The World of Photography–Chapter Thirty-Six–Selling and Exhibiting Your Photos

Where to Show and Sell Your Photography

Many photographers first think to themselves, “I want to show my work in a gallery.” However, galleries are not the only venue where one can exhibit and sell their work. There’s numerous other opportunities for getting your work out there for viewers and collectors to see and purchase. I will start with most of the types of venues where I have personally exhibited in or where I might have curated a show and then explore other potential types of venues to show your work.

Before we start with the information provided by the following contributor, lets talk a little bit about how you can utilize the internet to display your work. Thanks to social media, there are ample places to display your photos and videos. For instance Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are all good places to start. However they are not geared for professional quality displays of your work. The resolution they support is too limited for that purpose. Luckily for you and I, there are alternatives, such as Flickr and the per review site, Viewbug. They also both offer opportunities to sell your work on their sites. They also allow you to disperse your work to a very broad audience at little to no cost. If you opt for their free service, you are limited to the amount of uploads you can do in any given day. I however, opt to pay for their unlimited pro service. I do this mainly because I can’t be bothered with those limits. and secondly I want the sites to stay open. If they don’t get money they will close up. Flickr was almost forced to do so a few years back. Considering that I have been posting on that particular site for over 10 years and have in ecxcess of 11,000 photos uploaded there, it would have been a catostrophic loss for me.

I also utilize these sites as an off location back-up of sorts. While I do have three backp drives attached to my computer, they all suffer from the same weakness. They are all located in the same location. If my house were to burn down, all of my files would be lost. Granted I have insurance, but it can’t replace decades of picture taking and all the memories those photos represent.


Galleries are a wonderful exhibition experience, especially when it’s your own solo exhibit, but don’t knock group exhibitions in galleries because they too can be excellent exposure – especially for those starting out in exhibiting their work.

Working With Galleries

To work with a gallery, it’s important to many visit gallery openings, not only to network, but to view what types of work each gallery subscribes to showing. Meet with the curator and/or gallery owner, be polite, ask questions, express interest and if they are interested in hearing more about your work, talk about your work. More often than not, you will need to make an appointment to do this sometime after the opening reception you are attending.

Always have your iPad or mobile phone with your portfolio filed away on it as you never know who you might end up meeting at someone else’s gallery opening.

Once you obtain your own exhibition opportunity, be it group or solo, it’s important to follow a few key tips listed below.

Prompt Responses

Coordination with a curator and/or gallery owner is extremely important. Be sure to answer your emails and phone message in a timely manner. Gallery owners want to know that you remember you have a show. They may have questions or need further information or to provide you with more information about the exhibition, your pieces and/or the space.

Have Examples of Your  Work Ready

When a curator or gallery owner requests images of your work – send them ASAP. You do not want to chance not being included in promotional materials, and as a result, not having your work reviewed by the media.

Have Your Work “Ready to Hang”

Never expect a gallery to prepare your work for you. You must always prepare and have your work “gallery-ready”, which means framing your pieces and stinging them up on the back with wires and eye-hooks, etc. Sometimes a gallery will have their own hooks for walls to hang pieces on a wall. Be sure to ask if hooks are included and if not, ask if they mind you using these particular hooks or if they have a preference in ways to affix your work to their walls.

Identify Your Work and Provide an Inventory List

Be sure to mark each piece of your work with the title, medium and size of the artwork or photograph. For photography, I also like to include where the photograph was taken and if at an art fair or such where you can include a print bin of loose matted prints, the price as well. All of this can be put on a label on the back of your work.

It’s also important to give an inventory to the gallery so that they may price your work. This is typically due when you deliver the work to be hung.

Respect a Gallery’s Marketing

A gallery will send out their own marketing literature and such with their own logo, etc. Never send out any marketing material of your own using the gallery’s information or logo without obtaining their permission first. I prefer to do this in writing to cover my backside.

Stay Out of the Sales Process

If a gallery is dealing with selling your work, do not interfere in the sales process when a sale is made. That is the job of the gallery. You will eventually receive a commission check by the date agreed upon in writing.

Don’t Your Burn Bridges

If you do not get along with a curator or gallery owner, do not be rude or disrespectful. Just remove your work at the end of the exhibition as agreed upon and bring your arrangement to an end in a highly professional manner. You do not want to burn any bridges as curators and gallery owners tend to be well connected and you don’t want prevent yourself from receiving good referrals in the future.

