Moving from showing to selling. A photographers dillema!

The photo reflects my moods as I try to sort out my dillema .

It’s a problem. I did work in retail many years ago. I ran a health shop. It was easy then to work out costings, because there is already a working model out there to use in that kind of retail environment. You buy at one price, add in running costs of the shop, (at a standard rate), VAt etc and sell at a standard mark up price.

This is different. Not only was running retail for me now more than ten years ago, but the variables here are very different. I work from home. I spend lots of time on taking photos. I travel sometimes to get shots. Then there are all the costs of getting the precious print in your hands, obtaining the order and payment and sending it out to the customer. So, you have paypal costs, printing costs that vary depending on how many prints you order and what size they are, pricing, packing and postage costs incurred in sending to the customer, not to mention electricity, upkeep of equipment and time, website costs etc. How on earth do you start to make sense of that and come up with a pricing structure that makes a profit AND is going to tempt people to buy?

All this assumes my prints are up to quality of course. I’ve done this by exhibiting locally and selling framed prints, but as I’m limited to what I can do in this way I want to sell online. Hence, I’ve ended up with this set of questions from which my head is still reeling. Unfortunately I’m not that business savvy (not online anyway). It was different in retail. People come to your shop and you have a captive audience. Online, people look and don’t comment, and there’s obviously no feedback if they don’t. In a shop you can ask the customer why he buys or doesn’t buy certain goods, and adjust stock accordingly.

Prints vary enormously in printing costs. So do you buy in a stock of prints to keep costs down and hope they sell, or only order a print when it’s ordered by a customer, thus making each one more expensive?

Arghhh. Your comments/ideas would be more than welcome. I think I need a cool drink and a lie down in a dark place!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. prafeston
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 18:53:48

    I’m currently going through the process of trying to figure out where/how to sell my photos as well…and how much to charge.


    • chriscaff
      Jul 27, 2010 @ 19:05:54

      I know. It’s a conundrum. I’ve decided that networking on sites such as facebook, with people I know in business who have websites, etc is the way to go. I’ve also decided NOT to sell myself cheap. I spent years at University, many years behind a camera and won’t be going for the bottom end of the market. I get my prints done at a pro lab and they are guarranteed not to fade etc, so I expect not huge volumes, but what does go out I will be able to say hand on heart are Quality. Good luck with your venture too. Maybe let me know how you get on?


  2. janechese
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 18:08:10

    hi Thank you for sharing your comment re blue ice. I read a great blog by Darwin with his links yesterday on photography and being a professional.Really funny and a pro. Check out his blog if you haven’t already.


    • chriscaff
      Nov 21, 2010 @ 18:25:34

      Many thanks for that Jane. I’ll have a look at Darwins blog. It’s always good to find other photographers willing to share and discuss. Thanks for your message. Visit me anytime!


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