Why Not Sell


     Why don't I sell my work? That basic question has been asked of me in a few different ways and times. I usually try to answer simply, just pointing out that it is more work than some may realize and I don't want that at this time of life. Even though I may look young, strong and handsome, I am an older retired person.
    Seriously, while most of that short answer is true, it does deserve some elaboration. I have given some consideration to the matter and here are some of my conclusions:
    Even saying 'it is more work than some realize' is an understatement. Even taking the pictures, usually the most enjoyable part, requires time and energies beyond my ability. A seller must have stock. If a buyer is looking for something specific, and they usually are, they will return to where they have found things before. If they look and don't find what they seek, no matter how good the other stuff is, they are much less likely to return. What that means is taking hundreds, even thousands of GOOD pictures and processing them.
    Then the processing. I presently may take one to two hundred pictures in a short day. I sort them and pick the best for display on the web. Maybe as many as ten pictures fully processed to this degree and the raw files cataloged and filed. This will take me two to four hours. If I were to process them for sale, I would have to spend at least that much additional time, on those same ten pictures, in order to have proofs to submit and final high resolution files to sell.
    As you may notice, I've used as much space as I usually do in this part of the page and only begun to explain why I don't sell my work. I will add alongside the pictures on this page. I'll even try to use pictures that are germane to the explanation.
Townsend's Warbler

Bandit


     Something else pertinent to having stock is displaying it in a place and manner that is convenient to the buyer. The web is a good medium but there is much more involved in bringing buyers to the site than just posting the pictures. You can't expect them to find your site out of the thousands out there without some means of bringing it to their attention. The work involved in just that one aspect of selling is more than I have time or desire to do.
    Then of course the pictures have to be arranged so a buyer can quickly find what he is looking for. I like to arrange mine more with a person browsing in mind. Not necessarily just for subject but hopefully interesting as well.
Sunrise behind Mt Rainier

Kapowsin Sunrise


     So far I have covered aspects mostly concerned with selling electronic images or files. If I were to sell any work I would be much more interested in selling prints. While it's true these can be offered on the web, everything said regarding that still holds true. The difference being, instead of an electronic file, a picture is printed and sent. I don't see that as much of a money maker.
    If I were to buy a print, I would want to see it. Not on a computer but the actual print. And when I do it has to look like more than a page clipped from a magazine. In this respect most prints are going to show much better if they are matted. Another job I don't need. In order for a buyer to see the matted prints they must be displayed; a gallery; a tourist shop; a chain store; a flea market. Each of these requires much work to arrange.
Two Washington Ground Squirrels

Washington Ground Squirrels


     And then the equipment. Some people can do things very inexpensively and conservatively. I am not one such. If there is a tool that does a better job, I want it. To me, selling my work would necessitate a more expensive computer, including bigger and better monitor(s) and more external hard drives. Of course a wider format than my current 13" x 19" printer would be a must. And a workshop for matting and storing finished prints. Some prints I would want to frame and would need all the equipment for that also.
    And then if I ever had time to take pictures I would need more lenses and cameras and doodads. Then as soon as I aquired everything it would start to become obsolete and I would have to start upgrading.
    These little guys are obsolete. Shame too. Like a lot of things you like but can't find a replacement for, soon they'll all be gone.
Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Blue Dasher Dragonfly


     Whew! Just musing on all that work has me exhausted. I think I'll go back to just musing about the photos. It doesn't pay very well but I enjoy it.
    A photo like this one probably wouldn't bring much income, but to me this is what it's all about. To capture the color and detail on this 1.5 inch long critter takes all the patience, skill and equipment I can muster. In fact I bought a new lens with these in mind and can hardly wait to try it out.
Elk jumping fence

Elk


     Probably you can see the reflection on the window. It's one of my living room windows and this very large critter was less than fifty feet away. After he cleared the fence he was in my front yard. As you can tell I live in a rural area, but not that much! He is coming from a stroll down a paved road on that side of the fence. After strolling across my yard he ambled across about an acre of fieldgrass and back out onto another paved street. From there he probably walked another block, crossed a busy highway and jumped another fence onto the Fort Lewis military reservation.
     While it was very exciting and all, I'm glad he came in where he did and left quickly. If he had jumped the fence fifty feet earlier he would have been in my small natural area with a rubber-lined manmade stream and many young plants. The damage could have been bad. But he didn't and I have this quick snapshot to muse over.
White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite


     This kind of bird isn't terribly uncommon in our area in the winter. The problem for me has been to get close enough for a good photo. This time I knew he was hanging around and others had already gotten some fairly good pictures, although not too close and with very busy background. So as I entered the area and saw him sitting some distance away and with that busy background behind him, I was sure I would come away with more of the same. As I got the equipment out of the truck and put my boots on, I watched him and he watched me.
     There was no cover other than some medium tall grass between us, so it was certain I wasn't going to sneak up on him. But as I've discovered before, birds have a tolorance zone. As long as you don't come too fast, or straight at them, or in some other way seem threatening, they will often allow you to get quite close. So moving somewhat sideways and only a few steps at a time I worked around and closer to him, taking pictures only now and then as I went and trying to act more interested in something the other way.
     Probably that didn't fool him but he did allow me to get close enough for a few quick shots like this before he flew. The background I can't take credit for, however much I would like to. It wasn't until getting the picture on the computer that I realized that in moving to the side I had moved away from the busy background. Which goes to prove, you don't always have to know what you're doing to get good results.
top of page
Back Forward