Digital Galleries

Digital galleries are an amazing opportunity to get some exposure, but selling your work may be a little bit tougher. It can be done though. You definitely need to be there to talk with random viewers about your work and steer them toward a sale. I’ve had several exhibitors sell work during a digital exhibition. The great thing about digital shows is that you do not have to spend a lot on upfront costs as you only need to fulfill upon the order coming in.

If nothing else, a digital exhibition will help you to get your name and your work out there for the public to see. Remember anytime there is an opportunity to exhibit, do it. The more you get out there, the more you ARE out there.

Pop-Up Galleries

On galleries, sometimes there are things called “pop-up” galleries where a curator might create an exhibition space in a public space or an empty business space.

It’s good to do your research on the web for potential opportunities to get included in exhibitions in pop-up galleries in your area by finding out requirements, which may be posted on websites or by calling the event coordinator or curator listed for the pop-up space.


Check in with smaller local museums in your area and find out the requirements for submissions. For more installations, there is usually a proposal involved that you must submit. What to include in the proposal varies from museum to museum.


Getting on as many artist organization lists as possible can sometimes land you showing your work in some unexpected places

Hotel Art and Wine Events

Unique venues may become available to you, like events held at Large hotels and even event such as Wine Exhibits and shows. Some hotels organize weekly solo exhibition in their lobbies for local artists to rotate setting up and showing and selling their work at no charge. These hotels may even offer free wine and hors d’oeuvres while the chosen artist exhibits their work. The primary goal of these hotels is to offer a little something different to their guests while boosting their own hotel and hotel bar business.

Morning Markets and Street Fairs

Morning markets are a fun seasonal way to show your work and supplement your income. You can do this by offering different options of your work at different price points, such as framed or unframed and matted or at different sizes, or even offering limited edition prints. Pitching a tent  and/or setting up a table to sell your artwork and/or prints is generally a matter of a few simple factors: what you’re selling (some markets tend to limit the number of vendors per category of items they are selling), how much space you are looking for, how long you would like to rent space for and the fee for renting space. Check with the morning market management to find out the criteria for setting up a space within the market and the prices for doing so. Should you find you cannot get into a market venue due to too many vendors all selling photography or art, get on the waiting list. Vendors tend to turn over every quarter.

Street fairs are a bit similar to morning markets in that people come together with tables and tents and sell things like jewelry, clothing, food and even art and photography.

Major Art & Photography Events and Expos

There are many major art and photography events that happen in many areas around the world, you just need to listen closely and consistently keep your finger on the pulse of the art world. A couple of well-known events just in NYC are, Photoville and AIPAD’s Annual Event, The Photography Show.

Photoville is an annual 10-day event that takes place at Brooklyn Bridge Park where exhibitions, workshops and artist talks are held in containers. There’s typically also food, alcohol and other beverages available for purchase too. For Photoville you have to a submit a proposal well in advance before you even go through the curatorial process and there’s a very large fee attached to getting involved in Photoville. The payoff, however, is that Photoville is a pretty big deal every year. Companies such as Instagram, National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME Magazine and the Pulitzer Center among many others are curatorial partners at this event. If nothing more, it is a great opportunity for exposure, but the bonus is that you can sell your work there as well.

The Photography Show by AIPAD

The Photography Show, which is put together by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), now takes place on Pier 94 in New York City. They work with 115 galleries from around the world to find installations for their event. With four new sections – SalonGalleryPositions, and Discovery – the Show will offer work from both AIPAD members and new exhibitors, as well as younger galleries, and book dealers and publishers.

Local Community Centers

Sometimes your local community centers will not only facilitate workshops to teach artistic endeavors, but they may sometimes also hold artistic events, such as solo and group exhibitions in their building. Subscribe to local community center event calendar and inquire about potential opportunities to show your work in your local community centers. There may be requirements such as some type of membership, but if you can gain a solo or group exhibition opportunity out of it, sometimes it can be worth it to join.

Local Art Organizations

Do a little research on the web to find out all of the local art organizations in your area and check into what they offer, weigh the benefits of submitting work with that organization and find out the requirements for submission should you wish to proceed with submitting work through that organization.


Another way of show and selling your work is through consignment to shops, restaurants, bars or other establishments. Consignment means that you pay the establishment a specified amount for the sale of your work after the work is sold.


Sometimes small shops will allow you to hang your work on consignment on their shop’s wall space in exchange for a flat rate or a small percentage of the sale price as a type of commission. This is a good opportunity to reach buyers because, hey, folks are already in the shop to buy something, so you already have a better chance of selling your piece than if it were hanging in a bar  or restaurant.

