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Adding Value to Your Prints
By James M. Theopistos

Photographers (especially those coming from the film-era) cherish their prints. Artists however, are a bit more reluctant to create prints of their work. Often it is because they assume no one will buy their work, while other times its simply a matter of not knowing where to start. (For more on how to get started, checkout out my other blog, The Artists Guide to Digital Printing.)

Years ago, right out of college, I got a job with a company working in direct sales for about 6 months. At the time I really hated it  because working in business was the last thing I ever wanted to do.  What I did not realize, however, was how much I would learn about the concept of business during those months.

Assign Value to your Product

The first step to success is placing value on items which are both bought and sold (your prints for example would fall into this category).

Back then, I was amazed by how some of the most successful sales people could build up a relatively simple product and make it seem like the greatest thing in the world. Terms like "buying temperature" were used in reference to our prospective customers to determine their level of enthusiasm for the purchase.  Since it was direct sales this involved displaying and demonstrating the product. We used words and phrases that would cause the customer to envision themselves  using our product. All the while, we hammered in the benefits - the product could save them money, benefit their health, and so on.

Because these presentations were carefully crafted and frequently practiced during company training meetings, it was almost easy to  turn a simple everyday product into something special. It's simple. Make them think they need.Make it  valuable. Sales were made because we assigned value to our product.

Presentation: A Tried and True Tactic

Obviously prints of art and photography won’t necessarily align with the exact same approach. But consider this.

Presentation: If you are selling your work direct (face to face) then coming up with a successful presentation should be your first priority.  You don’t want to have prints thumb-tacked to the wall or loosely placed in a folder for people to peruse. Place the prints in a frame and hang them on a wall. If you are trying to keep your costs low, consider a nice but inexpensive matting to display your print. If you are selling a small giclee print (which cost you $8 to produce) and want your customer to spend $25 to purchase, the last thing you want to do is offer them a piece of paper to look at.

If you are displaying your prints without frames, consider plastic sleeves. We offer these here  but if you'd rather find them locally, you can probably find some at an art supply store. The plastic sleeves serve to lead your customer into thinking the prints are valuable and should be treated with care and respect.

If it is a mounted canvas, consider offering them a little something extra to go with it. It doesn't have to be artwork. A nicely packaged hanging kit ( we offer them here) to go along also adds value to what you are offering for example. In most cases, we automatically include these with orders containing  mid to large size thick mounted canvas prints. This one may seem a bit over the top to some, but  I've  heard of one person who actually included little pen-sized dusters with each print.

It's all about being innovative and creative when you presenting your prints. Even if you are only selling your work online, consider your method of display.  Ask yourself, and an honest friend or family member if the method you're using best elevates that "buying temperature".  And if it does not, ask what it would take to do so.  As artists and photographers we are a creative bunch. So use your creativity to sell your work. You may be amazed at how well it works for you in the long run.

Category: Selling and Self Promotion
Created: Thursday, November 1, 2012, Last Updated: Friday, November 2, 2012


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About James Theopistos Aside from being an enthusaistic promoter of the visual arts field as it relates to individual artists' success, he also serves as the acting Chief Development Officer for, an online color print lab for artists and photographers.
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