Selling Your Prints As Files

Tricky question – Should I sell my images as digital downloads ? well there’s no easy answer. Let me state that selling digital files is a great idea in the age of iPad’s, flat screens, home printing and local/Internet printing services.  However there are some issues and concerns to be aware of.

  1. You can’t control the quality of the output
  2. or the number of print they can produce.
  3. Editing and modification of the image, i.e cropping, composites, etc..

Some Guidelines

  • Ensure that your signature is part of the print, i.e it’s signed. Go further maybe in the signature put a unique number or somewhere in the image itself so you know if the physical print appears somewhere you know the source – i.e who the original purchasers was.
  • The sale should also require them to agree some sort of  ‘End User License Agreement’, EULA too. After all it’s your artwork and you wouldn’t want them to do whatever they wish to your image. It should state that they can print one final image and any other prints i.e. test prints must be destroyed.
  • The quality of the final print and medium it’s printed on, is impossible to control. If you can let this go – what I mean is if the print process is not part of the create of the artwork. This is actually a difficult decisions for many photographer and artists. However I still believe this basic premise that artwork should live out in the world and not in the studio or in this case sitting on your hard disk.
  • Delivering the print as a digital file presents the problem of cropping and other modifications by the customer which in turn can change the original artwork or concept. This must be stated in the EULA that any modifications of the digital product not permitted. However to prevent such an incident occurring the Adobe PDF format is a standard way to restrict certain criteria to deliver digital images in a self contained fashion. However even screenshot of a PDF can be taken or even worse the PDF security circumvented.

These are just a few pointers, let me know what you think and please comment.


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