Old 01-27-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
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I decided sign up for the Baltimore Scale Model Railroad show in Timmonium MD on Feb 4/5 and see if I could sell a few pictures.

It's 70 dollars for the table.

I was thinking of selling posters for 15 dollars (20x30, 8.99 to print) or 20/shipped.

Framed pictures for 45 dollars. (About 30 dollars to print/frame)

Am I too high?
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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I think you're too low. Not that I have a lot of expirience, but I sold a framed shot for 75 dollars and when I told a local photog who saw the shot -- it was the two trains on two trestles shot of mine -- he just shook his head and said it was too low.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:43 PM   #3
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My question to you: is your margin high enough to make this worthwhile? You seem to be sensing that there will be price resistance, and I suspect that you're right. Many people attending these shows are railfans, and unless your work is very unique, they'll decide that they could do the same (or better!) themselves. Now whether or not this is actually true may be in dispute, but as long as they're holding this belief, it doesn't matter--the wallet will stay in their pocket.

I would think long and hard before selling a product that will cost you $30 for $45, unless you are interested in mostly displaying your work, and having some of the expense paid for by the occasional sale.

Bottom line: really good work will sell for a reasonable price. Average/good work will need to be priced at little or no margin, or not much of it will move at these kind of shows. An exception is older/vintage subjects, but here you'll also run into the person looking for something very particular, such as by road number.

Good luck!

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Good advice, George. Greg, how much money do you have invested in gear?

I know a lot of railfans (and photogs in general) think they should not ask a lot of money for their work because they wouldbe doing it even if they never sold a piece. At least, that is my view of it. But selling your work and actually shooting your work should be thought of as two very different thngs. Shooting is fun. It's all about the photog getting the shot. But as I have found out, marketing and selling your work is very hard. I've had some very bad luck at it so far, but it's a learning process. Don't undersell your work because not only are you underselling yourself, but you're underselling other shooters as well. It's a fine balance of not underselling your stuff, but also not pricing yourself out of a sell.

My reasoning is that it takes more work to market and sell my stuff. Therefore, the price has to make sense for me to even bother. On the other hand, I've been telling myself for five years that *this* year is the year I'm really going to put myself out there.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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I'm investing 70 dollars in the booth. The show is only about 10 minutes from my house so that is minimal.

I estimate I'll spend about 30-50 dollars producing extra posters to sell.

So I expect to be in it about 120-140 dollars.

I'm going to bring a book of all my RP.net shots; which I consider my best, and do mail orders too.

The frammed shots cost about 30 dollars; and I have them already on my walls as a personal collection in my house.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:05 PM   #7
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Stupid browser.

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Old 01-28-2012, 02:12 AM   #8
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Let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Nothing personal- But I hope you don't go into business, why do I say this? There are a lot of other cost you're not considering: cameras, computers, gas,car, software, and most importantly labor. I have sold a lot of photos. Personally I wouldn't sell a 16x20 for less than a $100, and go much further up from there. 20x30, $200-250,etc. Anything less than that does two things: lowers the value of photography as whole, and lowers the value of your work.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:06 AM   #10
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Let us know how it goes
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:43 AM   #11
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Stupid browser.
Haha. Your edit ruined the fun.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:21 AM   #12
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I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:42 AM   #13
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I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on you.
Guess someone picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:02 AM   #14
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Guess someone picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...
Surely, you can't be serious.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:26 AM   #15
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Surely, you can't be serious.
I am serious, and stop calling me Shirley
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:51 AM   #16
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Surely, you can't be serious.
I like the smell of glue.

Especially those magic markers with the Toluene smell that makes the room spin.

I also like the PVC cement because that smells like Tetrahydrofuran and that reminds me of those chemistry lab days.

No, really.....
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:34 AM   #17
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I'm investing 70 dollars in the booth. The show is only about 10 minutes from my house so that is minimal.

I estimate I'll spend about 30-50 dollars producing extra posters to sell.

So I expect to be in it about 120-140 dollars.

I'm going to bring a book of all my RP.net shots; which I consider my best, and do mail orders too.

