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Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography Prints
Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography Prints

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography Prints

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Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography Prints

Print is dead! Or is it? Believe it or not, many landscape photographers still sell prints these days. In fact, selling prints has become one of the hallmarks of establishing a landscape photography career. There’s no better measurement of success than the satisfaction of knowing that your work is being displayed on someone else’s wall.



Selling photography prints can be both an exciting and rewarding experience. It is also one of the many ways that you can diversify your income when setting up your own photography business. If you’ve been wondering how to offer prints as a photographer, then look no further! We’ve got some great advice for you, including a list of where to sell your prints so that you can get a head start in the world of professional landscape photography.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsSelling prints is a rewarding experience. Photo by: 'Persnickety, Unsplash'.



Why You Should Sell Photography Prints

While digital photography has its merits, there is something truly special about the physical embodiment of art that enables print media to remain relevant in the present day. This is why selling prints is one of the most important revenue streams in landscape photography. 

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsPrints will help to get your name out there into the public domain. Photo by: 'Adrian, Unsplash'.

Aside from being able to make some extra money, when you venture into selling prints of your work, you will actively be taking steps to get your name out there into the public domain. This means that people will be more likely to recognise your work when they see it and to garner it with some level of respect. In turn, they’ll be more likely to talk about your photographs to their family and friends.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsThe more people who know about your work, the more prints you'll be able to sell. Photo by: 'Alex Suprun, Unsplash'.

Word of mouth is one of the best marketing strategies that you can have as a landscape photographer. The more people who know about your work, the more prints you’ll be able to sell. In turn, you’ll make more income and your photographs will become more sought-after. The result is a revolving door that will lead to better exposure for your business, particularly if you are able to sell your work commercially

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsAs print demand increases, so will your reputation. Photo by: 'Silvia Maidagan, Unsplash'.

As demand increases, more and more doors will open, taking your landscape photography career to new and impressive heights.



What to Consider When Selling Prints

Before we start looking at where you can sell your prints, there are a couple of important things that you need to consider. Ultimately, these decisions will have a huge influence upon where and how your work will be marketed to the public.

Open vs Limited Edition

Unlike other art forms, there is no notion of an “original” in photography. This is because even digital RAW files may be replicated. Rather, when selling photographs as prints, we refer to two categories: open and limited edition.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsOpen edition prints are produced on a large scale. Photo by: 'Squared One, Unsplash'.

Open edition prints are those which are produced in an unlimited fashion. This means that there is no cap to the number of copies that can be in circulation. They are a great way for people to own and invest in your work without having to shell out a fortune.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsLimited edition prints are worth more and may be more sought after. Photo by: 'Nordwood Themes, Unsplash'.

On the other hand, limited edition prints are those with a more exclusive print run. You might choose to only ever print 50 or 100 of these images, carefully hand-signing and labelling each one. This can generate a lot of interest amongst collectors – particularly if you are an up and coming photographer or one who is already well-established. Limited edition prints can even drive sales upwards when people realise that the print may end up out of circulation. By placing a cap on how many prints of a certain image may be produced, you increase the sense of urgency that people feel when considering whether to buy, making them more likely to commit to an expensive but worthwhile purchase.



How to Price Photography Prints

Needless to say, limited edition prints will always attract a higher price than open editions. There are also many different materials on which you can print your photography, thus affecting the price of production.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsDon't underestimate your worth when pricing prints. Photo by: 'Annie Spratt, Unsplash'.

It’s important that you mark up your work so that you make a profit from selling prints. You’ll need to have a good idea of what people want in terms of a print so that you can be selective about what you choose to put out there for them to buy. Seek feedback from potential customers about what they’d like to see from you in print and what they’re willing to splurge their money on. The more interest that there is in a particular image, the more you’ll be able to charge.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsSeek feedback from your customers about what they'd like to see on their walls. Photo by: 'Antenna, Unsplash'.

When pricing your prints, never sell yourself short. You need to be able to cover the initial costs involved in production, whilst still being able to put food on the table. Selling prints can either create revenue or leave you penniless, so be sure to price your work accordingly.



Handle it Yourself or Outsource?

If you have a fantastic printer at home and high quality materials to print on, then you can certainly do all of your printing yourself. Otherwise, you’ll possibly need to find a print manufacturer to produce prints which you’ll then purchase and sell to your clients.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsYou can print and mount your work yourself if you have the experience. Photo by: 'Emarts Emarts, Unsplash'.

Distributing prints can be difficult, especially if you’re selling more than just one or two a month. As a consequence, most photographers prefer to outsource rather than to handle all of the work themselves. How you choose to do it will depend on how many prints you sell, the equipment and materials that you have available to you, as well as how much time you’re willing to put into doing it all on your own.



Where to Sell Your Prints

Once you’ve figured out what kinds of prints you want to sell, how you’ll price them and whether you’ll handle it all yourself or outsource, you’ll have a better idea of which marketplace will best suit your business.

Print-on-Demand Services

A print-on-demand service is one that will manufacture your photographs as prints on a needs-only basis. There are a number of these services available online through which you can sell your images not only as traditional prints but as other custom products. These include books, greeting cards, postcards, clothes, mugs and even household items such as cushions or bags.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsPrint on demand services will provide you with prints when you need them. Photo by: 'Bank Phrom, Unsplash'.

One of the more notable is Fine Art America. Aside from being a print-on-demand service, it functions as a community where many photographers, artists and brands come together to sell prints and other products. It is the largest online marketplace in the USA for buying and selling wall art. All you have to do is upload your photos and pick the prints or products that you want to sell. Shipping and handling is managed by Fine Art America and they will deliver your prints worldwide.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsYou can make all sorts of products out of your prints. Photo by: 'Micaela Parente, Unsplash'.

