The following is a guest post by Camera Stupid friend and Idaho photographer Chad Fish. Chad has taking pictures for about 20 years and started as a teenager. He’s always loved capturing the beauty that he sees everywhere around him and sharing it with as many people as he can. He also loves sharing what he’s learned about photography with others. See more of Chad’s work on his instagram or on Facebook page.
In November I decided to try my hand at selling a 2016 calendar. I thought I would put together a few tips and things that I learned during the process that might be able to help you if you’d like to create a calendar from your photography in the future.
Tip #1 – Give yourself time to prepare. Start organizing pictures in October or earlier and do your research to find the best vendors and pricing you can. For me Vista Print did a great job and was by far the least expensive. My customers loved the quality. Bay Photo has some nice looking options for photography calendars as well.
Tip #2 – Location! For a landscape photography calendar, people really wanted the name of the location listed on each image in the calendar. Depending on the vendor you use to print your calendars, you’ll need to add a text box to the picture prior to submitting it. That was one drawback with Vista Print. I could not customize the picture or add a caption once it was submitted.
Tip #3 – Get the word out early. I was thinking that I would maybe sell 10 or so calendars. I ended up selling over 80! I took quite a bit of time to place additional orders because I underestimated the amount of orders and I didn’t put as much original effort into the design as I would have wanted to.
Tip #4 – Pick your best work. I was amazed at the exposure the calendars brought to my photography. Many people ordered a few copies for gifts. I had orders come from all over the country including Arkansas, New York, and Arizona. It’s a fun challenge to choose 12 of your best images.
Tip #5 – Order Extras. I built in enough profit margin that I had room to order extras, and I’m glad I did. I took one as a white elephant gift to my wife’s work party. It was “stolen” a number of times which allowed quite a few people to see it. That brought in 3 additional orders. With something like this, word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. I had neighbors and friends that didn’t originally order that asked if I had more they could buy before Christmas.
Tip #6 – Pricing. Make sure that you give yourself a profit. Don’t sell yourself short. If people are excited about your work they will be willing to pay. Also, those ordering from out of state will fully expect to pay shipping, so make sure to include that. For me I found that it was less expensive to ship direct from the vendor than it was to reship them myself.
If you have any questions about the process don’t hesitate ask in the comment section below this post.