So you take very decent photos and your friends, and even strangers, love your work. Armed with an arsenal of compliments you figure it is time to sell your work to the public at large. Is being good, good enough to be successful? The answer is a resounding “no” and there is a number of reasons why.
Is your work distinguishable from the crowd of other photographers?
If it isn’t then you better work hard to give people a reason to choose your work over another’s because when a person sees your work they shouldn’t get your work confused with somebody elses Look around at the work people do in the area that you plan to sell. See what themes and subjects are popular.You may find certain themes are popular and that may be an avenue to pursue. But don’t copy the work of the countless photographers who shoot that (whatever). Instead find your own individual way to shoot the subject or theme.
Do people want to hang it up in their home?
As I learned the hard way, just because people love your pictures, even the point of remarking and asking questions about your particular work, that does not mean they want to hang your pictures on their walls. If I had a dollar for every time somebody told me “I sure do love your work” I would be wildly successful (actually that is a bit of and exaggeration). But looking strictly at art print sales, while I do sell, it isn’t in high enough volumes to even be considered mildly successful. . I think part of the issue is this: while we tend to think of pictures as art, in the mind of the buyer it is really just décor.” People purchase photography to accent a room rather than to accent an emotion.
How do you plan to market yourself?
Artwork, even photography, does not sell itself. It requires more than just posting some pictures on the web. The “if I post it, they will come” attitude will net you a big fat NOTHING. Even putting your work in busy venues may not offer much in the term of sales either. Selling your work means selling yourself. That doesn’t mean that you must greet every person you meet with an elevator speech, but it does mean that you need to play an active role in promoting you and your work.
My biggest “market” is the people I know. I never push my products or services on them but they know about my work and I find ways to display my work in a non-pushy way. This ranges from posting pictures on Facebook to bringing new prints into work. Seek out even simple opportunities to promote your work.
Is your work exceptional?
There are plenty of good photographers out there. Technology has removed some of the barriers of entry and reduced the learning time for dramatically improving one’s photography. If you work is only good, you need to rethink entering into this business until you improve, especially regarding fine art. There is no room for mediocrity.