No one wants to buy your prints partially because of the fact that you (if you’re reading this), are most likely a nobody in the photography industry. That’s a very broad and general statement, but let me explain.
It’s a known fact that photographers have been printing less and less over the years. Part of it is because we don’t need to, and instead distribute images online through communities. This is inherently built into the current crop of photographers coming up these days. They understand Polaroids, but they don’t understand prints. Like, seriously, what do you do with them?
Of course, not all of us are of this mentality.
Where lots of photographers fail these days is going low tier with their prints. Prints to begin with are considered a high tier process for purchase. So with that said, you should honestly have high tier pricing and use high tier quality when it comes to making a print. No more of this Costco and WalMart printing, and much more, printing at home with the likes of Epson, Canon, and Red River, or using a service like AdoramaPix, Blurb, WhiteWall, etc. It’s time to make people care about printing by going bigger and better in quality. Small prints do nothing for people in the same way that small paintings do nothing. But larger than life prints really end up captivating people. Go to any gallery and you’ll see this with paintings, for example.
Prints, though, have to be functional. Not a lot of people equate photography to art simply because so many people do it all the time. Everyone thinks they’re a photographer, but not everyone considers themselves to be an artist when it comes to the medium. Creating true art vs capturing a scene and calling it art is a good place to begin. In the same way that one can create a painting, one can create a photo using set design, unique ideas, etc.
So typically with many non-professional photographers, the people who buy prints are friends, family, etc. Folks usually buy a photo as a favor at times too (it’s true, don’t even kid yourself). If you’re a professional, that’s a different story. Brides love buying blown up photos of themselves from their special day. Actors and actresses need headshot prints. The list can go on and on.
But what otherwise makes a person want to purchase a print? I’ve done it: and that usually for me has to do with the fact that I have a personal investment and trust in the artist or the cause if I’ve won the image at a charity. As it is, that’s one way: convince someone to buy your prints for a good cause or to support you and your very good work. Of course, you need very good work to even begin considering any of this.
Then take that a step further: the reason why people sometimes buy art is for bragging rights. I own a Banksy for example, and love telling people when they come over for a dinner party that they’re sitting under my Banksy. My friends end up Snapchatting it, talking to me about it, etc. Why? Because Banksy is a much more famous artist than any of the other folks that I have on my walls. Someone famous with lots of Instagram followers or a large name overall in the industry may elicit similar reactions. Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz, Joe Acguire, Amanda Aiken, Mark Beckenbach (our Copy Editor), Gretchen Robinette are all artists with some sort of fame or that I have a personal interest in who have work adorning my walls. So targeting people that actually care about art and photography matters.
Most of those people are millennials that realize they need artwork for our apartments because we’re never going to be able to afford to purchase a house. Once we get to the age where we understand that we need pretty things in our apartments besides bare walls, it all starts to make sense.
Then there are collectors: and sometimes these folks are hard to get to simply because they want to keep a low profile.
It all begins with you and how you build yourself as a photographer or how beautiful/creative your work actually is. So then it becomes a decision on your part: will it be easier to build yourself as a photographer or to create something truly unique that someone will want?
You’ll need to figure that one out.