Fire Photos Fan my Flames

Burning Man

Whew! It’s hot in here. I’ve slaved over a hot computer for two days to sort out my website. I’ve finally got organised enough to put some of my work up for sale. Building a website, for a photographer who is not a geek, has been a labour of titanic proportions. I thought starting off with just one set of postcards, already in stock, would be a good way to start. I tried to think through the steps needed to get this up and running. Add the pictures and relevant text, set up Paypal, follow the instructions on my site to make payment possible. It seems simple when put like that, but crikey, what a job! I’d far rather be behind the camera. But nowadays, no-one else is going to sell your stuff for you. I tried agencies, but they really don’t do a good job for most artists, as competition is massive and they tend to concentrate on the photographers that are already selling. That seems a bit short-sighted to me, as they risk losing their best earners and won’t have replacements if they don’t back newcomers.

Still, now I’ve chosen to do it myself, I’m less worried about agencies and their foibles and more worried about my brain going into meltdown figuring out how to make my website work! The heat is now on. Smouldering fire images adorn my site along with a payment method. Hooray!!!

Now I’ve learned how to do it, I’m going through my site, picking out the best images and they too will soon be on sale. I know how well they look from past prints I’ve had in exhibitions and given as gifts. I’m happy with the top quality printing service I’ve found producing Fuji acid free, guaranteed prints, so that’s as close as I can get to ensuring my customers will also be happy with my work.

Now all I need to do is cool down, get on with it,  and somehow let the world know I’m here. Wish me luck!

You could help, actually. If you have time to look through my photos, you could let me know which are your favourites. Which might you buy? Just follow the link to my site, caffimages.co.uk (link below) and leave me a message, either on here or via my site’s contact page. Thanks!

Spiral

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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!

Normal service resumed, almost!

Well, it looks as if I may fianlly be able to get down to business. A result from all those tests means I can now sort out treatment and hopefully be more consistent than I have been for years. I’m updating my website with new photos, barraging the agenices with new shots and even trying my hand at writing stories. I’m left wondering, though, wether agencies have a place for the serious photographer any more. They seems to change their minds more often than their underwear about what they want, but fail to inform their stock of photographers. So time is wasted taking shots that will never see the light of day. Despite patience that has lasted three years with a fledgling agency, they still do not communicate adequately, take months putting new images up and leave you with a sense of dissatisfaction. So I’m going to spend time entering competitions and promoting my own stuff more. Better still, I’m taking solace from my garden. Growing more food, more flowers and feeding the birds should give me plenty of photo opportunities and plenty of satisfation. Plants respond well to being treated well, reward you with food and blooms and seem to love showing off for the camera!

Tulip Tarda

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