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Selling Prints-Some Points

Arun Gaur

New member

To my thread “Best themes & paper for selling fine art prints” there have been many responses from knowledgeable and experienced persons. These scattered pieces of solid contents, I believe, should be summarized in a separate thread in order to benefit all. So I am attempting to summarize the contents here. Here I have used complete extracts too from the contributions of different authors of letters but I have taken freedom of not using their words within quotes in order to simplify the look. I hope the individual authors would excuse me for that since the aim here is to provide salient points in a simple and clear way. For ascertaining the different individual writers associated with different points, the reader is requested to go to the other thread.


1. It should be our objective to make great pictures and then sell our "stuff" to people with money or else at least get it to show on walls.


1. Epson 3880 would be the most practical printer for someone just starting to sell his work.

2. All the printers from Canon, HP and Epson print equally well.

3. They may differ with respect to service and ink charges.

4. 24" wide printer should be able to cover most of our work. Larger occasional prints can be done through a good professional lab.

5. Printers with wider format than 17” or 24” do have a host of their own problems.

6. Scantily used and perfect printers even those belonging to the 9000 series Epsons can be purchased for under $1,000 through bargaining.


1. In the U.S.A., in general, consent for sale of pictures is required only if they are for ads, book cover (commercial work) etc.


1. It is important to show the work first of all. No show no sale.

2. It is tough to make a living from prints. One should not under-estimate it.

3. It is easier to get rich through writing about photo-gear than by selling photograph-prints.

4. Public may not like to spend more than one food coupon ($20) on a print.

5. It is important to get in the gallery. The curator or owner will, guide you. Wall space is expensive.

6. Non-quizzical prints that include flowers, puppies, nauseatingly sentimental landscapes, rusty farm gear, sailboats can be printed bigger than 8x10.

7. Anything not "pretty" will be difficult to sell at any price or size.

8. Black and white versions are are remarkable easier to sell as they carry an air of class. Public is not conscious of the color-wheel.

9. An approach that does not need a gallery:

Select, say, 10-15 of your images. Boost their luminance and saturation a small bit, and print them no larger than a 4x5 contact print. Matte them eccentrically, perhaps in 10x12 size mattes (stick with standard store-bought sizes here) and see if these don't do very well. They should. Small sizes force viewers to get close to see the image but do not impose themselves on buyers' rooms. By making them "precious" you can also maintain good prices. This approach does not require the gallery to risk so much wall space. It will be a very special modest corner that will have more richness per/meter than anywhere else.

10. Another Approach:

Make a selection of 20 -30 of the prettiest engaging decorative pictures. Exclude anything that invokes puzzling, politics, pain, parasites or pity! Print only 6 of them 16 x24 and take them to a decorator/gallery. Have a set of "catalog" pages with 4 pics to a page of the rest. Give a 50% commission and see if that works.

11. People like to buy pictures that they can carry in one hand.

12. For your table-top books it is good to go to a book store and see what sells.

13. Landscape photographs may constitute a crowded market, unless the pictures are very special.


1. Non-quizzical prints that include flowers, puppies, nauseatingly sentimental landscapes, rusty farm gear, sailboats.

2. Exclude anything that invokes puzzling, politics, pain, parasites or pity.

3. Black and white versions of colored prints.

1. Work is more important than printer.

2. If we do not mix photography and commerce our prints would acquire natural size on their own.

3. Buyers or posterity won’t remember the technical specs about the gear/software you use.


1. To progress, we should not hesitate in asking even the seemingly naïve questions. This would clarify various issues, help us in avoiding pitfalls and make our knowledge base more pragmatic. Asking questions is not a sign of weakness but a show of strength.

Arun Gaur


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief

That's pretty damn good! Ken's acerbic wit and my alliteration stand out well, LOL! Together it covers a lot of the issues that can be involved involved n making and selling prints.

Here's further parameters to consider: passion, joy and risk.

If you start with these balanced, then at least you enjoy a satisfactory experience. What do you need most?

Risk: If you do need to support yourself with the planned extra income, what if you fail? Can you take the risk with a trial period? Can you fit the photography in with your day job? Some wedding photographers only work weekends! So one can do a lot of hard work at no risk to your livelihood by testing the water first.


Alain Briot

pro member

It's an interesting summary but it does feature a number of conflicting points, for example "selling to rich people" and not expecting the audience to spend more than "a $20 food stamp." If they're rich, they're not on food stamps. It would make a lot more sense to say that your target audience perceives value in your work and are interested in buying "want items" and not just "need items."