Every so often I get to do cool stuff (like attend art exhibitions). It gets even cooler when I get to be part of the show. But there is no feeling in the world better than validation, and that is exactly what happened to me recently when a person I just met told me someone offered to buy the photograph I had just printed for him a few minutes prior on a Canon PRO-Series at the Fresno art hop.
Let me set the scene for you…
I happen to be friends with the curator of the art museum and was invited to participate in the event. Artist Marc Blake volunteered some of his work to be printed (by me on a Canon PRO-2000) and displayed at the K-Jewel art gallery for their December 2019 art hop. After seeing the printed and mounted images, I was asked to take a printer to the event and do live printing demonstrations of photos that were being taken at the event!
Umm, yea! Any time I can show off a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-Series printer, I’m all over the opportunity!
Early in the evening, a man approached me, and we began talking about the printer. He was admiring the images I was printing as he said he would like to see what his work would look like in print, but he didn’t have any images. When I noticed the camera bag in his hand, I asked him to go snap a few photos just around the area. Through the window I could see the neon glow of the Warnors Theatre sign across the street. I recommended he photograph that, because I thought the colors would be cool to see.
As you can tell from the headline image on this page… he got the shot! Now here’s what you don’t know…
Like any professional photographer would, Allan was concerned that the image had not been edited. Candidly, I prefer printing unedited photos at demonstrations because it gives the most accurate representation of the capabilities of the Canon PRO-Series printers.
I liked the image so much that I asked Allan if I could keep a copy for myself. He said he didn’t mind as I was pressing the print button. We made small talk for slightly less than 7 minutes while his photo was printing, and upon completion of the print job, we had a new topic of conversation… his work (on my printer).
The first thing we both noticed was the vivid color reproduction of the neon light. He was blown away by the quality of the unedited image; so blown away in fact that he took 17” x 12” print (custom size for reasons) across the street to show some fellow art hoppers. It was at that moment Allan realized the power of the printer! Someone wanted to buy the image he held in his hands. The image he captured roughly 15 minutes ago.
Allan was excited to tell me how many people asked him how he got such a high-quality print so quickly. They asked if he had left the art hop to go print the shot he had just captured. They pressed even further, “Do you have a printer at home” and “did you go to Horn” (a local photo lab in Fresno). Allan just pointed and said “no, there’s a guy (me) over there (K-Jewel art gallery) printing stuff (photos) right now”.
During the conversation, I asked Allan if he sold the guy the image. He said no then explained that he wanted to show other people. I wish he would have sold it to the customer for 3 reasons.
Speaking of making money, let’s talk about increasing profit for a second. Allan had an opportunity that night to make free, easy money at whatever price tag he put on that image. Let’s say for gits and shiggles he would have sold it for $20. Allan would have made $20 simply for going to the art hop that night. For those of you thinking to yourselves “yea, but normally he would have had to print that image, and there is a cost”, let me start by saying, you’re right.
There is always a cost of goods sold (COGS) that accompanies any sale of a product. Once upon a time, it was difficult to figure an accurate cost on the amount of ink and media (paper). The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-Series printers have a free software called Accounting Manager that shows every tiny detail of a print job. As you can see in the screenshot here, the printed image cost $1.43 (rounded up to the nearest penny).
Using that same $20 scenario, subtracting the $1.43 cost of goods from his $20 sale, the profit margin would have been $18.57 to Allan, for 1 single image that took less than 20 minutes to shoot, print, and sell. Without having the ability to print on demand, the photographer leaves so much profit behind. What’s worse is finding out the customer took your digital work to a big box store to have it printed, thus giving money to your competitor rather than giving it to you.
Selling photos is quite simple if you know how to sell properly. The ProPrintcast is a podcast for people that make money with print. The webisodes cover topics that range from marketing and prospecting to selling skills and making money with print!
And that, friends, is validation to the discussions I have with people all the time about printing. You don’t know what you don’t know, and if you aren’t printing and selling your work, you simply don’t know what you are missing (hint, hint, you’re missing profit margin, but more importantly you are missing a great marketing vehicle…. Your work, in your customers house, on display for all their friends to see… and then their friends will call you).