7 top tips to help you to shoot great outdoor images and ultimately increase your print sales
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a keen amateur photographer, selling prints and canvases of your images can provide a tremendous sense of achievement. Not to mention, an all-important revenue stream that can supplement your overall income or help you to purchase new gear and develop your hobby.
Outdoor photography, whether that’s landscapes, cityscapes, macro, the natural world, abstracts or minimalist scenes are all popular subjects for wall art. In the age of the Internet, selling printed products couldn’t be simpler. So, to help you to shoot outdoor photos that are perfect for wall art, here are seven tips for creating more saleable outdoor images.
1 Choose subjects, locations and styles wisely
When shooting with print sales and wall art in mind, it’s not uncommon to have to change the way you approach subjects because you may need to shoot with a more commercial style that’s attractive to potential customers. Of course, famous photographers can sell images of whatever they’re known for, but everyone else may have to follow the market rather than the market following them.
Well-known honeypot locations, pretty scenes, vibrant colours, minimalist scenes and even abstract details are all attractive to potential customers. So, when you’re out shooting the subjects you’re most interested in, keep your commercial head on and shoot images alongside that could work well as wall art.
2 Compose like a pro
It goes without saying that your images should be perfect on a technical level; the better the overall image quality alongside a creative use of light, subject choice and composition, the more attractive your images will be. Composition is an important factor however you intend to share, sell and exhibit your photos, and selling them as wall art is no exception.
"When shooting with print sales and wall art in mind, it’s not uncommon to have to change the way you approach subjects..."
Compositional devices such as the rule-of-thirds add compositional balance to images, while lead-in lines and foreground interest help lead the viewers’ eye into scenes. These are all fantastic ways to make compositions more engaging, but also try composing centrally. This is often considered a rule-breaking approach to composition, but with the right subjects, it’s an extremely strong one. Another way to create engaging images is to use the rule of three; this is where you include three of the same objects in images because this is considered the most visually pleasing number.
3 Shoot in landscape and portrait format
You’re on-location shooting at sunrise and the conditions are perfect – you couldn’t wish for anything better. Admittedly, more golden hour shoots than not are duds for most of us, but when you do hit the jackpot, you have to take advantage of the situation and get as much imagery from it as you possibly can.
Many locations are best shot in either landscape or portrait format, but most can also produce great images in both formats. So, don’t get stuck in a rut where you only shoot in one format; if the scene looks good in both formats grab a shot in portrait and landscape. This gives you twice as much sales potential because you have two versions of the same scene, so potential buyers can choose the one that best fits into their home and on their wall.
"Well-known honeypot locations, pretty scenes, vibrant colours, minimalist scenes and even abstract details are all attractive to potential customers."
4 Explore your local area
It’s not uncommon for photographers to feel less than inspired by their local area; you see it every day and over time you can’t see the wood for the trees. But while familiarity can make even pretty places look dull to you, people who live outside the area will view it with fresh eyes. What’s more, if you live in a place with a thriving tourism industry, you have a huge potential client base.
When shooting images in your local area, it could be images of the surrounding countryside, prominent landmarks, picturesque streets or subjects that show something the place is known for that will work best. So, you may need to change the way you shoot and your overall focus to capture saleable images that will attract customers, but it could be hugely beneficial.
"Composition is an important factor however you intend to share, sell and exhibit your photos, and selling them as wall art is no exception."
5 Shoot diptychs and triptychs
A single image can be powerful on both a visual and a conceptual level, but sometimes you need more than one image to convey an idea or a scene and diptychs and triptychs are a great way to do this. A diptych is two images that work together, while a triptych is three. Creating sets of images like these can not only help you to tell your creative story more effectively than with a single image, but they also fill more wall space and can increase sales.
For a stronger connection between the two or three images, make sure that the processing in each is roughly the same to create synergy between them. Do this, even if the images were taken at different times and/or in different locations, although it’s most common for diptych and triptych images to be taken one after the other in the same location.
6 Convert to mono
Black & white remains a hugely popular treatment, and the beauty of digital photography is that if you’re shooting in Raw, which we hope you are, images are captured in colour and can then be processed in colour or black and white using a range of different methods. The best thing about mono images is that they can look extremely stylish on the wall and can comfortably fit into almost any home without causing a colour clash.
So, just like shooting scenes in both landscape and portrait format to offer more options in your store, you can also provide some images in both colour and black and white. Not all images need to be offered in both treatments, just those that look equally as strong in both colour and black and white should be made available to offer more options.
See how to get beautiful black and white versions of your photos in less than 1 minute with our explainer tutorial.
7 Use Adobe’s Super Resolution
The higher the resolution of your camera, the larger you can print your images which can lead to increased sales. But what if you have the latest camera model from your preferred manufacturer and the sensor resolution is just 24MP, for instance? Sure, print sizes won’t be as large as those from a camera with a 50MP sensor, but there is a highly effective way around this problem thanks to Adobe.
If you use Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, there’s a feature that’s been around for a little while now and in a nutshell, it provides a way of doubling the height and width of Raw files, JPEGs or TIFFs to provide four times the original resolution in a new Raw file, leaving the original untouched. For best results, always use it with Raw files. In Lightroom, to access Super Resolution simply right mouse click on the image and select Enhance or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+I for Windows or Cmd+Option+I on a Mac.
See Adobe's Super Resolution feature in action with our how-to video tutorial: