It’s nice when someone asks to license one of your images. It’s nicer still when someone asks to buy a print to hang on their wall. But nothing beats the satisfaction that comes from seeing your photos printed to museum quality, hanging in a gallery… and sold for a large sack of cash.
For most photographers though, that’s always going to be something of a dream. The supply of attractive photographic artworks for sale always seems to outstrip demand for them so even though the best art works can go for large amounts, getting started is difficult and the marketing has to be furious.
Or at least it used to be.
If once potential photographic artists would have to carry a portfolio to gallery owners in the hope of getting a show, today anyone can print their images at high quality, skip the big name galleries and sell them to buyers themselves.
One company offering such a service is Photogonia.com which specializes in printing photographs on canvas. Managing Director, Doron Franco, told us:
The advantage of printing on canvas is [that] the final result looks like an artist’s painting. The size of the image is determined by the quality of the digital image and its dpi. The bigger the image, the larger we can print and the crisper the picture.
Doron recommends that photographs intended to be printed on canvas should be at least 500kb and points out that most customers choose sizes of between 20 x 30 inches and 40 x 60 inches.
He also says though that most of his customers:
are asking for family pictures, babies and scenic views from vacation spots that they visited.
That suggests that many of the people choosing to print their photos on canvas, at least through his service, are doing it for their own use rather than to sell. That’s understandable. While you’re not reliant on a gallery to arrange the printing, you’ll still have to do the selling. That’s the difficult bit.
Imagekind.com however, allows photographers — and artists too — to print their images at the highest quality but also lets them sell their works through the site.
Imagekind lets photographers create artistic prints… and sell them too.
The model is a little like Blurb’s but with a greater emphasis on the personality of the artist. Photographers can upload images and set a rate higher than the printing cost to create a profit. They don’t have to create inventory in advance and they can build profiles that describe their work and even link back to their own websites.
Free membership gives photographers a gallery of up to 24 images; a pro membership costing $7.99 a month gives photographers unlimited galleries of 50 images each but a limited bandwidth of 400mb a month; and platinum membership costing $11.99 a month provides unlimited space and uploading.
Images do not have to be exclusive to Imagekind so there’s nothing to stop photographers from offering the same image from a number of different outlets.
Best of all perhaps, Imagekind also provides unique URLs in the format http://yourscreenname.imagekind.com allowing members to market their products themselves.
And that’s where things can start to get interesting. Although anyone can put creative photos on Imagekind, it will take at least as much creativity to bring people in to buy them.
One method might be to make use of Flickr. Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir, for example, was prompted by her large fan base on Flickr to offer prints through her website. There’s no reason why other talented photographers couldn’t also network like crazy on Flickr, point out that canvas prints are available for sale and link back to their URL on Imagekind. You’d need the sort of images that Flickr members will want to see — and buyers will want to own — and you’ll have to be active enough on Flickr to build interest.
once you get your customers, they are true blue and will come back to your site again and again to see what you have.
You could either use eBay’s Buy Now feature to sell your works at a fixed price then use Imagekind to produce and deliver them, or you could allow buyers to bid openly then order your print at cost price and pocket the difference.
And finally, although Imagekind doesn’t let photographers create affiliate links leading directly to their portfolio, you could still create your own crude affiliate system by letting friendly bloggers show your images, take orders and pass them on to you for a commission.
Of course, none of this is as satisfying as seeing your photo in a gallery with a little red dot in the corner of the frame. But it’s a lot easier and it could just give you art sales.
[tags] photogonia, imagekind, sell framed art photos [/tags]