius is not, by itself, a recipe for income. Being just ok, but having a good bit of hustle can make you some nice coin. So believe in yourself and think outside the box. There's a lot of ways to make a buck in this business. If you feel bitter, or wonder if it's possible, you're just not seeing the whole board. There is gold dust in the air.
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2012, 11:57:55 AM »
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In my opinion, the question of should you sell isn't as relevant as how you sell. Being a photographic genius is not, by itself, a recipe for income. Being just ok, but having a good bit of hustle can make you some nice coin. So believe in yourself and think outside the box. There's a lot of ways to make a buck in this business. If you feel bitter, or wonder if it's possible, you're just not seeing the whole board. There is gold dust in the air.



Ah, but you can't smell it; how do you know where it is?

Rob C
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aaronkneile
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 08:01:47 AM »
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That's a good question! How do you smell it? I think it's mostly a belief. If you believe in your soul that there is so much work out there -- that there is so much abundance -- then you get all charged up and you find ways of going to get it. What we achieve has a lot to do with what we believe. If you feel doubtful, you might not do as much to make things happen. Hustle starts from a place of faith in my opinion. You have to believe that there are so many opportunities all around us, and then you go out and find them. I'm not a motivational speaker, I swear!

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mediumcool
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2012, 08:27:48 AM »
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In my opinion, the question of should you sell isn't as relevant as how you sell. Being a photographic genius is not, by itself, a recipe for income. Being just ok, but having a good bit of hustle can make you some nice coin. So believe in yourself and think outside the box. There's a lot of ways to make a buck in this business. If you feel bitter, or wonder if it's possible, you're just not seeing the whole board. There is gold dust in the air.

Online and extremely local are the two best options for sales, I believe. And selling, or promotion, is more important than quality/originality of content, most of the time. Whatever anyone says, photography is still seen as not quite art, where crap oil or watercolour works can sell for much more than a finely-crafted archival photographic print; part of the problem that has ever been is that photographs can be printed en masse, a quality shared by seriagraphs.

If you do the work you enjoy, and it sells, you are in heaven. My photographs tend to the bleak, matching my personality (!) so I will need to make happier, brighter pictures to create sales. Yeah, why not?
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EduPerez
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2012, 08:52:21 AM »
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This has became a very interesting thread, there is lots if insightful comments here.

My only interest to approach the market was financial, pure money lust; producing and sharing my photographs is enough compensation for me right now. If I can only expect little earnings, and only after lots of hard work (I pretty much suspected this, but had to ask anyhow), then I think I'll concentrate on the photography part, and forget about the business.

Now I feel liberated from this "obligation to try"!
My most sincere gratitude to everyone.

...

That's the trouble: you shouldn't worry about polishing turds! An 'artist' recently had 'art' on show that consisted of things made from elephant dung; I don't know if it was polished or not, but if it wasn't and yours is, you are already streets ahead!

Rob C

Well, the "turd" I was mentioning was my marketing strategy, not my photographs... but I see what you did there Wink
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2012, 11:22:09 AM »
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Well anyway, turds or not, buena suerte, amigo! I bet if you could get Penny Cruz to model you'd have few selling problems...

Ciao -

Rob C
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EduPerez
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2012, 01:47:30 PM »
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Well anyway, turds or not, buena suerte, amigo! I bet if you could get Penny Cruz to model you'd have few selling problems...

Ciao -

Rob C

"Penny Cruz"... or "Pene Cruz", as some reporters like to call her, and then ask Tom Cruise "How is your Pene?"
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ben730
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2012, 03:57:56 PM »
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I'm gonna go against the grain here and give you the brutal honesty you were wise enough to ask for. Some of your photos are decent, but they look like 10.000.000 other decent photos out there taken by other amateurs, in other words they are quite generic. I'm sure you could sell a print or two if you really wanted to and put some work into it (photos don't really sell themselves unless you are already famous), but we're talking small sums here, so it would be more for the personal satisfaction than any kind of financial gain. There are people out there dedicating their entire lives to this, have received awards, and regularly exhibit yet still struggle to make sales. I suggest you go look at a couple of photo sharing sites, like 500px.com for example and you'll soon realize how many not decent but amazing photographs there are out there. I say be content to photograph for your own sake OR you need to dedicate yourself to photography and the art of selling it in a more serious way.



amsp: BRAVO! you get point!

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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2012, 04:29:26 PM »
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"Penny Cruz"... or "Pene Cruz", as some reporters like to call her, and then ask Tom Cruise "How is your Pene?"



Damn, Eduardo, why didn't I think of that! Brilliant!

Of course, the poor man would have to say "I've lost it!"

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2012, 04:53:40 PM »
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Edu,

In your OP question there is the answer contained in it.

"Do I hold any chance to make profit? Or am I being delusional?
Please, be honest, brutally honest... I would rather enjoy my time doing something else than try to polish a turd.
"

What I just did now, is because that's the way our "real self" (sorry for the new-age short-cut) tend to talk to us. It's there and we don't see it.

When you ask, please be brutaly honest, you do not ask this question to us but to your self. (the self knows, and the space I wrote between your and self is not a mistake)

If you had a chance, you would not doubt, it would not be an option. This thread wouldn't exist, even if you were just starting.

It would be clear for you that this is what you want and you'll do the necessarly steps, enhance technicals, artisticals, business aspects in order to reach your goal.
You would "work" really "hard" to get the level and knowledge to generate incomes, to YOUR own goal and your own way.

If you are not in that spirit, you won't be able to overcome the numerous obstacles that will show-up.

The problem I see it's not your work. I agree with amsp, but this is today and you could become a top photographer tomorrow who sells well. There is nothing that can empeach you except yourself.
The problem I see is that there is a lack of faith or interest.

More generally, strong doubt= no.

See this girl you met in that party the other day? if you have a doubt then it's not for you. Doubt and non accomplishment are one and the same.

You have probably more interesting things to do. The answer is in your own question. It's important to know how to read our subconscient messages. They have a lot to tell to us.

Maybe, just let this go, and will appear then what's behind the question and it can simply be to enjoy life differently. Keep it relax, you said it, you want to enjoy your time not following a mirage.

You said it, you feel liberated.

Best regards.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 05:44:55 PM by fredjeang » Logged
EduPerez
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2012, 03:42:06 AM »
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Fred, your answer feels like a kick to my groin (and I must be a masochist, as I can't help reading it over and over again); you know, the kind of eye-opening kick to the groin that we all need sometime in our life. Thanks.
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