Photographers: Sell More Prints with These 5 Tips
Generating consistent photo print sales is, for many photographers, the dream.
With regular sales coming in, you'd be free to shoot when you want, where you want.
Your print sales could fund your travel, or go straight to a retirement fund.
Getting there takes time, but it's not impossible. Especially when you have the right strategy.
With that, we can help. Between the hundreds of photographers we host on our platform, and the thousands more we've talked to over the years, we have a pretty good handle on what it takes to succeed.
Of everything you could be doing to build your photography business, we believe these 5 things are the most essential.
1. Strengthen Your Niche
It all starts here.
Before you can take any more advanced steps to improve your sales, you have to ask yourself a simple question:
Is the subject matter you've shot, and the way you've presented it online, conducive to finding your target audience?
In other words, if someone was looking for the type of images that you offer – would they find you? What search terms would they use? Do you address these search terms on your website?
And once they've landed on your website, will they know instantly that they're in the best possible place to shop for what they're looking for?
Here's a few quick tips to strengthen your niche:
- Clearly define your niche in a single sentence using searchable terms – this will help you better understand how to talk about your work in a way that will help people find you.
- Clearly define your target audience so that you can better seek them out with your marketing.
- Adjust the artwork selection on your website to emphasize your niche. You don't have to sell every image you've ever shot, try and curate your collection to be the best at one or two of your top-selling subject matter categories.
- Create hidden, targeted landing pages to build out your niche. This is an SEO strategy and is described in full in this video.
To put this advice into practical terms, here are those tips repeated but using a real-world example:
- My niche is waterfall photography from exotic locations around the world.
- My target audience includes recent travelers that wish to buy an image featuring a waterfall they saw as a memento of their trip, as well as general natural enthusiasts who are looking for a dramatic print for their wall space.
- I previously also showcased my collection of urban photography on my website, but I've only ever sold a single print of it, so I'm going to remove it from my website and re-focus entirely on my waterfall work – improving sales by making my niche more clear than ever.
- I've created new pages on my website for SEO titled "Waterfall photography", "waterfall photos for sale", and "Exotic waterfall photo prints". I've also carefully labeled my waterfall photos to include their names and locations, and grouped my images by country to make them easier to search through.
Alternatively, don't be afraid to try out an altogether new niche - it could just be the thing that makes your career, as it did with Bill Stidham (note: Bill is a painter, not a photographer, but his story is 100% relevant here.)
Either way, once you are confident in your niche, you're ready to take the next step in generating consistent photography sales:
2. Have a Proper Art Gallery Website Designed to Sell Photo Prints
If you have your sights set on obtaining the full-time artist lifestyle, we can't overstate how critical it is to have a proper art gallery website.
A website that works how buyers expect it to, and includes 3D previews of media options, wall previews, and the rest of the 7 cornerstone features of photography websites.
Because while the photography space in general may be over-crowded, the space for photographers selling their work through websites that are just as fully-featured and easy-to-use as industry giants like Art.com is practically wide open.
For that reason, this is likely the single greatest opportunity available to photographers today.
For the potential upside, look no further than Megh Knappenberger, who earned $200k+ in her first year as a direct result of pairing a strong niche with a proper art gallery website.
3. Offer Prints in Sets
Why sell 1 print when you can sell 3 to the same customer? Or 5?
There's 2 ways to go about this –first, you could purposely shoot a series of photos designed to be purchased and hung on the wall as a set.
Think 3-5 prints that fit together in theme, color palette, and or subject matter.
The second way is to offer one giant image that is delivered on multiple canvas prints that, when grouped together, form the master image.
That second option is becoming so popular among buyers, we created our own feature just to support it.
The win-win here is huge: you sell 3 prints instead of 1, and the customer gets an exceptional, unique centerpiece for their wall.
4. Consistently Execute on a Marketing Strategy
The #1 reason that photographers fail at making a living selling their work is because they fail in execution of art business and marketing.
Call it hustle, tactics, strategy, or determination. Call it anything you want. “Execution” is just a business word we use to encompass it all.
We see it all the time here at Art Storefronts. Photographers with huge talent and stunning work are regularly being outsold by those with arguably less talent, simply because they execute better.
How do the more successful photographers do it?
First, they realized that the world was not going to come to them.
They recognized that faith in their talent was not on its own going to lead to success. They recognized they needed to take proactive steps to get their art in front of the world.
Which photographers who compete in the “waterfalls” niche will sell the most art this year?
It will be the ones who got the most eyeballs, within their target audience, to see their art. It will come down to execution.
With this in mind, one of the most important things you can do for your photography business is to become an art marketing student. Learn everything you can, and put it into practice immediately.
To this end, we built a resource for our customers called The Success Plan – an in-depth, course-based educational portal that teaches photographers and fine artists of all experience levels what strategies are working right now and how to implement it with their own businesses.
And it doesn't take much to see results – spending just a couple of hours a week on marketing your art will put you at the top of the pack amongst photographers that are simply sitting back and waiting for the sales to come to them.
5. Provide an Improved Buying Experience with Augmented Reality
This feature is so profound, it has us asking whether it will change the art market as we know it.
Augmented Reality is the future of selling art we've all been waiting for, and it's here today. In 2018, we built this functionality right into our software and called it Live Preview.
Live Preview allows your buyer to see your art in their own space. They hold up their phone, and through the screen your images are placed on their wall. From there, they can change the size, move it around the wall, and find the perfect match for their needs.
There's no app to download, it works right in-browser - opening and closing seamlessly on every product page.
And, our favorite part, it destroys all the old objections:
- I'm not sure if the colors will work with my wall
- I can't decide which size to get
- I can't tell if it will work well with my other pieces
- I'd have to see it on my wall to know if it's right
With AR, your customers can experience complete confidence in their purchase. It's easier for them to make an informed buying decision, and you'll sell more art and process fewer refunds as a result.
Take this example, from photographer Jim Livingston.
Jim, while on the phone with a potential customer, suggested they use Live Preview with Augmented Reality on his website to help make their decision and he ended up selling two 12 foot murals.
Not long after he followed the same exact process with another potential customer, this time selling an 84 inch tryptic to be hung in an AIG office.
Bringing It All Together
What could you accomplish if you had a strong niche, a proper art gallery website designed to sell your photo prints (including in multi-panel sets), an easy-to-follow marketing plan that actually works, and the most cutting-edge implementation of augmented reality available to photographers anywhere?
With these 5 things in place - how much better would your odds at success be? Whether success to you means quitting your 9-5, saving for retirement, funding travel, or just taking your photography business to the next level.
We designed our all-in-one photography business solution to address each of these 5 challenges.
So that you don't have to spend years working on each of them. We'll give you the features you need to join the ~5% of photographers with a proper art gallery websites, and we'll give you the marketing plan to make the most of it.
Get started today with a single click by requesting a demo.
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