Restaurants, Bars & Coffee Shops

Like shops, hanging your work in local restaurants, bars and even coffee shops for exhibition and sale is usually done on consignment (unless your work isn’t for sale and in that case a discretionary fee for doing so may or may not be imposed by the establishment…) These are pretty good places to at least get your work seen.

Check with these types of establishments, especially those who are known to exhibit the works of local artists, to see what the requirements are to hang and sell your work on their wall space. Even if these aren’t the best place to actually sell your work, remember, exposure is key, and can lead to sales later down the road.

How to Market Your Art And Sell Photography Prints

So you’re thinking about selling your photographs? Has your hobby reached a level where people want to buy photography prints from you? There is definitely a market for photography art prints, and you can be a part of it with a few simple tips. Whether you specialize in street photography, landscape photography, fine art photography, or any other type, you can put your camera to work and learn how to sell photography prints online.

How to Sell and Market Photography Art Prints

  • Find a Printing Source
  • Sell Your Photographs on a Marketplace Platform
  • Sell Photographs on Your Personal Website or Blog
  • Listing Your Photography for Sale
  • How Much Should You Charge?
  • Use Social Media to Promote Your Work
  • Sell at Local Art Stores
  • Display Your Work at Local Businesses
  • Sell at Art Fairs
  • Use Email Marketing Campaigns
Girl in a field

With a few basic tools and some information, you can get started selling your prints. You don’t need a bachelor’s degree or a photography program to get this part of your photography business going. Set up a personal website selling directly to your clients, or join a collective of photographers that sell their photos online. Another option is to sell your prints in local stores. There are various ways to market and sell your photographic art.

Ready to take your photography to the next level?

If you are already a professional or freelance photographer, you may already have an established niche and developed your own style of photography. Do you specialize in street photography, or are you an architecture photographer? Do you prefer black-and-white images? Maybe you specialize in double exposure photography, long exposure, fine art photography portraits, or contemporary art. No matter your art form or subject matter, it’s always a good idea to establish your own style when you go to market. If you stand out among the other thousands of well-known photographers who are selling their art online, you will most have much better success.

Defining your style is a great start. Now you need to get your work seen and purchased. Treat this as you would any other start-up and your chances of success will definitely climb.

Find a Printing Source

Professional Photography Prints

You should only offer top-quality photography prints for sale, so finding a talented photo printer is essential. You can shop around for local fine art printers, or use an online photo printing service and have your prints delivered. Print labs can ship directly to your clients if you wish, so this can minimize some of your shipping and handling costs. Some printers specialize in color photography, and others in black-and-white film, so shop around and choose the option that best suits your needs.

Black and White Photo of a Girl

If you know any photographers who print their images, ask them which printing services they use. It’s always a great idea to get references from reliable and trusted sources.

You won’t want to skimp on this part of the process because the quality you offer will impact your entire brand image. Developing a relationship with a quality photography lab is critical.  Make sure your photo lab provides any printing and shipping services you need. Look for things like:

  • High-quality prints, canvas, and metals
  • Print on demand services
  • Frames and framing services
  • Variety of sizes
  • Drop shipping

Types of Printed Photography

You may want to look into offering framed photographs or mounted pictures, in addition to standard photo prints. Decide on what price points you want to offer, and look into all the available possibilities. Some clients prefer to purchase a ready-to-hang framed photograph over a basic print.

An interesting alternative to printing on photo paper is to print your photographs on canvas, and then mount them like modern photography art. This is quite popular with home and business owners who want interesting wall art, as it resembles a painting. You can even join the triptych photography artists who form a single image by printing on three separate canvases.

Sell Your Photographs on a Marketplace Platform

Many online marketplaces exist where you can showcase and list your artwork for sale. Platforms like eBay and Etsy are marketplaces, where you list your artwork among hundreds or thousands of other sellers. A marketplace increases the competition, but it also attracts a high volume of shoppers. These online marketplaces are great options if you don’t have time for self-promotion or if you don’t have extensive marketing skills.

Do some research and look at the different fees and options for each marketplace. Most have a flat-rate monthly fee, plus they take a small percentage when your artwork sells. With the right exposure and order volume, these fees are usually worth the cost.

Sell Photographs on Your Personal Website or Blog

Building your own personal business website will let you have complete control over your sales and client interactions. This will require a little more time for building, maintaining, and marketing. With a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, you can quickly create your own exclusive, branded online store. You can use your own domain name to look more professional. These platforms make it easy to create your own online store, but it’s up to you to attract buyers. Like the marketplaces, these hosted do-it-yourself online stores usually charge a monthly fee plus a small percentage of each sale.