The frammed shots cost about 30 dollars; and I have them already on my walls as a personal collection in my house.
Can you elaborate on the posters, just curious how you go about making those.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:05 PM   #18
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Nothing personal- But I hope you don't go into business, why do I say this? There are a lot of other cost you're not considering: cameras, computers, gas,car, software, and most importantly labor. I have sold a lot of photos. Personally I wouldn't sell a 16x20 for less than a $100, and go much further up from there. 20x30, $200-250,etc. Anything less than that does two things: lowers the value of photography as whole, and lowers the value of your work.
But are those really costs? The way I look at it is this is a hobby I enjoy, and I'm going to do it either way so if I can make a few dollars off it, all the better. If not, well I'll still enjoy railroad photography
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:07 PM   #19
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Can you elaborate on the posters, just curious how you go about making those.
Costco offers a 20x30 print for 8.99 pick up in store that's mainly where I go.

Frames I usually watch the sale ads at Michaels and AJ Moore and see when they are doing BOGO or 40-60 percent off sales.

The show is next Saturday/Sunday. I'm excited.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:09 PM   #20
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Can you elaborate on the posters, just curious how you go about making those.
My first thought was that he is using an online site like mpix.com. But then I checked their price for a 20x30: $24.99.

I'd like to know where he's getting 20x30 prints made for $8.99.

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Anything less than that does two things: lowers the value of photography as whole, and lowers the value of your work.
I disagree with this sentiment. Like anything in life, there are pros and there are amateurs, and the pros can usually garner much more from selling their wares.

There are guys in every walk of life who do things on the cheap that don't necessarily lower the value of a particular product or service. If you're well known, people will pay. Proof of that is with people who will pay thousands for an ordinary photograph from a "name" photographer (and I'm not just referring to railroad photography).
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:36 PM   #21
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My first thought was that he is using an online site like mpix.com. But then I checked their price for a 20x30: $24.99.

I'd like to know where he's getting 20x30 prints made for $8.99.



I disagree with this sentiment. Like anything in life, there are pros and there are amateurs, and the pros can usually garner much more from selling their wares.

There are guys in every walk of life who do things on the cheap that don't necessarily lower the value of a particular product or service. If you're well known, people will pay. Proof of that is with people who will pay thousands for an ordinary photograph from a "name" photographer (and I'm not just referring to railroad photography).
Talk to a lot of freelancers and commercial photographers Jim- they will all tell you that they now have to compete against this sort of thing, and it has lowered the market for them. I know one who has over $1m invested in studios here in Detroit and he'd go on for an hour about this. (But not about RR photos at a train show
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:43 PM   #22
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But are those really costs? The way I look at it is this is a hobby I enjoy, and I'm going to do it either way so if I can make a few dollars off it, all the better. If not, well I'll still enjoy railroad photography
Absolutely they are cost, and to the buyer, it should make no difference what so ever if it is a hobby, or you derive pleasure from taking the photos or not. Remember they are buying a picture. Your job as a sales person, is to point out why it is a great picture worth X, and not, "I love taking train photos, and want to make a bit on the side to keep doing it." But also ask yourself, are your photos really worth what you are asking, and how do they compare with others?

Do you expect a car mechanic to charge you less because it is a hobby for them or they like tinkering with cars, that cost of parts should not take into account the $10,000 in tools s/he has?

I program robots for a living, I don't tell my customers "I like this", so you get a break, and not consider the amount of money I have tied up in computers and software.

No I don't ever expect to make a full "Profit" from my hobby, but the idea that the only cost involved pure, paper and frames sounds crazy.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:44 PM   #23
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One thing is usually true -- you get what you pay for.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:51 PM   #24
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Jim; Costco does 20x30 posters for 8.99 a piece. You gotta be a club member though; but my family is. The gas prices there are usually 10 cents cheaper than retail.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:23 PM   #25
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Talk to a lot of freelancers and commercial photographers Jim- they will all tell you that they now have to compete against this sort of thing, and it has lowered the market for them. I know one who has over $1m invested in studios here in Detroit and he'd go on for an hour about this. (But not about RR photos at a train show
But this can be applied to EVERY facet of life. I don't know why photography would be exclusive to this factor.

I think this has more to do with paranoia than anything.

If the photographer you know is complaining about not being able to sell his work for as much as he once did, perhaps he was charging too much to begin with. If the quality of his work demands the higher price, then he'll eventually get it.

If I were selling my photos at a train show for X amount of dollars, I couldn't really care less if another photographer was selling his for a fraction of my price. If we were selling the exact same product, then there might be an issue. But art is not based that way. If people want to pay less for lower quality work by an unknown artist, then so be it.
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