Jul 30, 2020

So, Editing Luke Is A Print Shop Now?

Call it an experiment, going with the flow, temporarily adapting, an attempt to feel busy, a creative exercise, killing time, or all of the above - but if you've noticed Editing Luke print sales popping up in your feed over the last few months it hasn't been by accident. It would seem that during lockdown I found a way to pass the time as a temporary art dealer of my own work.

Editing Luke Print Shop

You might be thinking that selling images is what Editing Luke (as a business) already does - and that's technically true. From custom orders and publications to art installations and corporate commissions, selling images commercially has always been part of the equation - but selling to individuals? Selling to my audience? Not so much. 

And then COVID happened.

Almost immediately the projects I had lined up for 2020 were either stalled or cancelled when travel restrictions and closures hit in March. After a couple months of home-based busy work, I had begun shooting new daily images around my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta and sharing them on the Editing Luke facebook page. This wasn't an entirely new concept for me, but the frequency and variety of new local work I was creating was something I hadn't done since I first launched my Around the Hat series back in 2012.

Medicine Hat Photographer

While it sounds pretty quaint and maybe a somewhat creative way to pass the time, what actually changed in the weeks that passed was the popularity of the posts. While my casual posting had been moderately successful over the years, suddenly this focused project had the Editing Luke facebook page organically reaching hundreds of thousands of people a month. 

Now I'm far from the first person to figure out that popularity doesn't automatically equal sales, but the daily engagement from people who had been following me for years made me realize I had already been advertising the artwork - I just hadn't been doing anything to make it available.

Stacks of sold prints ready to be wrapped and delivered.

Flash sales of framed work became the plan - short, limited, targeted releases that made my images available to those who were interested. This wasn't about targeting the masses - I quickly realized the limited release of framed prints would sell out in less than a weekend because they were something exclusive in an already very specific market.

From a creative standpoint, I also loved being able to showcase and sell the variety of this new series in these limited bursts. From local landmarks to iconic prairie scenes, I've always been told I have a fairly distinct photographic style - and it's been genuinely fun to see the reactions that have come from releasing all this new work born out of essentially being temporarily stuck in my hometown.  

So is a permanent online Editing Luke print shop in the works? Probably not - at least not right now. As work picks up the targeted releases and flash sales will diminish, not least of which because keeping this many frames, prints, packing materials, etc. readily in stock is a departure. And while it's cool to sell artwork to my followers - it's never been the drive behind the production company to also be a storefront or shop at the same time. 

While things continue to be slow this year you can expect the series of flash sales to continue through the summer and then transition into a few limited seasonal releases. I think I've hit my stride now, but I do want to emphasize this isn't a long term plan. If you see something you like come up, best to get it now because statistically most of this new work won't ever be actively marketed to my audience again.

That said - thank you. 

I can't say thank you enough for the incredible support I've been shown in the last few months. I've hand delivered and shipped more of my artwork in the last two months than I have in the last two years combined. In every way the print sales have exceeded the casual expectations I had when this began. It's undeniably been a major help and financial support for the business in trying to navigate the uncertainty of 2020. 

For all of it, I'm grateful. Thank you for the support.