Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 29 May 2016 (Sunday) 18:37
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Selling photos - advice?

my very own Lightrules moment
18,349 posts
Gallery: 44 photos
Likes: 1382
Joined Mar 2009
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
Jun 01, 2016 12:51 |  #16

My previous posts should not be taken as trying to discourage the whole idea, but to get the OP to take a hard look at the approach being taken.

One alternative might be to approach them with the idea of supplying the images, as post cards, mugs..the stuff Tom said earlier, while they supply the shelf space and both sides split some portion of the sales. Something like that may jelp vet around some of the budgetary objections.

- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
Senior Member
797 posts
Gallery: 24 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 242
Joined Oct 2014
Location: Virginia, USA
Jun 01, 2016 15:35 |  #17

If your previous posts weren't discouraging, heavens help us when you really speak your mind.

I'd print a few 5x7 & 8x10 and go speak with the manager of the gift shop, just to gauge interest, and bring up the items that Tom was kind enough to advise you on. While I personally don't think many photos will sell as much as other merchandise, and none of it will make you rich, I applaud your effort. Go for it!

J ­ Michael
Senior Member
955 posts
Gallery: 7 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 48
Joined Feb 2010
Location: Atlanta
Jun 03, 2016 10:42 |  #18

A retail business like a gift shop is more likely to be looking for a solution rather than pursue some idea that takes up employees' time. So Tom's suggestion makes perfect sense, go in with a proposal showing what you can provide and the pricing structure. They need sufficient margin to make a decent profit after providing a member discount. I wouldn't waste any time - you need to have product available by early Fall in order to take advantage of the holiday gift buying period.

Cream of the Crop
10,203 posts
Likes: 514
Joined Jan 2008
Location: NYC
Jun 06, 2016 13:03 |  #19
bannedPermanent ban

joedlh wrote in post #18025946 (external link)
I think if the zoo wanted quality photos of their critters they would have them and you would have seen them. Your idea has probably come to the minds of scores of people before you. That you think that an opportunity is there is probably a good indicator that it's not. Most likely, they won't see a benefit.

An example from my own experience might be illustrative. I'm a decades-long volunteer for a marine wildlife rehab facility. It has an arrangement with a commercially-run aquarium. I've been shooting for the rehab facility on a pro bono basis for years. There were a couple of subjects in the aquarium that I wanted to get and I was encouraged to do so. Some of them made it to brochures, web site, and signage. I started getting requests for shots where the motivation was not my interest. As the requests grew in number, I got the idea -- and more than one person told me the same thing -- that they were taking advantage of me because unlike the non-profit rehab facility, the aquarium was a for-profit business. So I told them that I was going to charge for my time, 1/2 my usual fee because, after all, I did have an interest in their work. You can guess what happened next. The requests stopped coming.

The lesson here is that you might get them to accept your photos if you offered them for free and they saw a need. If you want to charge, then it's likely that the response would be, "Thank you very much for your offer, but it's not in our budget."

Guess is true that once you are known to be the photographer providing free photos, they don't want your service if you decide to charge them... So much about shooting for free to get exposures... :)

Is just better to start off charging clients even if you don't get much businesses at first....because...sho​oting for paid gigs, regardless the dollar amounts, can be a good motivation to get better at this photography business. There are certain things I won't have learned them myself if I wasn't hired to shoot an assignment.

One Imaging Photography (external link) and my Flickr (external link)
Facebook (external link)

Dan ­ Marchant
Do people actually believe in the Title Fairy?
5,133 posts
Gallery: 19 photos
Likes: 1422
Joined Oct 2011
Location: Where I'm from is unimportant, it's where I'm going that counts.
Jun 07, 2016 01:46 |  #20

icor1031 wrote in post #18023084 (external link)
I don't know how to handle the pricing, if they're interested. Do I sell for X dollars per image, or commission - and if so, how much? etc.

This really isn't a question anyone can answer for you. It depends on the perceived value of the images and what the local market will bear. For example I sell an unframed print of the local feral cows for what amounts to US$230. A small % of that is donated to a volunteer group that look after the cows and work with the local authorities to protect them. - My subject is one that has local interest and people feel passionate about. Other local photographers sell their prints for the same/slightly less so I am in line with the local market.

Next issue is the artistic quality of the image. My print isn't just a shot of cows. It is a shot that captures the very nature of the feral cows and how they interact with modern Hong Kong and our local town. It has interest beyond "ahhh cute cows". So, do you have technically competent images of animals in a zoo or do you have artistically interesting images of animals interacting or doing something of interest beyond the initial cute factor that would make your images of interest to people when hung on a wall.

Lastly is the issue of business.
1. As mentioned by previous posters the zoo could easily have a photographer take photos if they wanted. So why haven't they? Do they even have the wall space to display/sell prints? Do they have the storage space to store the stock?
2. Businesses like that generally don't do one off deals. They aren't going to want to just buy a few images - they want an on-going revenue stream. They will want you to provide them with a proposal as to how often the images will be refreshed and what happens when, for example they get a new popular animal in.
3. They want product, not work. They are far more likely to say yes if you come to them with a proper business proposal to sell prints, mugs, key-chains that you will supply, rather than you giving them some image files and someone at the zoo having to do the work of having those turned into products.

Dan Marchant
Website/blog: (external link)
Instagram: @dan_marchant (external link)
Gear Canon 5DIII + Fuji X-T2 + lenses + a plastic widget I found in the camera box.

Scott ­ Spellman
203 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Likes: 122
Joined Oct 2015
Location: Royal Oak MI
Jun 07, 2016 02:26 |  #21

Most Zoos use an outside company to run their concessions including the gift shops and food. I work for the concession vendor SSA at the Detroit Zoo doing staff photos and video. The concession vendor very likely gets all products sold from a small number of product vendors that supply standard products to many zoos across the country. These large concession vendors are unlikely to bring you aboard as an additional vendor just for prints at 1 location, since they already have staff photographers that handle product photos with standard terms at their clients. It is worth a phone call to see if your local zoo operates differently, but I wouldn't spend much more effort on this.

My Zoo has very strict policies with permits, fees, and approval required for any commercial use of photo or video. I'm sure your zoo is the same.

Good Luck-

Senior Member
511 posts
Likes: 15
Joined Jan 2011
Location: PEI
Jun 20, 2016 22:08 |  #22

Take a look at what they are currently selling said items for. It'll help determine your suggested price point and if it is worth it.

2,075 posts
Likes: 221
Joined May 2012
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Jun 21, 2016 08:38 |  #23

been thinking about this quite a bit and have to say that Dan and Scott are correct. The zoo has a company that they get their merchandise from. The gift shop is already stocked with postcards, picture books, small framed photos and a bunch of other stuff. And while the stuff is all made by a company and shipped to the zoo, all the images are of the animals at the actual zoo. I think unless you have a super image that there just isn't going to be a market for what you have.

The exception would be if you had something unique like an acrylic or metal print. Something like that may be unique and even if the zoo can't deal with you directly, the company which runs the merchandising may be willing to enter into an agreement. OR if your image is that much better than what is on the post cards, then you may be able to work out a deal for the photograph to be used on the card itself.

My zoo does a ton of promotion but they use images given to them by people entering the photo contests. So they already have a virtually inlimited supply of excellent photos in hand that they can use for any given promotion.

sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

5,087 views & 15 likes for this thread
Selling photos - advice?
FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©

Latest registered member is tonykakkar
924 guests, 368 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018 Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.