Selling photography online is becoming increasingly popular.
Many professional photographers are using online photo sales to make some extra money and as a way to increase publicity.
But while selling photos online can be a rewarding experience, pricing your photos can seem like a daunting task.
With so many different pricing methods available, as well as a wide range of pricing on photography prints and imagery, how can you decide what amount to charge for your photos?
While there is no one-size-fits-all way of pricing, with a little research and some practice you will soon become adept at accurately pricing your photos.
Selling Photos Online
There are two common ways of selling photos online.
First, you can sell through stock imagery sites.
The second is creating a website portfolio or portfolios.
While both of these options have advantages and disadvantages, it’s often a combination of both that produces the best results.
Stock Imagery Websites
The advantage of stock photo websites is that they take much of the hassle out of the process.
You can upload your images, making sure they are well key-worded so customers can find them and then forget about them, leaving the promotion and pricing to someone else.
However, the downside is that you have less control over the pricing, and stock imagery websites take a large commission from each photo that sells.
Website portfolios allow you more flexibility than stock imagery sites, giving you the option of selling your photos as either imagery or as prints.
Photoswarm offers free online portfolio hosting, with an optional upgrade to Pro and Studio accounts, which allows you to sell your photography directly from your portfolio.
Selling through a portfolio is a great option for professional photographers as it gives you complete control over pricing and with Photoswarm, you can sell your photography commission free!
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got your own domain name and all of the benefits that provides you as a professional photographer.
So just how much should you charge for your photos?
How to Set Photography Prices
Most basic prints usually sell for anything from $4.00 to $140.00.
Images have a wide range of pricing too with some images selling for pennies and others reaching into the hundreds.
Here are a few of the different factors that can affect photography prices.
Licensing on Images
When you license an image, you sell permission to use that image in a particular way for a certain length of time. Licensing doesn’t matter if you are selling prints however when selling images, licensing is a major factor that affects pricing.
While you might charge $35.00 to allow a company to use one of your images in brochure, selling off the exclusive copyright causes the price to be considerably higher.
Read up on the different licensing rules so you know what you are selling when you sell image rights.
The customer you are marketing to will have a big effect on the price. Whether you are selling photos to magazines or marketing your images to corporate clients, keep your target customer base in mind and know their average budget.
Aim for uniqueness. If your image is unique, or is a photo of a onetime event, it will be more in demand and worth more.
Offering packages is a great way to price your prints.
Price your prints in a way that will encourage customers to buy more.
For example, selling one matte 5×7 print for $29.00, two for $49.00 and three for $55.00 will encourage bulk buying.
Try to keep your prices below “pricing barriers.”
Keeping prices under barriers is a strategy retail stores use to make prices more attractive. Use prices such as $48.00 instead of $50.00 or $99.00 instead of $100.00.
One standard way of calculating print prices is to find out how much each print costs you to produce, then to multiply this figure by four. This gives you a standard retail price.
Say a framed and matted print costs $40.00 for the cost of goods sold (COGS) including the cost of framing materials. Multiply this by four and you have a total of $160.00 for your selling value.
Of course, this is just a starting point; you may have to adjust the figure to make it work for your market.
Remember, there is no definite right or wrong way to price photos, it’s all about finding what works for you and your customers.
What methods do you use when pricing photos? Do you prefer to sell through stock imagery sites or your own portfolio?