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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

No time to write today, so here's some recent e-mails:

Dave -
I received my copy of ImagePrint. Although their web
site says that Version 6 for Windows is not yet
released, the version they sent me is 6. Some nice
features added.

I want to try Red River semi gloss paper with the
ImagePrint profile. The paper costs about 1/2 the
price of the Epson or Kodak and is archival with the
2200 according to the RR web site. - J.C.

- - -

Account Status:  Awaiting Verification
Approved:        Yes
Interest:        4.0
Client ID:       3082010
Above is your  mortgage / re f i n ance  information. 
Your info has been processed but we are waiting
for you to complete our company finalization form.   

{Yikes, and I didn't even know I had applied for a mortgage.  Must've been that darned cat.}

- - -

I often get e-mails asking whether it is possible to make a living selling photographs on the web, or for advice about moving into this realm.  Here's the last response I wrote:

Hi J.,

Here's the story:

It ain't easy.  I have managed, barely, to survive selling prints on the web
(though there have been a couple of other big jobs that have come along at
just the right moment to save me such as a big sale to the Hilton Millenium

I have been selling prints, mostly through the web, since Dec. 1999.  I
worked part-time as a programmer at an ad agency until three years ago to
make ends meet.  This is the third year that I've survived without any
non-photographic income.  This is very very rare and it has something to do

1) I built up the web site and got a real feel for what sold and what didn't
and what was possible - while I still had one foot in the corporate world

2) I am single and live frugally - in a one room apt on the upper east side
(where I've been for ten plus years so the rent isn't horrible)

3) I have enough money in the bank so that if things really get rough, I can
pull out $5000 in a year and not deplete everything in the account (leftover
from the boom computer days)

4) I of course do all the web site design / programming myself

5) I have had a long time now to develop a good collection of pictures and
to learn the ropes


1)  Figure out what your keyword phrase is and how to get it into search engines and all
that - and try and build up the number of people coming to your site.
Remember, I sold one or two prints from my web site the first year!  And I
know photographers who have not sold a SINGLE print in a year from their

2) You will need to have a site that can be easily changed in terms of stock
and prices; and experiment with what people will pay and for what size.
This is a never ending experiment.

BACK TO YOUR SITE.  For me, this is the BLOG which is the most popular part
of the site where new images are put up and people get a chance to make a
more personal contact with me.  MAYBE ITS A NEWSLETTER; MAYBE IT'S A
CONTEST; I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL WORK FOR YOU but otherwise people will look
at your images, and most probably never come back.  You MUST make the web
experience more personal.  I have been doing the blog thing from the time
before there were blogs (1999).

4) Really try and know your audience.  Who are they and what do they want.
I don't think about this at all when I'm out shooting.  But at some point
when I'm deciding what to put up on the site, at least in the for sale
section, I have to ask myself whether this is living room material or not?

Anyway - I guess it is a long answer - but feel free to write back with any
other questions...  I don't believe that photographers are in competition
with each other on the web.  There's no saying whether someone will want one
of your pictures or one of mine.  We are individuals selling individual
works of art - not widgets.



[Reading over this reply, I see that it leaves out one important thing: have some talent and yes, be obsessed with what you are doing.]

7:16:37 PM