Other print-on-demand services that are great for selling photography prints are Society6, RedBubble, Zazzle, Art Web and CafePress. All are very similar in terms of what they offer. You can sign up quickly and open your own shop within minutes. They’re a great way to start selling prints and making money from your photography.



On Your Website

If you haven’t already got one, then it’s a good idea to set up your own website. Having an online portfolio is a great way to market your work to others. Keep in mind though that you’ll need to manage print requests on your own and you’ll most likely have to do the rest of the hard work manually.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsYou can sell your photos on your own website. Photo by: 'Taras Shypka, Unsplash'.

If your website supports eCommerce options, then you’ve already got a winning solution to selling photos online for money. If not, then you can use a print-on-demand eCommerce widget such as Fotomoto. You’ll be able to select from a variety of different print types. Fotomoto will handle the rest, including printing, packaging and shipping.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsThere are many options for setting up a website so have a look around instead of keeping your head stuck in the sand! Photo by: 'Lina Castaneda, Unsplash'.

If you’ve yet to design a website, then it’s worthwhile to look around for a hosting platform that will allow you to set up a web-shop for your photography. Photo web-hosting services such as SmugMug facilitate online print sales through both local and international print labs. 

The benefit of having a SmugMug account is that you can set up a website within minutes and begin selling your prints straight away. SmugMug will provide all of the information that you need to know for uploading properly prepared files for printing. The labs that they work with will do all of the nitty-gritty, such as backprinting, colour correction, print products and sizing. All you’ll have to do is to set the price and let SmugMug do the rest.

One of the benefits of using SmugMug to host your website is not just being able to sell prints but the fact that SmugMug will guarantee your prints, whether the customer is unhappy or if an order is lost or damaged in transit. In addition, they’ll handle the shipping. It’s an easy way to sell your photos online and make money.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsAside from selling your work online, you can try selling at markets. Photo by: 'Joseph Pearson, Unsplash'.

An alternative web-hosting platform is Wix, which is a great tool to build your own photography website. It’s easy to sell prints online through the Wix Art Store, an app which can be integrated with your portfolio. Aside from classic prints, you can arrange for your work to be printed on canvases, mugs, bags and even phone cases. All you have to do is to upload your images, choose which products you want to offer, then set your price and profit. Wix uses a print-on-demand service to print your work and ship it directly to your customers.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsSelling prints is easy online so there's no reason not to do it! Photo by: 'Jon Tyson, Unsplash'.

Zenfolio is another all-in-one eCommerce platform where you can make your own website to showcase and sell your photography prints. No coding experience is required. You can upload, organise and sell your prints with very little hassle. They ship from a number of labs within the USA, Europe, Canada and Australia.



Etsy

If you prefer to handle all of your printing and shipping yourself, then it’s worthwhile looking at making an account on Etsy. This is an online marketplace that has a focus on bespoke handmade items, including framed and unframed prints. Most products are one-of-a-kind, with prices to match. In addition, most shoppers on Etsy are on the search for something a little more unique. As such, this is a good place to set up shop if you want to get your limited edition prints moving.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsEtsy is a marketplace for bespoke handmade items such as prints. Photo by: 'Pineapple Supply Co, Unsplash'.

If you’re wondering how to sell photography prints on Etsy, then think of it a little like eBay but without the auctions and bidding. Buyers have the option of making a purchase which you’ll then have to prepare and ship to their delivery address.



Local Businesses

If you prefer to sell “in real life” rather than online, then consider making enquiries with a few of the businesses in your local area. Many art stores, framing services, restaurants and cafés are in need of wall art – whether to spice up their own products or to create a certain atmosphere. Some will purchase your prints for display, whilst others may be happy to exhibit your work for sale to the public.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsMany restaurants and cafes will be more than happy to display your prints for sale. Photo by: 'Igor Starkov, Unsplash'.



Selling Photo Prints at Markets, Festivals & Art Fairs

Wherever you are in the world, there is bound to be a local market where you can set up a stall for a small fee and sell your photography prints. Festivals and art fairs are also a great place to access buyers, such as tourists who may already be on the lookout for souvenirs.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsSelling your prints at markets is a good way to make a little extra money. Photo by: 'Soragrit Wongsa, Unsplash'.

When selling prints at events, it’s best to offer them unframed so that people will be able to transport them home or to their next destination easily. This way, they’ll be more inclined to make a purchase.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsTry to make your prints a good size that people can take with them when they leave the market. Photo by: 'Markus Spiske, Unsplash'.



Pitching to a Gallery

If you have a cohesive and thoughtful body of work, then it’s worthwhile to make a pitch to a local gallery. Galleries are a great way to get your limited edition prints seen by collectors. Curators of galleries often have a good idea of what the current market trends are, as well as an existing customer base from which to draw upon. If you’re lucky, then they might accept your photography for display, which will open up all sorts of avenues for you in the world of professional landscape photography.

Beginner's Guide to Selling Photography PrintsSelling prints is a great way to achieve an income as a photographer. Photo by: 'Frank R, Unsplash'.

Although selling prints may seem a daunting task at first, it is a great way to achieve an income as a landscape photographer. If you do things right, then you may be able to improve your business and further your landscape photography career. What’s better than to have your work on display for others to see? Take our advice and start selling prints. It’s a good way to get a step up towards making money with photography.


About the author:  Serena Dzenis is a landscape photographer based in Iceland. You can find more of her work on her website or by following her on Facebook and Instagram.


Have you got any other tips for selling prints? Where do you sell your prints and how has it worked out for you? Leave a comment below!