I Don’t Know

As I type, I am propped up in bed, sharing a bag of cheese n’ onion Hula Hoops (payment) with my supportive furry Staff Nurse, aka BeAnne Duvet Soufflé.

I had a batch of epidural steroid injections this morning NOT under anaesthetic (and also not by choice, I can tell you!) and now I properly hurt.

Anwyho, recently, I have been trying to think of ways to make some money from my photographs.

When we had the Shetland pony stud, I used to love taking photos of our mares, foals and beautiful stallion.

We also used to buy Shetland ponies train to harness and then sell.

So there were always plenty of Shetland ponies around.

I think my photos of Shetland ponies are different from the usual style out there.

But how to make money from them?

As you can see, from the “shopping” adverts on the right hand side of the blog, (Redbubble and Zazzle), I have tried to get my work out there.

On the face of it, these webshops seem ideal, but I get pence for the pounds my images sell for.

Some folk steal my photos – I track them down and, depending on what they are stealing them for, usually send them a furious invoice which of course is seldom paid.

I have looked into a virtual Gallery on platforms like Shopify ($29 per month) which is too much.

Which leads me to wonder whether there is actually a market for my photos.

Would anyone buy a download from my website to use for somewhere like Funky Pigeon  or Moon Pig?

So ideas please?  How can I make money from my photographs?

This is just a small selection of my Shetland pony photography, by the way – I have loads!

18 thoughts on “I Don’t Know

  1. Linda

    First of all, I hope you feel better soon. (I went through 2 epidurals and they helped me a lot; I’m sorry to hear about your pain.)

    The only photo idea I can think of is to have a “show” somewhere in town? Do you sell any of your photos in any of the shops? Mainly, an art show, featuring your photographs. And some details about you and your farm, this blog, etc. ?

  2. Sam

    Sorry about the back acting up. Is the Nursing Staff helping?
    Wish I had a clue about on-line stores, I don’t. But I do love your photos.
    HOw big a hassle is it to sell prints on your own? Have you thought about an Etsy Store here in the US?

  3. Sarah

    Making a dint in the world of photography is hard, just as most disciplines.. There is always someone who will undercut you, or slyly steal other peoples work.
    Keep trying, don’t give up, there will be a way

  4. Marcia

    My mother, soon to be 93, sells her abstract photos on fineartamerica.com. There is a $30/year fee.
    Photos can be made into prints, ( canvas ,metal) cards,placed on fabric for duvet covers, shower curtains. May be worth looking into.

  5. Judith Garbutt

    I would love a set of cushion covers with some of the photographs printed on! But I haven’t a clue about how you could reach a wider market.

    I hope your back settles down quickly.

  6. Robyn

    Hope your back is feeling better soon Frances. Your photos are wonderful and would sell themselves. Can you tap into the tourist season in Shetland when the cruise liners come into Lerwick? I am thinking of a pop-up shop somwhere in town for short-term lease, but I don’t know how expensive that would be. You could get a list from the port authority so you know the days when the cruise ships are in the harbour and man your shop accordingly. That way your work is exposed to the world in a different way other than the net. Or your could ask for some space at the Tourist Centre. Surely they would want to promote lovely photos of the native ponies. You could leave photos there on consignment and see how they sell.

  7. Eva

    Hello, sorry to hear that you’re in pain with your back, I hope your nurse is giving very gentle cuddles

    I think your pictures are beautiful and I really enjoy the way you write about your animals, you describe their characters so vividly and with such loving humour.

    I wonder if a picture/coffee table book with pictures and a few sentences about the picture and the ponies in them might be something that would seek to tourists, but also to people who want to bit presents for people who love Shetland ponies

  8. Maddi

    Have you come across the photographer Villager Jim? He sells his photography online in cushions, prints, etc. Might be worth finding out how he does it?

  9. Denny144

    Let me preface this by saying I know nothing about marketing. But I do know what’s selling on Etsy and what appeals to pony crazy little girls: wearables like screen printed T-shirts or sleepwear that can be personalized; party invitations, party favors and goodies bags for horse themed parties; pillows in all colors with ponies on them. Think way outside the box to make your products stand out from everything else. This is probably way more work than what you were looking for but it certainly goes beyond traditional photography.

  10. libby griffin

    A few of the blog sites publish a calendar every year. They have worked it out that they only print what they sell. This may be something you may like to consider. Reddirtinmysoul is one of these blogsites.

  11. Ali

    Hi Frances
    As a daily lurker on your beautiful blog, I plan to approach you directly about purchasing some images when I know what I want/need (moving house shortly). Partly because I think your photos are beautiful and partly because I appreciate the work you do for/with your ponies.

    In my opinion, your blog is a great (but passive) place to showcase your art on the internet. Maybe a little activity on instagram/pinterest/twitter would help actively promote your work. As others have suggested, I would also recommend trying to sell to cruise visitors – my guess is that they will have luggage limitations so maybe offering to organise shipping will help there.
    I would also consider the approaches that other photographers use to sell their art – often on their own website. Obviously, a self-hosted website is quite a bit of work so it may not be a perfect option for you.

    Just my thoughts of course 🙂

  12. Terri

    I think that larger projects might result in more income than selling individual photos. I would be very interested in a book on the history of Shetland ponies with photos, including landscape/seascape photos. (Many of your photos are hauntingly beautiful.) Perhaps Daisy could help with the research, since she’s studying equine science. (But you are likely already an expert!) Or a children’s book with photos and narrative/story. You are a wonderful story-teller and inject mirth and whimsy into everyday Shetland farm life. You have already written some amazing stories on your blog!

    Another idea would be to make a documentary film on Shetland ponies, incorporating your still photographs too. Perhaps the BBC would be interested in funding it, or you could make it yourself and market it? In any case, think BIG!

    So sorry you’re hurting today — OUCH! Thank heavens for Staff Nurse BeAnne. She demonstrates how to relax!

  13. Tony

    My brother in law is just making a name for himself as a landscape photographer. He uses a web site called “behance”. He also enters competitions, and displays at local art expos.
    I notice someone else mentioned fineartamerica, we have a couple of similar ones here where they will make prints cushion covers towels etc using your photos.

    Just double check if you are using these web sites because some of them I understand you give up your copyrights, so read the fine print.

    Good luck Love your pics

  14. Louise Stopford

    Sorry that you are hurting today and hope that you will soon feel better. Love your “Nurse” – she could give you a few tips on how to take it easy. I hope she’s pulling her weight and looking after you well. I don’t know much about how you can market your photographs. All I do know is that they are absolutely magical and will easily sell themselves (when you find the right way to approach it). Lots of luck with it.

  15. May

    I’d buy the book on Shetland and its ponies. Or a Day in the Life of a Pony Farm. A kid’s book is also a good idea. There is a much-loved children’s series in the States about the ponies of Chincoteague island. Generations of kids have loved these books. I think rescuing the Minions is a great story with a happy ending.

    As for the photos, is there a gallery that could represent you? What about contacting tourist boards and travel magazines? Pitch them the story of your farm.

    Limited, framed archival prints with signature could sell to the upmarket, while cards and calendars on Etsy, etc. could appeal to those on a budget. You could create pieces for various holidays as well. Keep track of what sells and edit your offerings to that type of image.


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