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Selling your images

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  • Selling your images

    I have asked "What is the perfect picture" and some very interesting replies are to be found HERE

    There have been threads on Selling at Fetes and Fairs and Alamy and Red Bubble

    Steve Davies set up "The Local Photo" well Francis Frith website has made millions - why not our Steve

    Shirley recently asked about Alamy

    John aka ZUIKO has invested in Sales and blessed us all with his experiences

    But what is the SINGLE most Important point in Sales/Selling ?

    Is it YOUR perfect image ? - by this I mean it is technically perfect in photographic terms ?

    Is it, the one Judges Winner; or Judges placed or highly commended ?

    I believe it needs "turning on its head" its not about WHAT SELLS it is actually about WHAT PEOPLE BUY

    In order to Market and achieve Sales, the first Rule is Know Your Market ? the second is Know Your Product and the third is Know Your Customer (professionals = Clients because they keep on returning for high value sales )

    I bought a book, years ago, "Pictures that sell" and explored Markets via the annual Yearbook. From this I built up a database and would mail out index sheets ... then adding email addresses and emailing out a Newsletter and index sheets.

    After a few images and, maybe "*words" have been purchased you can get on "the backlist* it is a publishers projects list, of due to be published " and receive embargoed "Features" details. Which means 1) you trawl through old (well indexed images) or get out with kit to locations - helpful if your weekday job or being a Member of the 3,5 or even 7 day Club facilitates going anywhere, anytime!

    After all, the publishing Editors and Team are up to reducing costs and increasing profits and want to reduce their search time, and if you have already provided Horses (Eventing ; Polo; Hunter Trials; Dressage ; Showjumping ... as a Life time Equestrian in all these disciplines and avid Nag & Dog reader I know what images sell/get published ) or Flowers - I love capturing various blooms ... ; or Red Kites in Flight YOU GET ON THEIR LIST

    * Editors prefer say, 500 words which they can spell check; edit and byline with the images. Pay is good too I tend to include lots of facts and websites the Eds. "pump up the word count with 'flesh' to the bones.

    My best sellers are actually RUBBISH images a series of 6 images of two foals, who "rear end face-off each other" this then starts a "boxing match, foals facing and standing on hind legs - front legs scrambling through the air" with their respective Mares grazing behind them. £6,700 over 15 years ! Had I not known "the behaviour pattern/beginning of this development scene in foals lives" I would never have captured these images Know your Subject

    again a series of 6 images of two Swans in a mating flight/chase/capture - more £'s for these - very popular with ... Funerals ...

    I put that money into an FSAVC - over the years (20+) £5,000 has become £40 or £60 depends on where its invested ... (you need an IFA or your Accountant to advise) NO I cannot "touch or use it" it is invested for the long term and because of this it makes a bit more FSAVC's are Tax efficient for me

    You could stick it in your bank account and it just fritters away ! on daily spends ... monthly bills ...

    Publishing is about, "Do it once, and sell may times" . This applies to Fashion and many other "Creative Careers" - I am in it for the long term benefits. Look at so many great images and lots of old Street images at Francis Frith ... selling away ... and all they have to do is website them ... its like pulling a fruit machine handle - every time a sale happens, out pops the money !

    As you will have read in John Zuiko posts - Fetes are ok if your bored, want somewhere to go and stand, at a cost and have people pass by, occasionally making nice comments. I tried these years ago, and now and then do one or two - better for marketing than spot sales. Although, if your well known, as at specific School Fetes (because of your children - having had 80+ over 10 years is handy and at lots of local schools too ... often you can often negotiate a "free stand/table area" not really free as they want some school photos in exchange same with Church Fetes I do some Christmas cards of each every year for them to publish, sell insets and make money for the Spire or alter repairs or ??? - there is no such thing as a FREE lunch - everyone wants "a good deal and a bit (for me) - you have to give time and using your EYE and kit

    I do successfully run a "Trusty Box" and even take orders ... hence I have been busy for Christmas and shall be until 2nd week in December on over 2,000 cards ... But it has paid for "research visits of 2 and 3 weeks to the Seychelles for the last two years and Mauritius in 2014 3 weeks and a train journey of 10 days through Europe does not yet make that much in profits but the Tax man gets a little something for Mr. Cameron's causes

    Hope this helps all who would like to make some money from their Art !

    My recent Fastnet yacht series of 10 images, I dropped in the owner and his wife at the helm and gave a little grussian blur over special thanks to Paul for his help with CO7

    Rubbish images (well Technical Photographers seeking perfection and Judges would classify them as rubbish images) sell well if people want an image of themself doing/achieving some monumental achievement (to them!) ; their darling little ones looking cute or likewise, achieving or they are CUTE, soft and furry (see Countryfile winners from absolute beginners)

    Images do not have to be sharp - just look at winners at International competition level - many are not ! what a surprise

    here are a few years of the Veolia Environmental Wildlife Photographer of the Year(s) exhibited at the Natural History Museum

    and of course the BBC website

    - look in at your local library exhibitions for local great sells I visit our Discovery Centre with the children once a week (they have a Storytime there)

    both these provide excellent research of "What is liked and sells"

    There are many many images here on the e-forum which match up to and excel images in both NHM and BBC published and sold images !

    It is about marketing Targets - you can use a a "Shotgun" approach and just "splat everywhere"! (eg Local Newspaper ADVERT to do Wedding images & portraits) ; or a single Pistol shot straight in the Bulls eye (via Churches and the Registry office get advance knowledge ) or Relationship marketing with Publishers/Editors - the latter takes a lot more time than an ADVERT ... but the rewards are like collecting honey from the bees you have nurtured

    Thats it Tablet to Nick for Chess now and I am out of the hairdressers to my day Event

    ps I forgot to mention - a few here are making money here but you have to know their "published name"
    I Lurve Walking in our Glorious Countryside; Photography;
    Riding Ducati Motorbikes; Reading & Cooking ! ...

    the ONE photo album

  • #2
    Re: Selling your images

    Mmm, very interesting.
    From our point of view one of the best selling and therefore the most lucrative images is very abstract and is often thought to be a painting. Conversely a sharp well exposed image of a different subject entirely generates a lot of interest and sales.
    I am forced into taking images that fall into two categories.
    Those for the wallet and those for the soul.
    The ones for the wallet must, by market demand, contain an instantly recognisable image of Skye. It is almost mandatory that the image contains, rocks water and mountains. Two other very successful gallery owner/photographers here on Skye agree whole heartedly . For me those taken for the soul are in the main images of local people, and the visitors are just not interested in these at all.
    They certainly don't get the opportunity or feel the need to make such remarks as "Oh I bet he's photo- shopped that in (no I haven't) or "Mmm I bet the light wasn't really like that" (yes it was). This makes me feel very happy that I can produce work that gives me immense pleasure and is funded by work produced for the consumer.

    "Always shoot in RAW and avoid JPEGs"

    William Shakespeare.