Tag Archives: prints

Do Photo Prints Still Sell

One year ago I revamped my website and refocused my photography business with an emphasis on photographing junior sport in Melbourne. I have been shooting juniors to elite level across a variety of sports with a specialty in action images. In many cases it has been a thrill to see the look on kids faces when they see themselves as the subject of high quality action images. When I started shooting junior sports I expected the strongest demand would be for digital images. A year on I am in a better position to answer the question do photo prints still sell?

Action images of junior sports games have been very popular

What Did I Expect?

The first major event we photographed was a large junior basketball tournament. You can read about that in this post Photographing 1000 Junior Basketball Players.

We photographed more than 100 junior teams over 2 days. I expected the majority of demand from players and families would be for digital images. Social media is driving communication and shared experiences, and I imagined a large number of the digital images would appear on social media. I wondered whether it was worth even offering prints as it is straightforward to purchase the digital images and make your own prints.

Since then we have been shooting many sports including more basketball, netball, dance, cheer leading, volleyball, and football.

What Has Been the Reality?

Interestingly, across a wide variety of sports, the trends have been similar.

  • Action images of junior sport have been very popular
  • Two thirds of all sales have been digital images
  • One third of all sales have been prints
  • Almost no-one orders both prints and digital images
One third of all sales have been prints

Key Learnings

When starting out selling action images of junior sports I expected most sales to be digital images. That has been the case, though I have been surprised that one third of all sales have been prints.

Offering prints does come with some challenges. I fulfill my print orders through an external supplier, and ship direct to my customer. Every now and then I have an issue with quality where I may end up having to organize a reprint for my customer.

Despite those occasional challenges there is still a very strong market for photo prints. Do photo prints still sell? Yes definitely.

Thanks for reading Do Photo Prints Still Sell. I hope you can use my experience to benefit your own photography business. Happy shooting.

Selling Prints Online

This post looks at the topic of selling prints online as a way to generate an income from your images. This comes on top of recent articles which looked at building financial success through photography. Those posts are here:

There are a range of e-business opportunities available to photographers today. I have contributed to microstock agencies since 2008 as a key way to generate income from my images. That has been productive and financially successful for me. Since mid 2013, I have also been sellingĀ prints online through Fine Art America. This post covers my experience and lessons learned. (Follow this link to see my portfolio on Fine Art America)

Selling prints online

Selling prints online is a straightforward process. It suits photographers who prefer for someone else to find the end customer, while they get on with shooting

How does it work?

Fine Art America’s website is very easy to use. After setting up your account, you upload your images, add titles, add descriptions, and add key words. These are so that your image (or artwork) can be found by users of the site. One key element that is different from microstock is that you get to set your own prices – which effectively means you set your own margins. Nice. This is also a straightforward process and is done quickly and easily. Set your prices high to make higher margins but likely low sales volumes. And set your prices lower to make lower margins but likely higher sales volumes.

What do users do?

Rather than downloading an image for use, users of Fine Art America order a product made with your image. While I have titled this post Selling Prints Online, users can order a range of different products with your images on them – not just prints (smart phone covers are one clever use and isĀ a large, emerging market). In short, rather than receiving your image electronically, the end user receives a physical product with your image on it.

Why does this work?

Selling prints online works well for photographers who want someone else to find customers for them. In this case Fine Art America generates traffic to the site, to buy prints of your images. This is ideal for photographers who are busy shooting or working another job. All the photographer has to do is upload the image, add details, and leave the sales process to Fine Art America.

What has my experience been?

I have 200 of my wildlife images available on Fine Art America. That’s not many, and is dwarfed by the 6000+ I have available through iStockphoto.


Sample of one of my wildlife images available on Fine Art America

While I have outlined above that the upload process is straightforward, my sales have not been very successful. It may be both the type of content I have uploaded, and also the relatively small number of images. Overall, the sales generated through selling prints online has generated very small income. Again, it is dwarfed by my microstock sales, and hence I continue to focus on microstock while online adding images to Fine Art America from time to time (generally on really cold, rainy winter days!!)

Lessons Learned

While selling prints online has not been very successful for me – I note other photographers and artists selling artwork regularly. My observations are that they either have:

  • very unique imagery, or
  • are a well known name, or both

For example, Anne Geddes sells her images on Fine Art America. She is very well known for her unique images of new born babies. If you would like to check out her work, go to Fine Art America and put her name in the search field.

Final thoughts

Selling prints online has not been very financially successful for me so far. I’d suggest using an outlet like this to generate an income from your images if you have very unique content or a very “arty” bias in your work.

Do you sell prints online? What has your experience been?