Some websites, like Wix, offer free and easy photographer websites templates to get you started on your personal website. Make sure to choose a template that has integrated sales options, like a photography print order form and payment processing. It’s a good idea to eventually purchase your own domain name and upgrade to a paid service. This will provide you with more selling options, remove ads, and give a more professional look.

If you don’t have the time or the skills, you can also hire a website development company that creates websites for photographers. They will teach you the basics, like how to take and process your orders, and they will maintain your website for a monthly fee. A good website developer can also integrate keywords and optimize your site for search engines so that you are easily found by prospective buyers.

Another option is to create a simple blog where you display your work and write occasional photography articles. Invite your clients to email you for more information and shipping details. You can use a service like PayPal to accept payment.

Listing Your Photography for Sale

What Should You Print?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can sell online. You may want to focus solely on photographs printed on fine-art paper. Or you may try to diversify the items that you offer and explore mediums like wood, metals, or canvas.   If you notice that one of your prints is more popular than others, you may want to try offering it on a variety of items.

You can print on mugs, pillows, t-shirts and many other novelty items. You can print in color or stick to black-and-white photography. Some photographers are doing well selling fine art tapestries. Take a look at how other photographers are succeeding to help give you some ideas.

How Much Should You Charge?

How to Price Photography Prints

How much should you charge for your prints? This is a very important question to research before selling your photographs online. You don’t want to overprice your items and drive away potential customers, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short. What is a fine art photograph worth? If you have never sold your photographs before, this will require a little research and experimentation so you can be competitive with other fine art photographers who are selling online.

The best way to find your price range is to look at what other photographers are charging for similar work. Try to position yourself in the average price range and plan to make adjustments and modifications. Keep your eye on the market prices so that you remain relevant and competitive.

Offering occasional promotions and giveaways is a great way to get potential clients interested and interacting with your work. Grow those potential clients into real buying customers!

Keep in mind that packing and shipping costs are part of your pricing structure. Try to find a balance between economic rates and reliable services. You need your artwork to be delivered undamaged and on time, at the lowest possible cost.

Look into your local delivery services and also make sure to research international export laws and regulations if you decide to ship worldwide.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Work

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are great platforms for marketing your work. Your followers are all potential customers.

Instead of selling through your personal page, create a business page to feature your photography prints. Take advantage of all the business strategies that these social media services offer. There are advertising options that can help you promote your page. Research the different advertising packages they offer to help increase your exposure.

Be sure to ask your friends and family to like and follow your page, and ask them to share your page with their own friends. As more people realize you are selling photography prints, word will quickly spread.

Read up on ways to gain followers and start interacting with the people who are genuinely interested in your work. Write photography-related posts about industry news, photo tips, photographer quotes, and be sure to let people know when you’ve created new artwork. Do everything you can to keep your followers interested. Post regularly to ensure visibility. This can become time-consuming, so try to plan and schedule posts that are written beforehand.

Use Email Marketing Campaigns

If you’re able to collect email addresses through a raffle or giveaway, an email marketing campaign can be a very effective way to increase sales. Try to collect email addresses whenever you can, using Facebook, Instagram, advertising campaigns and local contests. Don’t forget to include the email addresses of your previous customers. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people so that they don’t forget you.

You Can Do It!

Are you ready to jump into the game and sell your photographs? While it’s a lot of hard work, it’s also a rewarding experience. To be successful in selling prints online, you’ll have to stay on top of your orders and client communications.

Marketing your photographs and getting noticed will certainly take additional effort on your part. Try to focus on the sources and outlets that you know are manageable. You may want to go all in and invest full time to earn a profitable wage. Or you may want to take it more slowly and start out selling as a hobby to earn a few extra bucks. With some work and determination, you will be selling your artwork online, and you’ll feel proud to know that people are purchasing your photography to hang in their homes or businesses. It’s a great feeling!

So you’re thinking about selling your photographs? Has your hobby reached a level where people want to buy photography prints from you? There is definitely a market for photography art prints, and you can be a part of it with a few simple tips. Whether you specialize in street photography, landscape photography, fine art photography, or any other type, you can put your camera to work and learn how to sell photography prints online.

Resources, “where to show and sell your photography. ” by Dawn M.Wayand;, “How to Market your Srt and Sell Photography Prints.”;