15/03/10 23:18 Filed in: The Marketplace
make custom gifts at Zazzle
How many of us, as photographers, down through the years have produced images that we though would be perfect for a poster, a postcard, a greeting card, etc,, only to package them up and send them off to a stock photo agency or upload them to a stock photo site, sure that their perfection for that certain use would be immediately obvious to the receiving editor and the royalty check would be soon rolling in, only to have the image flatly rejected and returned to your files? It's happened to me more times than I can count!
Well one benefit to the technology that has emerged over the past few years is the ability for individual artists to create their own design and float them in the marketplace to see if anyone notices.
I've been fooling around for the past month or so at Zazzle, one of many online do-it-yourself, print-on-demand sites that allows artists to create their own merchandise for sale. As a photographer, I can take that image that all the editors overt he years have rejected for a variety of reasons and by-god put it on that t-shirt or poster that I always knew it was perfect for.
It's not a new concept, it's been around for a few years, but it is one I've decided to try out in this age of dwindling stock photo commissions and hard-to-track-down clients. Lets say a photographer takes a photo of a dog catching a frisbee. He uploads it to a microstock site where it might end up being sold for as little as a dollar or two, out of which he might get a 50 cent commission. He can take that same image, incorporate some sort of catchy phrase and design his own poster at Zazzle, chose his own commission rate, which will determine the final selling price of the product. If someone orders that poster from Zazzle, that photographer can make from about $2 up to as much as $50 or more per sale. Individual artists also have a hand in marketing the products via many online options such as facebook, twitter, squidoo, and even their blogs. So, in theory, the artist has a good product and markets it effectively, he or she could end up making more money by designing and marketing there own products at a print on demand site.
We may not like the direction our industry has taken over the last few years, but the reality is that the changes are here to stay, and a new way of thinking might be necessary to survive as a professional photographer. One of the ways you might consider, is marketing your work on a site like Zazzle.