Let me start out by saying that I don’t want to sound like the grumpy old man who tells kids to get off his lawn. I also don’t want this to come off as negativity. Some things just need to be said and some things need to be addressed because the sooner the difficulty is embraced, the sooner you can figure out what to do about it.
Alright… on with the show!
I have mentored and critiqued a lot of people who want to get into photography. I always like to ask them when we first speak, “What do you want to do with photography?” Their answer is always, “I want to sell my photographs.”
Can you blame them?! Who doesn’t want to sell their photos?!
Let’s back up six years ago when my wife asked me the exact same question. I said, “I want to sell my prints to people who will put them in their home.”
Oh, Dave. You were just a young pup. So naive…
I went for it. And what I found out the hard way is that not everyone wants photography prints. In fact, very few people want them. No matter how good I think a photo would look hanging on someone’s wall, I can’t make them want it. And that was the hardest thing to accept.
Other photographers have had success selling photography prints.
I mean, look at Peter Lik. The dude sells millions of dollars in prints every year! Come on, Pete… Share the wealth!
Do I know how he did it? No.
Does his success selling prints mean that everyone can sell prints? No.
Does it mean that selling prints is the only way to make money in photography? Absolutely not.
Do I still want to sell prints? I’m not sure.
The reason I wanted to write this post is to show you that even if you want to sell your prints, it might not happen because it’s getting less and less likely that photographers will make a living doing that. That’s just a fact of the business right now.
What it also means is that there are different ways out there to make money. Even though prints aren’t selling like they used to, there are still photographers going pro.
Instead of fixating on selling prints, look for different ways to make photography profitable.
Be a trailblazer.
When one thing doesn’t workout, keep tweaking with your plan while working on something no one else has done.
So, you don’t have to be Peter Lik to be successful.
You can be you.