Should Photographers Do More to Sell Prints?

Shoot, edit, print, display.

Shoot, edit, print, display.

Shoot, edit, print, display.

Shoot, edit, print, display.

This is the pattern that the majority of photographers are doing to sell prints. The display is the only thing that differs from photographer to photographer, and the only way that it truly differs is where you choose to display your work. Some display their photography in art galleries, some in art shows, and some just display their photography online. There’s really no right or wrong way to sell prints, although it might feel like there is since some photographers have a lot of difficulty selling their prints.

The difficulty that comes with selling photography prints begs the question: should photographers do more to sell prints? There are so many ways for photographers to break out of the usually selling routine that might pay more dividends in the long run.

Stop Doing the Same Thing

Whenever I travel to Haiti, we always pass through local markets. These markets are like their Wal-Mart. They can find everything they need there; food, clothes, machinery, everything. The one thing that I always notice is that there are always people selling mangoes. That’s fine when it’s just one person, but there will usually be about five or more mango stations in a row. Every mango sales person has their mangoes displayed exactly the same and on sale for the same price. From some microloan owners that I’ve talked to, they are usually shocked when they don’t sell any mangoes.

Photographers do the exact same thing. Every photograph is high quality, printed on high quality paper, matted, framed, and sold around the same price. I would bet that if you put five photographers in booths next to each other, their displays would be extremely similar to one another. And yet photographers are shocked when they don’t sell anything. Whether you’re selling mangoes or photos, you can’t do the same thing as everyone else and expect more results.

Switching it up

Have I mentioned in this post that photographers are doing too much of the same thing and expecting different results? Yes? OK, I just wanted to make sure. It’s time to switch up your photography displays, thinking outside of the box.


Maybe you need to work more in digital art and compliment your photography with graphic effects and text to create prints that more people will buy. I’ve been working on doing this and I’ve actually sold more of these than prints in art shows. Not only have I sold more, but I also don’t have to stand at my booth for days on end. I just put them on my Etsy site and let Etsy do the rest.

Maybe you need to try working with different papers and surfaces. Canvas is very popular right now, but it’s also starting to be way overdone. Print on wax paper, wood, or on papers that have interesting textures instead. Work on getting your work to stand out rather than blending in. Trust me. You’ll be happier with the results.