The uncomfortable truth of selling your photographic prints

One of the ways to make money from photography is to sell your prints. This especially goes for those of us who don’t photograph people and events, but rather landscapes, nature, cityscapes, etc. But selling prints might not be as easy as it seems. In this video, Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography reveals some uncomfortable truths about this, but also suggests ways to sell more of your prints in the future.

The inconvenient truth

In Adam’s case, the main reason he’s not selling many impressions is a lack of marketing, and the same can be true for you. However, one of the main reasons we may have difficulty selling prints is lack of rarity. As Adam explains, photography has become accessible to everyone and there are thousands of beautiful images of famous places. In other words, the supply has greatly exceeded the demand, which reduces the value of the draws.

Maybe that’s why NFTs are so popular right now. There is still a shortage in this area, and there is also a community around it. Yet it is very different from a real, tangible impression. If you’re like me (and Adam, apparently), you’ll always choose a real print over a digital asset. But hey, there are some things we can learn from NFT and apply to our print sales strategy. But more on that later.

How can we increase our print sales?

As Adam notes, what gives a photo its true value is the effort, time and struggle a photographer had to go through to take it. I would add that it’s not just on a particular hike or photo walk. It’s also all those years of learning photography, investing in gear, and trial and error. Still, it’s hard to just sell your efforts and knowledge in an impression. That’s why you need to think about what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to.

It’s probably not other landscape photographers who will buy your work, but “ordinary people” who want a nice picture on their wall. So how do you make them appreciate your work? Sell ​​prints that show a place that means something to them. That’s why it can be effective to shoot locally while selling prints in your city and country.

Then you should try to create work that evokes emotions, that creates an exciting and positive feeling. When people look at your photo every day, they want it to evoke positive emotions. As Adam points out, non-photographers will often prefer saturated images over warm colors. If I may add, it seems to me that other photographers would more often choose moody images with colder tones, or black and white ones. At least that’s my experience of buying and selling prints and other types of artwork.

Build a community

Remember I mentioned learning NFT? What Adam is aiming for is the implementation of the community aspect from the NFT space. We need to support each other and value each other’s work, and that’s something we can learn from the NFT community, but also from those around other art forms.

In my opinion, there are two sides to all artistic circles. There are always members of the community who support each other, share each other’s work on social networks and even buy it. For example, I bought embroidery from other embroiderers, and they bought it from me. On the other hand, there are always jealous or vain people who will try to sabotage you. I personally think that we should strive to build a healthy and supportive community as photographers, instead of sabotaging each other. I experience it in the world of embroidery and it’s truly amazing what being part of a healthy community can do.

Pricing your work

Another thing we need to think about when selling prints is pricing our work. I would say another inconvenient truth lies here: there is no universal answer to your question “how much should I charge?” 🙂 You don’t want to undermine your work, but you don’t want to overstate it either.

Well, Adam offers solutions to increase the value of your work. You can sell a limited edition print, which increases its rarity. It also increases its value if the demand for a particular photo persists. But Adam wants to go further and create even more rarity by limiting both the number of impressions and the time he will be available for. This could further increase the value of your impressions.

Adam is currently experimenting with the limited number and time to purchase his prints. You can find out more about it and support it by purchasing a print through its website.

[SELLING PRINTS – The Uncomfortable Truth with Photography via FStoppers]

Michael E. Marquez