Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ten Top Reasons Photographs Sell

As a photographer you can have some of the most beautiful and dramatic photographs. Yet, sales may be slim or not at all. So you may ask yourself, why am I not making sales?

Here are some answers that I have learned through experience.

1. Emotion, emotive, and sentiment: Ask yourself, do your photographs inspire the viewer to connect? The above photograph is named memory lane and has been a good seller for me.

I captioned this photo with a Saul Bellow quote: "Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door. "

While the title and the quote help set the scene for viewer connection, the photo itself has evoked childhood memories from many.

I have had some viewers and buyers ask where this photograph was taken. They have been sure they have been there, sitting on the wall drinking a soda as a child.

Oddly, they have only visited this place in their memories. I have a color version of this photograph. Although, I think it is a great photo and perhaps better, it does not inspire the same sentiment.
The quotation I used with the color version:

"She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes." ~Frank Deford

So I wonder, why the sepia version sells and the color version does not? My only guess is that memories are in black and white and people can connect with the sepia version better.

2. Photographs that relate directly to the viewer: Some photographers specialize. If it is Wedding photography, pet photography, or even event photography you have a ready market.

This can be the bread and butter for your craft. One sideline I do is dirt track racing photography. And, because the drivers, sponsors, and fans can directly and emotive connect, I make sales. Plus, there are tons of other perks that I enjoy.

3. Location, Location, Location: The three prime words in Real Estate Sales also applies to photography. Can take good local photographs? If so, you can develop a local market. I do this with the Blue Ridge Parkway and the city where I live, Lynchburg Virginia.

When you take photographs at your location imagine how they would look in a business. Visualizing your photographs hanging on walls is a mental exercise that I do all the time.

4. Is it worthy: Do a self appraisal of your photographs. Would you hang a large version behind your sofa?

And for that matter is one of your photographs being displayed above your sofa?

Your taste may be different from others, but these are pertinent question to ask. Can you compete in the art market place? And if not, decide how you can.

This picture is one of my best sellers and has appeared in National Magazines, such as National Geographic. And it is behind sofas of a select clientele worldwide.

5. Exposure: We are not talking about film exposure here, we are talking about your exposure. Do you do shows, do you exhibit? The more you expose you photographs the more sales you make. You can show your pictures on the Internet, but there is nothing like people seeing your photographs in person. Get out there and expose.

6. Tell your friends: People that have a connection with you are very likely to buy your photographs. There is nothing like a photograph at a friends house. They can tell their friends I know this photographer and he is great. You might even consider gifts to your friends to increase your exposure.

7. Donate your work: Promote your photography by donating your work to institutions and charities. This both lends to reputation and increases your exposure. And, besides this is a good thing to do.

8. Have a beautiful online gallery: I have opted for SmugMug for some very important reasons. I highly recommend SmugMug and I suggest you read why.

9. Show your attributions: Attributions are in essence testimonials about your photographs. I had someone else write mine, because I am shy. Attributions add meaning to your photographs, and suggest other reasons to develop interest in your photographs.

10. Be personable: As a photographer not only do you need to connect with your photographs, but as a person. Many people want a sense of who you are. Let them know you and they will be more apt to buy your photographs. Photographs are visual emotions and the more you can connect the better you will sell.

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