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What makes an image commercially viable

1 Oct 2011 9:24AM
Is there a definitive answer as to what makes an image commercially viable?

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No Smile
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
1 Oct 2011 9:39AM

And thrice - 'No'
1 Oct 2011 9:42AM
Then why am I having difficulty, I have an opportunity to have two of my images printed framed and displayed for sale in a gallery at no cost to me offering me 60% of sale price if they sell, told that althought images are nice and interesting they are not commercially viable, but this is a favour called in so I am taking it, unsure which two to put forward from portfolio though.

Thankyou for your brief but concise answer Grin
aftertherain 13 4.2k 2 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2011 9:51AM
Looking at your portfolio I would guess Sunny Glade and Wooded Avenue were your most commercial images.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
1 Oct 2011 11:04AM

Quote:Then why am I having difficulty.... told that although images are nice and interesting they are not commercially viable, .

Although Barrie and Mike answered "No" to your question, the opposite is not true. Presumably the Gallery owner, from his/her experience of what sells, knows how to answer "What makes an image commercially unviable?". So ask for a little more detail of his/her reasons for saying that about your photographs.

It's a question I certainly could not answer as I have never bought or sold a framed photograph.
newfocus 12 647 2 United Kingdom
1 Oct 2011 2:41PM
Noting definitive makes something commercially viable but in the scenario you're talking about a lot comes down to the customer having some kind of emotional attachment to the image, i.e. they need to 'want' it at a non-logical level.

Things that rarely count towards that are:
- the experience you yourself had while taking the image (which is why looking at other people holidays snaps is always boring)
- the technical difficulty/innovation involved in producing it (that's part of it's cost of production, not part of it's value)

Things that do count are:
- the customer already knowing/liking the subject (such as a shot of somewhere they've just had a holiday)
- other emotional factors such as stunning scenes or otherwise powerful/funny images
- it being the right colour/style to match a newly decorated room (not meaning to sound derogatory - it's a major factor)

On top of that, many people seem to struggle to make their own buying choices and look to the approval of others for purchases, which is why testimonials, endorsements from celebrities, social media 'likes', etc, all help to sell stuff.

I hope that helps. If you can distance yourself from all memory of your experience, emotion and work you put in to taking the shot and look at it fresh as a third party, that might help you choose.
1 Oct 2011 9:18PM
Thanks for all your advice, the owner of said gallery informed me that they had the landscape photographer of the year 2011 with his work and even with all the publicity generated from that not really set the world alight.
I am not asking for great big steps, but this could be an opportunity if they are sold or produce enough attention to warrant him thinking again on a proper business footing and not as a favour owed.

Personally I have always liked strong tones/contrasts. Watch this space for an update. Smile
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
1 Oct 2011 10:01PM
Good Luck Simon.
1 Oct 2011 10:23PM
Thanks Mr forum Grin
OK LF - so what is commercially viable? I answered 'No' because based on the information in the OPs original question (i.e. none) that was the only possible answer. How can you judge commercial viability of an image without knowledge of what image we are talking about? Any and all images are potentially commercially viable

My highest grossing image ($10,000 in one sale) is of a part of a womans's handbag) and yet one of my all time favourite photos that has received umpteen awards including an international print award from the RPS, has never ever been sold.

I know a chap who used to frequent these forums who has sold an image of an overflowing dustbin and another guy sold an image of a dog turd in the street. As I say, every image is potentially commercially viable but again, to reiterate my response to the OPs question

Quote:Is there a definitive answer as to what makes an image commercially viable?
The answer is still no Smile
saturns 13 51
2 Oct 2011 9:18AM
Spot on from Barrie. Without context it's impossible to answer definitively. Anything can and does sell. It depends who your customers are and what your market is.
SophieHart 7 136 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2011 9:32AM
Photographs are hard to sell. Many galleries will not risk giving wall space to them unless you have a proven selling capability. I would suggest you know your customer, or the customer of the place you are hanging the prints in. It doesn't matter how good landscapes are if the people looking at them like portraits. If you are putting up landscapes I would suggest they should be of the local area. Size is important! Last year I only sold smaller prints while this year I have been selling 72cm and 150cm prints. (on the longest side)

The quality of the prints and frames can make a difference, again it depends on the customer base of the venue you are hanging in. I was asked if I would sell the print without the frame, to bring the price down, no. Never discount it devalues you.

I see Barrie and Sarurns have replied before me on the same lines
2 Oct 2011 9:51AM
Here are the two images in question for consideration.


User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
2 Oct 2011 10:00AM
Maybe one way into this, Simon, is to ask yourself the question:

"If Those photographs had been taken by someone else, would I pay money to buy them to hang on my wall?"

As I said earlier, I have never bought or sold a photographic print, so I am not in a position to suggest and answer.

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