BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Nicole Kessel

Selling a Print

I've never tried to sell any of my work before but, just recently I was contacted by a lady on the web and she asked me if I would sell her a large print of "The Calla Lily". I quoted her a price and she agreed. She is also asking me to mat and frame it for her.

Is there anything I should do to protect the copyright? I wouldn't want to put it on the front but, should I stamp the back somehow? Also, should I have it professionally framed or just buy a mat and frame and put it together myself? Do I need to claim this on my taxes as income?!

I would have never expected this or I would be more prepared!! Any help is appreciated!

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10/19/2005 6:03:57 PM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005

I wouldn't mat and or frame it unless she pays for it and then again I would be reluctant to do that because what if she does not like the frame or the pic once she gets it...You are stuck. Photography is your specialty for now, not framing--if it was me I would just focus on the printing of the picture.

I would sign the print at the bottom corner. Or you can write your copyright on the back.

Yes, technically you do it is concidered income so you need to report it.


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10/19/2005 7:16:24 PM

Nicole Kessel   Thank you so much, Melissa! Needless to say I'm very happy about it!

I think your right about framing it. It will probably save her money in the long run, anyhow. I wouldn't know where to begin as far as making it look professional. On mine, I usually just take some scotch tape and stick it to the back of the print and mat, LOL. I'm sure she wouldn't want that! :)

Thanks for the advice!

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10/19/2005 9:31:42 PM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  I really like that photo by the way!! I went through your gallery and tried to find the one you were talking about, it is the winner right?? The Calalily? It is so so beautiful!!! It looks like an image you would see in a potterybarn catalog!! :) So cool!

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10/19/2005 9:46:40 PM

Nicole Kessel   Thank you SO MUCH! I love the pottery barn! :)

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10/19/2005 10:03:53 PM

Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  I just had a similar experience where a lady contacted me through the Betterphoto contact tool. She was interested in my photo and wishing to purchase one. But she wanted just one 4x6. I told the lady that if she wants only one, I will send one to her free.
I have sold some images locally before but they are usually a volume sale, anywhere a few to up to 40-50 photos.

My question is what you would normally handle a small order like this. Should I make it a rule to make a sale regardless of quantity?

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10/20/2005 7:21:43 AM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Our guild recently got an agreement to hang up members' photos in the local pro shop/lab. I knew it was in a trusted place and wouldn't be copied but I still put a copyright on the back. What I did was I took a small white label and printed in gray on the back the and the year and my name. I chose light gray so it wouldn't show through, which I doubt it would anyways being printed on a white label. You could do that if you want a little more pro looking but don't have a stamp or embosser.

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10/20/2005 8:06:25 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  Nichole... This is Special Agent 0080A35G576 of the IRS. we hear your selling a print? We will need you to fill out form A44BEZ and file it in triplicate to our offices ASAP, If not we will be forced to shut down your Illegal photographic business and you will be forced to 10 -20 years hard labor shooting public Relations for president Bush.
Income is income.. just hope you sell more to at least make some of the $$$ you spent on this darned hobby back, if your anything like me, you can allways use a new lens or tow or five!
Good luck!

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10/20/2005 9:49:57 AM

Nicole Kessel   LOL, Craig! Man, that 10-20 would be pure TORTURE! LOL, I better not go there!!! :) Our taxes seem to get more and more complicated every year. I usually do them myself but, I think this year we are going to have to hire somebody. Come to think of it... isn't there someway to write off some of your purchases if they are considered a business expense?

In your case, Nobi I would charge something for a print no matter how small the order is. It might have been a great way for you to get your name out there but, since you have already had some success I would want to charge something even if it is minimal.

I like the idea of using a stamp, Justin. I'm afraid a sticker would get peeled off. I have some prints that I'm trying to get hung at a local Church, resteraunt, and Dr's office for exposure. So, it would probably be worth the investment. Where do you get such a thing?

The hardest thing I'm finding is getting all the enlargements, mats, and frames in order to display my prints. It's going to cost me a pretty penny to invest in this.

Should I have these establishments sign a contract of some sort for showing my work? Isn't possesion like 9/10ths of the law! I would hate to flat out lose them.

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10/20/2005 10:32:40 AM

Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  Thank you, Nicole, for your input on my question, regarding whether I should charge even for just one 4x6 print. (I sent one free to this lady who contacted me through the Betterphoto contact tool.)

I asked the same question to a friend of mine who also post her photos here at Betterphoto now. She is an experienced photographer and has been selling photos for several years.
She told me that she does not sell one 4x6 but rather she sells a package of 3 4x6's for a set price.
I think this is a great idea.

I just wanted to update this thread with this info.

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10/23/2005 5:24:25 PM

Nicole Kessel   Thanks, Nobi!

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10/23/2005 8:38:23 PM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Hey Nicole forget about the framing matts and boarders. Why don't you do a wrap around canvas!! These are great and look VERY proffessional. It will save you a ton of money and look even better than a frame!! :)

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10/23/2005 8:47:39 PM

Nicole Kessel   Not a bad idea, Melissa! Thanks!!!

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10/24/2005 6:12:05 PM

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