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How to sell prints online

Tommy Mack , Jun 04, 2005; 05:42 p.m.

I have a website on yessy.com/macnicifcent1. I have only had this site for about two months. I have watched my hits rise and fall but to no avail. i haven't sold a print. I want to make it big in photography, but it gets so discouraging sometimes. I am still taking my own money in which I make from hard labor construction to buy very expensive equipment. I have cut every expense except eating and yet my customer turnover is not there. I would like for you to look at my site and see is it in my work, or is it in my marketing. thank you

Responses

Art Haykin , Jun 04, 2005; 08:57 p.m.

"How to sell prints on line?" Well, I'd say "Not the way you're doing it, pal." To begin, and in no special order, your work is mostly unremarkable and highly personal. You seem to be selling interior decor, not fine photogaphy. Your prices are arbitrary, and seem to make no sense. Where do you get figures like $18.00, $62.00, $72.50, and no price at all? Why is "Water Abstract:" worth $450.00? And what do "Sold out," "Sold," and "Not for sale" mean? Your titles seem self-congratulatory and pretentious at times, and even preachy. A few of your images are quite pleasant, but I just don't understand some: for example "Down Home Blues." Still, all this is just one man's opinion, and while I know everything there is to know about photography and art, I don't know what I like.

Bob Atkins , Jun 04, 2005; 09:37 p.m.

I want to make it big in photography

Me too. If you ever figure out how to do it, let me know...

I'd guess both your work and your marketing are a problem. I don't see any images there that scream "buy me" and if all you're doing is putting your work on a site and waiting for orders, you'll wait a long, long time.

The people who are successful have their own websites and promote them via all the available means (search engines, links, advertising) as well as doing exceptional work. Take a look at http://www.danheller.com/ and http://www.terragalleria.com/index.html

Gary Crabbe , Jun 05, 2005; 01:16 p.m.

I'm gonna have to go with the work & marketing camp on this one. If I can just pass on a couple sound pointers; I think you've fallen into an easy trap that many people assume; better & more expensive equipment will automatically make you a better photographer. That's just not true. I've been a professional for over a decade, and I never owned a top-of-the-line camera until two moths ago when I switched to digital. All of the images on my web site were taken with a Nikon N8008s or N90s - upper mid-level cameras.

If I were to make one suggestion - if you are really serious about wanting to pursue your dream - give up on buying all the top line gear and instead think about investing in either hiring someone like myself in your area, namely a professional photographer who offers consulting services, private, or public workshops. Check into local camera clubs, read books, and study the work of other photographers like you were trying to pass a college exam.

You should be focusing (pun intented) on making better images, not collecting better gear. Once you learn to consistently make images that generate some emotional impact with viewers that AREN'T friends or family, you'll stand a much better chance at successfully marketing your work. Remember, photography is a tool for communication, and if your images aren't telling a strong story that immediately grabs someones attention, it's gonna be super-hard to get them to wanna take one home with them.

Gary Crabbe
Enlightened Images

Bill Jordan , Jun 06, 2005; 09:14 a.m.

Tommy,

I'm not much of a photographer, so take what I say for what it's worth, but at a recent art show I attended (as a patron, not an exhibitor), I noticed that all of the photographers represented had a very narrow subject focus. They either specialized in portraiture, landscapes, wildlife, or even subsets within those categories. Some had developed unusual styles or techniques (such as photographing reflections in water drops) that they applied to each of their photos. So, rather than trying to appeal to everyone, they were all going for a specific niche. Frankly, I think that's the way to go. So rather than trying to be everything to everyone, you might want to develop a style and technique that will appeal to a smaller audience.

Also, I noticed that some of the text accompanying your shots is poorly worded or grammatically incorrect. I think this negatively impacts how you are viewed be potential customers. You might be wise to employ (not necessarily pay) a proofreader.

Best of luck, Bill

James Burger , Jun 06, 2005; 03:57 p.m.

to be cynical: Talent and style don?t necessarily sell photos, especially because most buyers wouldn?t recognize it anyway. There is an article on Marketwatch.com (by Bambi Francisco) and excerpted in this week?s issue of "The Week" magazine that everyone here would probably benefit from. it?s about the shift in marketing from creative to scientific and might change peoples assumptions about what makes an effective marketing campaign. You can have the worlds nicest website, but if it?s not marketed properly, no one will ever see it, or at least no one in your target audience.

Tommy Mack , Jun 08, 2005; 07:10 p.m.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to try to help me by offering their advice. It really made me take a long look at my work and re-evaluate my photography, as well as become more focused. I hope that the current reader will view my site: www.yessy.com/macnicifcent1 and offer input as well.

Eric Warnke , Jun 11, 2005; 11:43 p.m.

I looked through the images and as a photographer I found the overuse of Photoshop to be the thing that put me off the most. One thing that did pop into my head is greeting cards and flower shops. I think you might have a better time marketing your shots directly to buisnesses.

Your web software could use an upgrade as well. I have never liked small over-sharpened thumbnails as a way of showcasing work. I have found that anything less that 256 pixels on the small edge usually looks like crap and can be a turn off.

If you are going to put text on an image, please don't just use right justified ariel in white, take the time to figure out what really looks good, this will require using a different font or converting text to a path and filling it with a proper finish ( see this months photoshop user magazine for a great example ).

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