What Sells: Fine Art Wall Calendar

Heaven's Gate

The photography market is undergoing dramatic changes as digital imagery becomes main-stream. From photographic equipment to media libraries, the industry is experiencing a major upheaval. Despite this, the market for annual wall calendars seems to be relatively unaffected. One of Jay’s highest selling photographs – Heaven’s Gate – was chosen for the front cover of the Weingarten 2011 wall calendar.

The same calendar saw the publication of three more of Jay’s photographs.

  • Valley of Shadow of Death, Death Valley National Park, CA
  • Rain of Fire
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (UT), USA

Images for calendars like these are chosen based upon location, theme, or terrain (such as seascapes, forests, waterfalls, and mountains) while shots from National Parks are some of the most popular. Most wall calendars are designed with daily scheduling in mind but this one is intended to be an artwork display. Each month is represented by a large and beautifully printed photograph with a small calendar at the bottom of each page. Most of the photographs showcase dramatic light.

This isn’t first time that we’ve published the images to calendar companies. Back in the mid-2000s we published our own calendar as a part of our Time Catcher team. Although we sold almost 1000 copies, the logistics of shipping and producing the calendars were difficult.

The self-publishing industry has come a long way since then. Today, companies like Blurb.com, Cafepress.com, Lulu.com and others can readily handle the logistical issues which can make self-publishing a very lucrative business for landscape photographers.

There are down sides in this industry though. For one, this ease of publishing does come at a cost… it’s expensive. Also, once the calendar’s date has passed, they don’t sell very well. It’s best to start out with a small inventory or go with publishing-on-demand.

So… how did the calendar company find Jay’s work? Via the Internet, of course. Most of our clients find our work on our blog or websites – and many discover our posts on popular photography websites and discussion groups. If you are hoping to sell your work, make the most of the Internet for advertising. Regularly add photos and keep your online portfolio up-to-date. Also, a diverse collection of themes will attract buyers from a wider variety of markets; we shoot everything from tiny pebbles to majestic mountains.

Have you had any luck publishing your images for a calendar? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below…