A Photographer's Journey into Online Print Market

March 17, 2024  |  Raleigh, NC

From Zero to Art Sales: My Journey into the Online Print Market

I've always had the dream of selling prints of my photography online, but getting started in the online print market can be tough, especially without a big social media following. Let me take you through my journey, from having zero followers to selling my first few prints online.

The Beginning: Building from Scratch
I faced the initial hurdle of needing a social media following to showcase my work. The common belief was that selling prints was for well-established photographers with galleries or extensive experience. However, the evolving online market opened up new opportunities for me. I consulted with Aaron Reed, who is arguably one of the best in the business for helping people get up and running.

Growing on Social
Recognizing the importance of visibility, I began posting my work on Facebook and Instagram via Meta to start the year. Despite the challenges of algorithm changes and increased competition, consistent posting and interaction with my audience is leading to a steady growth in followers. My goal is simple - one new person per day.

Exploring Online Marketplaces
I explored platforms like Etsy to test the demand for my prints. While these sites provided visibility, they also had drawbacks like price competition and limited control. So, I decided to set up my own e-commerce website to offer a premium product. I found Jack Brauer of Wide Range Galleries and boy I am glad I did. A site creator optimized for Photography portfolios.

Handling Print Logistics
Deciding between printing independently or using a print-on-demand service, I chose the latter for their efficiency and quality. Starting with unframed prints simplifies the process initially, with the option to add framed prints later on. For now, I am learning, and based on the print type and price, I chose either Nevada Art Printers, Bay Photo, or Giclee Canvas.

Pricing Strategy
I price my prints at only 100% markup of the cost of goods sold. Arguably, I should shoot for much more. To begin, while I earn trust and reviews, I will keep it here, but I aim to increase by X% for every 5 prints I sell. Trusting market feedback will allow me to improve and increase pricing along the way.

Launching and Promoting
The timing was crucial. Why you say - because every day you wait is another day missed. I strategically launched on Facebook. Building a mailing list is a priority, and I hope to attract many followers with consistency.

Initial Success and Ongoing Efforts
The launch brought in a few initial sales, most likely pity but its support from friends and family is always welcome and I go above and beyond to make sure they have a great experience as they will be the roots to future opportunities. I know that continuous marketing and promotion are key to growing and eventually sustaining this. I've been refining my strategy with each new release and inquiry.

Lessons Learned and Future Plans
Looking back, persistence and consistent marketing have been crucial. While some sales may come passively, real success comes from active promotion. Stay tuned for more insights in future content, and feel free to like, subscribe, or comment if you find these tips helpful!