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  • Beginning Photographer Needs Advice On Selling Photos

    Hey guys! I have a few (ok, a lot of) questions for you guys. But first, here's a little back story on me.

    I'm an 18 year old high school student (almost graduated...should be done in a couple of months) looking to be a professional photographer. I'm planning on doing the online, at-home photography course with the New York Institute of Photography when I'm done with high school.

    In the mean time, I would like to learn how to start selling some of my pictures online. I do sell some at art shows and to family members when they visit in the summer - I print pictures and put them on blank cards and put some in frames - but I would like to be able to do it online as well. I've had a few requests from people wanting to buy my photos (through Facebook) and I just don't have the knowledge for it. lol
    I had two requests for photos last winter and it was a head ache trying to figure out how much I should charge while factoring in printing, shipping, etc - I'm always afraid I'm going to charge too much or too little.

    Here are a few of my questions:

    Would it be better to sell my photos myself or use a website like smugmug and the like? (I like the sound of someone else handling all of the financial, printing, and shipping aspects of it but I don't know if I could sell enough photos to make up for the monthly cost of being on such a site...)

    And to go with the above...If selling through a site would be better, which site is the best?

    How do I figure out how much to charge for my photos?

    I would also like to see if I can sell some framed photos and/or greeting cards in a shop or two here in town. What would be the proper way to go about this such as pricing and what not goes?

    Should I forget about selling any photos until I complete my college course?

    Thanks so much for your time and any tips or suggestions that you may have for a beginning photographer, feel free to share!
    Peace Image Studio
    Focus in on life.

  • #2
    Do you have any examples of your work?
    ~ Canon Rebel T5i ~ EFS IS 18-55mm STM~ VivitarDF-483-CAN ~ Canon EF 70 - 300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM ~

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    • #3
      Don't waste your money on that NYIP course. Go to college and take photography courses that are offered. You're much too young and inexperienced to even worry about becoming a professional photographer at this stage in life. When I was 16 I knew I wanted to make photography a living. During the summer months I worked for Pacific Stars and Stripes, a newspaper in Tokyo, Japan. To gain the experience necessary, I took a different route and instead of going to college I joined the Navy, received my training and experience there, and freelanced for newspapers in my off time. They even sent me to study photojournalism at Syracuse.

      It's good that you have a goal to achieve, now work towards achieving your dream of becoming a photographer. There's much more to professional photography that by selling a few pictures to family and friends who think your photos are great. There's much more than taking pictures to sell. You have have to learn how to market, paying taxes, both state and sales tax and learning how to run a photography business good luck!
      http://pa.photoshelter.com/c/jimbryant
      http://jimbryantphotography.blogspot.com/
      (1) EOS 1D MKIII (3) EOS 1D's, (3) EOS1D MKIIs', (1) EOS1Ds MKII, 14mmf2.8, 16-35mmf2.8, 28-70mmf2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8 and a 400mmf2.8, (4) 550 EX and 1 580E speedlite, and a Speed a tron studio flash system.

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      • #4
        Also take a course in business studies / business management - a photography business is 90% business, 10% photography.... if you're lucky :P
        Art: www.jamieorourke.co.uk
        Work: www.jamieorourkephotography.co.uk
        Sony a200 Sony a580, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 600D

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        • #5
          **facepalm** Please forgive me for not seeing the sticky on where to sell photos online...that answered some of my questions...

          It wasn't really my intention to become a professional before I even went to college...I know that's not going to be the case. lol I guess I was just looking for a better way to sell my photos rather than just selling at art shows and having friends and family say "Oh that's a nice photo...how much? **hands over desired amount**".

          But, it is clear that I need more experience so that's going to have to wait.


          Below are some of my photos that have done well at the art shows I've attended. The one of the river and the sun coming through the trees was taken with my moms camera (can't remember what it is at the moment...it's just a P&S though) and the others were taken with my Canon PowerShot A 590. All in auto as I didn't have the know-how to shoot in manual when these photos were taken. lol

          And thank you so much for your replies. They've given me a lot to think about...and just when you think you finally have things figured out...such is the life of a beginning adult I suppose...
          Peace Image Studio
          Focus in on life.

