The world through a lens – Sharon Lisa Clarke

I never thought as an untrained photographic artist I would be able to sell my images. As a lot of my creations are photo manipulations I refer to myself as an artist rather than a photographer. I still work mainly with post processing and don’t have the photographic knowledge of many of my colleagues, but it works for me.

I have only been taking photos for about seven years. I took a few images with a friend and started to mess about with them. I’ve never thought of myself as artistic but to my surprise I started to produce some half decent art work. I noticed my friend was selling on Photo4me so I joined, and  it wasn't long before I had a sale. Over the years I have sold 33 images on Photo4me and I’m proud of my achievements. I have sold all over the world through other outlets but mostly through Photo4me in the UK.


My proudest moment so far was when my Egret image was featured in Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover on national TV.  I also had an image selected to be on display at a Hospital. It's strange to think someone has your photograph or artwork hanging up in their home, it still amazes me.

  


The secret to my sales I think is my diversity. I have created images from most genres, ranging from Flora, Architecture, Wildlife, Sea-scape to Abstract and Digital montages. I’m a big fan of Topaz software and prefer post processing images rather than taking them. I love messing around with an image in Photoshop or creating something new digitally.


My advice is to stick at it and imagine what your image would look like up on the wall. Is it art? Would you buy it? Be diverse and open minded as buyers may love something you would not choose personally yourself. Art is very personal and it’s hard to predict what a buyer wants. Take time to look at other portfolios as you can learn a lot and gain inspiration. I view the world through a lens and everything I see is seen as a piece of art.


The dream now is to get the chance to photograph polar bears in their natural habitat, but if I can't I can appreciate all the beautiful images out there to see.

Sharon has amassed a magnificent collection of over 1500 artwork images on the Photo4Me platform and would appreciate your feedback and comments on the platform. View all her work on her members page.

Earning with Photo4Me -- A members perspective

This week we had Dawn give us her insight on how she, or rather a members perspective on selling through Photo4me. Have a read!


"One of the most asked questions on Photo4Me (P4) has to be “How can I earn money on P4”?

 

There is of course no easy answer. Some have sold well because they have a niche market, for example this past year we have seen a lot of Aviation Images sell well. One member in particular has done extremely well with over 30 sales in the month leading up to Christmas and including the month of early November when buyers were thinking about the 100th Celebrations of the start of WW1. Why did this one particular member sell so well when there are many members with similar and equally as “good” images? I believe because that artist has built up a dedicated following of his work which he has promoted on many different sites that are into Aviation or WW1 memorabilia.

 

So how can you sell if you don’t have a niche market? If you are like me and probably a lot of the photographers on P4 do not have a particular genre of photography then good for you! You have the whole world at your fingertips. I’ve been a serious photographer for about 5 years now and have been consistently selling for almost 3. P4 is the first site I sold an image on and it gave me such a buzz! Someone liked my work so much they have it hanging on their wall! I’ve deleted the image now it was such a bad image . Why did they buy it then? It was an image of a statue in the Winter Garden of a local park and university grounds. Who knows why, they do and that’s what matters, it mattered to them. It had meaning for them. Whether it was the statue itself or the place it was situated we will never know.

 

I have sold images of a single Ox Eye Daisy I took in my garden and then had my first ever go at using textures. Again not a “good” image but it sold as an A1 Framed Print 5 times in the same sale to be used in various hospitals in the North of England. Why? A simple happy image that had a soothing calming effect I guess? I woke up one day and a pal put on Facebook that there was a pig flying around Battersea Power Station. I lived 20 minutes by train from there so up I got and off I dashed to grab a few pics. This was a recreation of Pink Floyds The Animals album. I took hundreds of shots to get the right composition, I didn’t want a shot of the pig’s backside and because of the wind and the fact that it had a leak and had to be brought down many times to be refilled it was a long session but I got some good shots and this has proved to be one of my best sellers.

 

I am not a great photographer and Photoshop still baffles me! I can use Lightroom and do to bring out the best in my photos as much as I can but most of my work is pretty much as is taken at the time. I believe the reason for my success is the amount of time I’ve put into promoting my work.

 

It took me 8 months before I sold my first image on P4 and from then on I pretty much sold an image every month, more sometimes . I must have driven my Facebook friends nuts as every time I uploaded an image to P4 I linked it to my wall which was connected to my Twitter account as well! I joined various “arty websites” and gave blogging a try. I paid to have my P4 URL included in search engines, I had some of my work printed and managed to get them displayed in local cafes and pubs. I got some cheep business cards printed with my current “best image” on and handed them out to all and sundry. I even gave prints away to folk who I knew who would then go on to tell loads of folk about their “gift”. Anything and everything I could think of and it worked for me!

 

As I said, there is no easy formula, if there was we would all be selling bundles every day, its all trial and error and luck! All I can advise is get out there take all those pics and upload your best work. None of us know what the buyers are going to eventually spend their hard earned cash on but if its not up there it certainly won’t sell!"

 

Good Luck!

Dawn O'Connor


You can check out Dawns portfolio by going to:

http://www.photo4me.com/canvasprints/_/_/grossSales/_/4529

Help! Why am I not selling?

Often I get an email from a frustrated member asking what can they do to improve the odds of selling on the site. There is a general reply I would give, although I do taylor it to their specific question if needed.


In my experience, people want to see a few things. They are highlighted below.

 

 

Wording/Descriptions

 

A lot of people tell me about their personal stories about an area, a place or an event that happened somewhere. I then try to match that description with what they've told me. I then send that picture to the client.

 

I also try and find a description which makes an emotional connection with the client.

 

I don't know how many times I've seen say, Brighton Pier. Good picture but the description says "On holiday took a picture. I think it looks nice."

 

We've stressed it many times but please be descriptive with your image. Pull on peoples emotions and make them want to buy it.

 

I'll send that picture along with 4-5 others which match the description the client was looking for and 9/10 times, they'll go with a feel with the picture and an emotional touch.


For more in depth information about this topic see my other blog post located here:

http://blog.photo4me.com/post/2015/01/15/helping-you-get-your-workings-right-for-search-engines.aspx

 

 

Your portfolio

 

Another point would be to have a strong portfolio. This idea of more is better is a complicated one.

 

- You want people to see your portfolio and all the nice stuff.

- To much stuff leads to substandard photo's.

- You want to keep all the emotional storied photos and take out the "meh" pictures.

 

People look at other images from that photographer. If they see great photo's and substandard photo's they question the professionalism and skill of the photographer. Never underestimate the power of your own portfolio.

 

Notice that those who sell multiple pictures tend to be those with great photo's? Sure you have the 1 time seller because they have a specific area and that great shot of it. But notice it's more or less the same people in the "Top sellers last thirty days" It's not on the always because of the home page.

 

Avoid pictures which don't sell often. Reason why we came up with the redundant decline. Insects/Swans/Ducks/Geese/Cats don't sell often and the site is loaded with them already. Takes away from the power of your portfolio.

 

 

Pricing

 

People are also looking for the best price. Sure some can get away with having 100% mark-up and if that works for that member great. However people are always price comparing. I'll see potential carts through admin and they'll have 4-5 same images and be comparing the price. Don't give them away but don't make it out of reach of their budget.

 

 

Advertise:

 

Try uploading one of two pictures a day, do your own picture of the day. Put ads around facebook and twitter. Others have said that part of proceeds go to a charity. Do something different.

 

 

Keep up the good work!


Mike