Why I’m currently preferring to sell my photos through SmugMug.
The short: laziness
The long The juice is worth the squeeze and I can still specialize for unique sales with local businesses.
I really have a desire to help local, privately owned business and partner or work with them if I can, but it’s simply a lot less work and money for me right now to use SmugMug.
Consider this: I paid roughly $5.00US for a 12×14 glossy print at a local business and then matting was an even $20.00 from a different place – for same day matting. The first location would do matting at roughly the same price or cheaper, but they didn’t do it in-house and it’d be a 7 day turn-around.
So I paid $25.00US for a matted 12×14 plus the gas to drive downtown to the first location and over a quater mile to the second location, to drop off, then back again the next day for pickup.
This also doesn’t include any acrylic, plexi or glass cover.
I just don’t feel this is worthwhile, especially if I’m trying to maximize sales.
Now; I think this is still a terrific option for specialized framing jobs. There’s a local business that has a wonderfully varied supply of unique frames that I could offer my prints in.
For what I’ll call “Bulk” orders, SmugMug handles printing, matting, framing – with a large variety of basic frames and frame/matting colors and shipping.
An 11×14 print, framed and matted on SmugMug of one of my photos is $102.08
- 11×14 print = $27.88
- Matting = $ 6.70
- Framing = $67.50
I might be able to create a cheaper pipeline – one that became even more cost-effective if I had predictably regular sales.
But for right now, I’m really not going to save all that much on my overhead for the profit I’d get and it would be a lot of time and work to do all that running around.
I know this part of the the plight of local businesses and I feel for it, but I wouldn’t shirk it. I’d still love working locally on top of this and in-between. And… if my sales quotas increased I could move more toward local as well, both helping myself and local people.
Right now, I could get a little more profit for a lot more work and the juice is just not worth the squeeze – at least not right now with my sales being so low.