Photographers who are interested in selling their work face a challenge, but it is one that can ultimately be very rewarding. The first step towards selling prints is to learn how to most appropriately market them. Although this can vary a bit in different areas, the basics are the same and apply to everyone in the art world.
It is crucial to first define what niche market your work is best suited for. While many photographers do crossover into several different styles, the majority of us have one or two styles that we specialize in. For example, I work primarily in two different styles, Dark Art and Fine Art. Each of these has a very different audience, although some crossover does occur, and I focus on promoting my pieces to the appropriate audiences.
When I advertise my prints online, I do so via websites which contain content that people who like my style of work will also enjoy. This cuts out a major portion of the advertising costs and ensures a higher click through rate. It would be nonsensical for me to advertise Dark Art pieces on a website for people who boycott horror movies and as specialized of an example as that is, these are the type of scenarios that you must consider while putting together a marketing plan.
Aside from specialized advertising, the two most important things that a photographer can do are to maintain a well organized website and a Facebook fan page. Some photographers are leery of publishing their images online, but in today’s world if you don’t have a web presence you’re automatically giving up a major portion of your potential sales. Images can be watermarked and you should always upload low-res copies. Although some image theft is still possible, it’s unlikely if you utilize these methods.
Your website, and all of your marketing materials, needs to direct people to your Facebook page. Again, make sure you utilize the fan page option instead of a typical user account. This will allow you to make connections with an unlimited amount of people and will give you an audience that is already interested in your work. If you engage them through regular postings they will be more likely to purchase a print that they’ve had their eye on. Doing the occasional contest or discount for Facebook fans is also a great way to stimulate sales growth.
If you’re interested in having your work displayed in galleries, don’t be afraid to answer open calls for artists. Be wary, however, of places that solicit you to purchase a solo show. If your art is only being looked at by galleries who want you to purchase a vanity showing, then you should reevaluate the type of galleries that you’re submitting to.
Networking with other creative professionals should also be a key piece of your marketing plan. Doing so has led to my work being used in movies and magazines and the same can happen for you. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to local and specialized media to request reviews of your work. This type of press, especially early on, can have a huge impact on your career.