One of my biggest failings as a photographer has been selling myself to others. When I was doing my 365 project back in 2009 I got a little recognition and was asked several times if I was planning on selling my work. My answer was always yes...I'm just not there yet. Not sure if I lost potential sales or not but it probably wouldn't have hurt to have some way of selling my photos back then.
The biggest issue really was that I didn't even have any of my work on my own walls. I hadn't had anything printed so didn't know if it even looked good on paper. This was misstep #1. I finally got around to having some of my images printed and decided with having a landscape, a flower and a black and white printed on all the different types of paper available from the printer. It doesn't cost much to do this if you go with a smaller size just to get a feel for what your images will look like on different papers. I love black and white on metallic paper...heck I enjoy almost all my images on metallic really. This I wouldn't have known if I hadn't experimented.
Misstep #2 was thinking I needed to comply with some industry norm on printing and pricing. I scoured the internet looking for the best way to print my images. For as many books, magazines and blogs there are on every other aspect of photography there is very little on printing and selling. My questions were...do you print full page or do you leave some kind of border? Some people always showed prints with their name emblazoned on the bottom...like a poster. Other's printed with borders so the mats wouldn't cover parts of the photos and others printed full page and expected that some of the photo would be cut off with the mat. Argh...no standard way of doing it. The best thing for me would have been to print them out different ways and see how like them. I finally got around to doing this and found that printing with a border made it painful with cutting and sizing mats. Printing and matting a full page was better...sure it cut off some of the photo but usually only 1/4 inch or so around the outside...hopefully the best parts of your image are not on that small amount of space.
Misstep #3 was assuming that there is some kind of pricing standard for fine art photography. It really comes down with what you feel comfortable charging and if you want some kind of profit all of your sales. I think I have a pretty decent price on my images...I've sold one 4x6 image in the 1+ year I've had my Smugmug account. I think I have $1.76 sitting in my account waiting for me to spend.
That brings me to misstep #4...not promoting myself effectively. Or rather not really liking the idea that I may have to spam my friends and family on Facebook and other social networks in hopes of selling my work. This I have not gotten over and is the single most frustrating aspect of being an artist...for me. You know...those time honored questions have entered my head...does my work just suck? or is my audience not the right audience for my work? back to my work must suck. You know the drill.
Okay...this blog post was not intended to detail my missteps. It was supposed to be about me having a Smugmug account and that as of today I'm using the new Smugmug designs.