Marketing Photography - Lessons Learned

Around four years ago, I had a brilliant idea in relation to marketing my photography. 

I’d shot this image on a recent trip…

Bondi Beach aerial shot

…and I thought that if all the people living in those houses knew they could buy this image as a print, they’d all want one hanging on their walls in a nice frame. When guests came over, they’d see it and go ‘Wow, nice shot’ and the owner would go ‘Thanks’ and the guests would go ‘Where are we?’ and they’d point and go ‘Right here!’ and everyone would be happy. And so it went, in my imagination. 

To turn this into a reality I had to find a way to let everyone know it existed and that they could buy it. Social media wasn’t an option for me (I was clueless) but what I could do was physically go from door to door, spreading the word, so to speak. So I designed a flyer featuring the image and details on how to purchase it, sent it off to the printer and booked a flight. 

I landed in Sydney early in the morning and made my way to Bondi Beach with some comfortable shoes on and a backpack stuffed with flyers. For the rest of that day I walked to every house and apartment block in the shot that I could, delivering the good news into many hundreds of letter boxes (except for the ones with ‘No Junk Mail’ signs, of which there were many). 

In the end I ran out of cards only slightly before I ran out of mailboxes. It was late, I called it a day and flew back to Melbourne. On the way home I calculated how many prints I’d have to sell to cover my expenses, figured I’d at least make a tidy profit, and patted myself on the back for a plan well thought out and executed. There I was, acting on an idea for a change instead of just thinking about it and focussing on all the ways it could go wrong. I’d followed through and made it happen. Good for me.  

I got zero responses. Nothing. Not even an angry email from one of the ‘No Junk Mail’ tenants (okay, I might have slipped a few in accidentally).

Turned out nobody wanted my photo. At least nobody in Bondi Beach. I’ve sold that print plenty of times at my gallery but, as far as I’m aware, not to anyone living in Bondi Beach. 

Why didn’t it work? I’m not 100% sure, but my guess is people prefer to hang images of places they’ve travelled to, as opposed to where they live? Whatever the reason, it was not a brilliant marketing idea. 

I suppose if there’s a lesson to be learned from all this it’s that next time I have a brilliant marketing idea, I’ll still do it. Even the bad ideas are worth doing if only to find out what doesn’t work. 

If you like this print and would like to hang it on your wall, you can purchase a print here.