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          • #6
            Here are a couple of photos I took with my new Nikon D 3100. I just got it a couple of months ago and am still learning how to use it...
            The one is a self portrait and the dog is my GSD, Ellie.
            Peace Image Studio
            Focus in on life.

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            • #7
              This image on your facebook would work better if you chopped it portrait orientation, 3:2 on the left, like so... (if you don't mind :P)

              Also, cool dog
              Art: www.jamieorourke.co.uk
              Work: www.jamieorourkephotography.co.uk
              Sony a200 Sony a580, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 600D

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              • #8
                Learn photography business - Free guides for photographers help with sales & marketing | PhotoShelter
                GREG - Canon 60D with 10-22, 18-55 & 55-250.
                flickr
                flickriver
                My 500px
                "You can't be young forever, but you can always be immature." - Larry Andersen.

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                • #9
                  This image on your facebook would work better if you chopped it portrait orientation, 3:2 on the left, like so... (if you don't mind :P)
                  I see how that works better...thank you for the suggestion.
                  Peace Image Studio
                  Focus in on life.

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                  • #10
                    Posting photos like that, I think you're going to get a lot of replies
                    Last edited by mottyboy; 12-17-2012, 10:44 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I see how that works better...thank you for the suggestion.
                      No worries, just me being picky :P
                      Art: www.jamieorourke.co.uk
                      Work: www.jamieorourkephotography.co.uk
                      Sony a200 Sony a580, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 600D

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                      • #12
                        1. I would practice, a lot. I do think some of your images have potential. Would I buy them? Not right now, because I can go out and take that same photo and make it better. I realize you are shooting in auto in some of the photos, but I'd look into getting Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. If I'm looking at a photo to buy, I want it to look professional.

                        2.I would check into finding a professional printing company like White House Custom Color, ColorInc, etc...to print your photos with. Browse sites like Etsy, SmugMug and see what other artists are charging for their work.

                        3. Selling photos online can be difficult. I've sold for two years on Etsy and have sold about 30 prints. There are so many different photographers and artists out there that you really have to be patient, get your name and work out there and be noticed before you see any of your prints sold.

                        4. Don't shoot something that anyone else can, if you do, make sure it's captured in a unique perspective. One thing I look for when I browse for photos to buy is 1. Is it a place I've been and they captured it different? or 2. Is this someplace I haven't been and would like a photo of it? I lived in Europe for a few years, so a lot of places, I have my own photos of, so I don't feel the need to buy those from others. I look for the unusual or something I don't have or can't take a photo of myself. Make sense?
                        Canon 450D
                        Canon 18-55mm | Canon 10-22mm | Canon 70-300mm | Canon 50mm

                        "A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words." - Ansel Adams

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                        • #13
                          If you're willing to spend some money, consistently, then both Zenfolio and Smugmug are pretty good ways to go. Both of them allow you to upload photos, build galleries, and set your profit margin. Then you can have potential clients go to your portfolio and order directly from the company. This takes the money handling and printing/shipping out of your hands.
                          Kevin
                          Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
                          http://500px.com/VeritasImageryNW/photos
                          http://veritasimagerynw.smugmug.com/

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by veritasimagery View Post
                            If you're willing to spend some money, consistently, then both Zenfolio and Smugmug are pretty good ways to go. Both of them allow you to upload photos, build galleries, and set your profit margin. Then you can have potential clients go to your portfolio and order directly from the company. This takes the money handling and printing/shipping out of your hands.
                            I used Exposure Manager.com before turning everything over to Photoshelter.
                            http://pa.photoshelter.com/c/jimbryant
                            http://jimbryantphotography.blogspot.com/
                            (1) EOS 1D MKIII (3) EOS 1D's, (3) EOS1D MKIIs', (1) EOS1Ds MKII, 14mmf2.8, 16-35mmf2.8, 28-70mmf2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8 and a 400mmf2.8, (4) 550 EX and 1 580E speedlite, and a Speed a tron studio flash system.

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