Photography 101: Selling Your Fine Art Prints

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Unless you’re Peter Lik you aren’t going to get rich selling prints. Fact. But if getting rich (and by extension famous) is your goal then photography probably isn’t for you. Photography by its very nature is an artistic creative pursuit and you are either driven by it or you’re not. It’s a passion first and foremost.

To make a sustainable living with photography you need good business acumen as well as creative talent. Talent alone won’t get you there. Above all Peter Lik is a great marketer. Thomas Kinkade was another successful artistic marketer. Although Kinkade’s medium was paint both Lik and Kinkade marketed the same.

Truthfully, I am not a big fan of either one’s work but I do applaud their business skills. Lots of smoke & mirrors, building artificial demand and trading more on fame and personality than talent. Just my opinion of course—a lot of people love their work and have made them both multi-millionaires. They’re just not my cup-of-tea. I’ve written a lot about making money with photography both on this blog and at Northrup Photography.

Fine Art Print: Perito Moreno Glacier – Southern Patagonia, Argentina

I said earlier that you won’t get rich selling prints (alone) and that’s true enough—but you can make some extra bucks on the side and it’s always an ego boost when you sell something. When I was headquartered in Mérida, Yucatan I sold large canvas prints (up to 3 x 5 feet) through SoHo Galleries, Cafe la Boheme, through word-of-mouth and through my online gallery at Indochine Photography. My prints typically sold for $350 USD to $750 USD to local expats and tourists depending on the print size and medium (canvas prints, acrylic prints, metal prints and matted & framed prints).

60 x 33.75 Inch (6 x 2.81 Feet) – Acrylic Print

$679.30 USD + S&H

551.48 EUR + S&H

£486.98 GBP + S&H

Now that I’m travelling full-time (365 days a year) it’s harder to sell my fine art prints and I rely solely on my website and online store for sales. I don’t need print sales to sustain my modest lifestyle abroad but the extra money does come in handy for buying equipment and defraying some of my everyday travel costs. Selling prints shouldn’t be your only revenue stream but it can certainly be one of your many photography revenue streams. An easy way to begin is to set up an online e-commerce store, preferably on your website. If you don’t have a website then shame on you.

Fine Art America PDF Sales Sheet

I set up my website through WordPress.org and you can view it at http://www.IndochinePhotography.me (go to the Store tab > Prints in the upper toolbar to browse my store). Another nice website platform is Squarespace and of course there are many others to boot. My store is hosted by Fine Art America (a Pixels company) and they do everything for me: product fulfilment (printing and matting & framing), packaging & shipping, accounting, tracking and marketing. Their premium service costs me $35 USD per year (not per month). I’ve been a member since 2011.

Overall 57 x 36 Inches (4.75 x 3 Feet) – Matted & Framed Print

$613.00 USD + S&H

497.28 EUR + S&H

£438.99 GBP + S&H

I’m not going to give you a tutorial on how to set your store up—I will leave that up to you. It will take you some time initially but after you’ve set all your parameters and downloaded your images it’s very easy to maintain with a minimum of effort. FAA does not guarantee sales—it’s up to you to drive business to your online store (either through a website and/or social media). What FAA does is give you a complete infrastructure to process orders: from printing to shipping to billing. FAA isn’t the only company to offer this service but it is one of the oldest and biggest.

Field Notes: I am not schilling for Peter Lik, Thomas Kinkade, Northrup Photography, Fine Art America or Squarespace. I was a contributing author to Northrup Photography in 2016 and got paid for my articles—Tony & Chelsea are still friends and I will often share their videos on this blog (however I no longer get paid by them). All opinions expressed in this post are my own and I am not compensated in any way, shape or form. I still sell my fine art prints but I don’t actively market them like I used to. I am still a registered freelancer with the Boston Globe and The Yucatan Times newspapers and will take the occasional assignment. But mostly I just travel (full-time in fact), take my photos and write my blog posts. SFD

7 responses to “Photography 101: Selling Your Fine Art Prints

    • I enjoyed writing for them until they changed (discontinued) their blog format in favour of increased focus on their YouTube channel. They’re cool folks . . . Chelsea the personality and Tony the techno-nerd. They’re closing in on 1-million subscribers.

      • They have certainly grown the business. We shot in the same places, mutual friends. At the time I had thought that area of CT had a very large number of good photographers. When we came to work in the Lowcountry I discovered half the northern prof photos had moved here for the wildlife! 😀

    • I’m not sure that I completely understand your question (sorry). This blog Expat Journal is hosted through WordPress.com (com) and is a free site. My website Indochine Photography is hosted through WordPress.org (org) and is a “paid” site. I do have various links on each site connecting them and they are both WordPress (one free and one paid). The paid site Indochine Photography has its own domain name (paid through the annual fee) so WordPress doesn’t show up in the address. If this doesn’t answer your question please let me know and I will try again. Thanks for asking.

      • Actually this was perfect. I was looking to see how you connected them. I am currently looking into paid sites. I am just not sure what I am looking for so information like this is very helpful. Thanks for posting.

        • I’ve been pleased with WordPress.org for my paid site. SquareSpace.com is also gaining a lot of traction . . . especially with photographers. You might want to check them out. Good luck.

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