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on Dec 27, 2013 in Friday Thoughts

The Web & Print Sales

El Cap 4174

The web is a wild and wonderful place for photography! I’ve been know to spend a little time there myself. One of the more common questions and requests I receive is to look at photographers website and provide suggestions to help them improve their prints sales. This comes from their having heard from others what a rich bounty awaits any who posts images on a website. Print sales are just a click away! Now if you are happy with any sale at all, then none of my discussion that follows matters. But those that have been reaching out to me were counting on a whole lot more. I hear from and I’m talking to those who are seeking to make real income from web print sales.

There is no doubt that some have done and do an amazing business on the web selling prints. But those are the exceptions, they are not the rule. I know because not only do I hear from all the heartbroken folks wondering where they went wrong, I’m in the business. I’m not trying to be a humbug here, I’m trying to bring a little reality to the equation. Let me put this to you in dollar terms, which always seems to make folks scratch their heads. If you sell a print for $100 (and if you do, why bother?) and it costs you $20 to make the print, how many prints do you need to sell just to pay the rent?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” When it comes to print sales, this is a VERY important concept you can’t ignore! This means YOU have to get the right person to your website and they have to see the right image for you to make a sale. Think about those odds, does your website have that kind of traffic? Do you have a big enough inventory to support that? Most importantly, and this is the hardest question of all to answer, are your photographs really good enough to be prints? (And I’m not even talking about printing skills.)

WRP does make print sales from our website. But folks find our website from our none web presence much more than our web presence. Most of our print sales come from images seen in my articles and personal presentations than images seen from the blog. In our business plan, prints sales are a small slice of the overall production and by no means counted on as a mainstay. Now this is all information I’m just putting out there you could say as a FWIW. I think folks should be provided the reality even though it’s not always what folks want to hear. If you were expecting riches from your website in image sales and you’re not seeing it, it’s not a statement about you or your photography. There are literally thousands of other photographers experiencing the same thing and that’s simply because, a website itself does not create income. Remember, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”