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Sell Your Digital Photos as Cards!
Make money with photography by printing postcards of your pictures
This is a really fun, and often effective, way to sell your digital photos. There are so many ways to make money with photography and it's always worth diversifying. So this is one avenue that could be pursued alongside a range of other income streams.
Most keen photographers who have learnt to take decent quality images have found themselves wondering how to sell photos as postcards. It seems like something that should be easy and for which there must be a good demand - right?
Right! But, there are some pitfalls and it can be awkward knowing quite where to start if you have no experience of this kind of thing. It's in that murky area between amateur and professional photography.
But whether you're doing it for a bit of fun or to add a healthy slice of revenue to your overall income, it is essential to be organised and take time to plan the process sensibly - it's not hard to make a loss!
So, let's look at what you need to do to sell your digital photos successfully and where to sell your photos.
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The Planning Stage: Preparing to sell your digital photos as cards
As you sit down and plan how to sell photos as cards it will soon become obvious there's a bit of a dilemma...
Cards are cheap, not many people print them for much less than they can sell for, and you're going to have to split the proceeds with distributors. So if you're working to a small margin of profit, and then a distributor takes up to 50% of the sale price, you'll probably be looking at a loss!
Bad news. But stop there, a few simple steps at the planning stage will ensure this little venture is actually a fantastic way to make money with photography:
1. There's no way of avoiding the fact that if you want to sell your digital photos as cards for a healthy profit you need to increase the margins. The easiest way to do this is print large batches of cards in one go for a discounted price.
Search online printers for the best prices and get on the phone to local companies to see what their best offers are. Print a batch of 50 cards and you'll do well to break even; print 5000 and you'll be free to mark-up the sale price for a healthy profit!
2. Hang on a minute! You've never tried to sell your digital photos before and suddenly it seems that you have to risk money on a big print run. Good point - and that is exactly why it's essential to do a test run and see which of your pictures sell best first.
Get a small number of cards printed and distribute them locally. The first time I did this I was really surprised (and quite disappointed!) at which photos sold well and which didn't.
Some of my favourite pictures where consistently left on the rack whilst others where flying off. Never presume you know which of your cards will sell best before doing a test run!
The test run is also an opportunity to experiment with placing your cards in different locations at several outlets. Take note of whether those near the checkout, near the entrance, or in the middle of the room do the best.
Now you are able to place an order for a large print run with far greater confidence!
3. Ask potential distributors when the best times of year for card sales are. I live somewhere that attracts lots of tourists during the summer months so that's the best time for me. This is probably true for a lot of people, but do use the knowledge of local shop owners to help you out.
I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing else to learn.
- Pablo Picasso
The Printing Stage: Sell your digital photos for a profit by getting the printing right
So having seen which pictures went down best with people in the test run, you can now place a big order for cards with only those popular images on!
As we've seen, the key thing when selling your digital photos as cards is to keep the print costs down. But you don't want to sacrifice too much quality in the process.
Don't be impatient and rush in to ordering from the first printing company you find. Compare prices and investigate all the options.
Here are 3 very good companies that I have used:
1. Moo: The best quality I have seen for postcards and greetings cards; but you do pay for it. Large batch prints will bring the costs down and the high quality enables you to charge a little more. If you think the people in your area are happy to pay more for better quality this would be a good option.
2. PhotoBox: A brilliant all-round printing company. Their website is easy to use, prices fair and quality good. Their bulk discounts are pretty generous which make them a good resource when trying to sell digital photos as cards for a nice profit.
3. Vistaprint: Fantastic value. Vistaprint put on a lot of offers and keep their prices low. Their bulk discounts are superb. Not quite such impressive quality as Moo, but if your main concern is to lower printing costs this is a good option.
Here are 2 key things that I've learnt when selling cards that relate to the printing stage:
1. Always, always include contact details on the back of postcards and greetings cards, as well as any website address from which you sell digital photos. (My reviews: Photography website templates from Wix and photography website templates from Squarespace.)
I often discover artists or photographers through little reprints of their work on cards. Equally, I have received lots of emails from people saying they bought one of my postcards and would like to purchase a print of it.
Apart from being a great way to make money with photography, cards are a fantastic promotional tool if you sell your digital photos online!
2. The first time I sold my photos as cards I received a lot of feedback requesting that the place names of the photos should be included on the back.
If this is too much hassle for you to sort out, don't worry, but I did see a slight increase in sales when I started doing it.
The Distribution Stage: Where to sell your photos and how to maximise profitsSo, the big question: where to sell your photos!? Ok, this is the big advantage of selling postcards and greetings cards. Whilst they may be cheap and require large print runs to become profitable - they can be sold just about anywhere!
Seriously, don't hold back from asking any local business from distributing your cards. They are small and people purchase them as impulse-buys! It's easier to turn a profit on the sale of a single framed print but much harder to find somewhere to display it.
So, a few examples of where to sell your photos when printed as cards:
Gift shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, churches, dentist's surgeries, grocery stores, stationery stores, post offices, camp sites, community centres and anywhere remotely near tourist hotspots!
Since people pick up cards as impulse buys, I've found it's much easier to sell digital photos when they are placed on the check-out counter. They can be scattered in a basket or placed on a little rack.
Be sure that both you and the distributor write down the exact number of cards you have left with them, and the agreed percentages.
In time you will learn which outlets are the best places to sell your digital photos from and which are less successful.
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Here are my thorough reviews of the best online photo printing companies I have used. These should help you to sell your digital photos successfully by finding the right printers.
If you are interested in using the power of the web to help you make money with photography, why not check out the advice in the 'How to Sell Photos Online' section of Photography Art Cafe?
Have Your Say and Share Your Photos
Ever tried to sell your digital photos as cards? Share your stories and experiences. Have you made a good profit? What have you learnt? Do you enjoy doing it?