Brooklyn Photographer Makes $15,000 in a Single Day Selling Prints on Instagram

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Still think Instagram isn’t for you? If you’re a professional photographer, you might want to reconsider, because there’s some serious marketing potential there among the poorly exposed sunset pics and photos of cats lounging in strange places.

Brooklyn-based photographer Daniel Arnold all but proved this a couple of days ago when he made over $15,000 selling prints over Instagram in a single day.

According to Forbes, Arnold had only 90 bucks in his checking account on Wednesday night at midnight when he turned 34 years old.


With zero idea how to pay his rent next month and photo work sparse, he took to his rather popular Instagram account (28,500+ followers as of this writing… and this is his second account because the first got banned for nudity) and told his follower that they could order a 4×6 print of any photo they want for $150 ‘for one day only.’

“I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again,” writes Arnold. “If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to [email protected] (one d) and I will send a PayPal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy Peasy.”

The response was… unexpected. He received a deluge of requests that ranged from single photo prints to bulk orders. In 24 hours he had received some $15,000 in orders… and they haven’t stopped coming.

Now Arnold has to decide if he wants to cut off the orders at the 24 hour mark, but he tells Forbes writer and good friend Jeff Bercovici that, as someone who has been ‘eating toast three meals a day all February,’ he doesn’t see himself turning the business down.

(via Forbes)

  • Federico Montemurro

    If you are not making money from those photos, definitely not (reads Editorial) BUT he just sold 15K worth of model releases!

  • RonT

    I completely agree, very cool and original marketing idea. Biggest factor in this success? He had the willingness to ASK for sales. He could just as easily have not succeeded but he flipped the coin and it came up heads for him.

    It doesn’t matter if some think selling a 4×6 for USD150 is too high or whatever (it really isn’t), the only opinion of value that matters belongs to those people that purchased. They saw sufficient value to not only order but to go through a bit of a clunky purchase system (with the email, screencaps and all), which really tells you how much people can value photographic imagery. That’s good news for all of us.

  • Nathan Blaney

    My thoughts exactly… Why buy that? Doesn’t have to be a mural, but I’d like to be able to see it on the wall…

  • harumph

    You don’t need a model release to sell prints.

  • Spongebob Nopants

    Jeez have you people not seen a single episode of Mad Men? The advertising hacks in that show are constantly brainstorming exactly this kind of phoney advertising/PR stunt that’s disguised as real events.

    It’s not remotely believable that anyone would spend $150 on a 4×6 print just to hang on their wall.
    Read up a bit about marketing/PR stunts and stealth marketing. If you live in a big city you’ve encountered countless instances of stealth marketing without realizing it. Cars parked right outside of nightclubs, people saying movie tag phrases on the street, people walking around with new electronics. This is the internet version of that.

    PR and marketing companies hire random out of work people or students to do stealth marketing all the time. If this photographer is a real person then it’s Far more likely that he got some cash from the company and all the orders, even if they exist on paper, even if he printed them out and “made invoices”, are fake orders from people who only exist on instagram and in the PR companies accounting department. It’s more likely still that it’s entirely made up.

    The odd inclusion of the banal detail that he included invoices for each print is a strange detail to include- but just the fiddly sort of detail that is inserted into this kind of bullpucky to lend it credence.

    and how likey is that to happen?

  • Steve Pellegrino

    A model release isn’t needed. The people who he photographed are in public. As long as their images aren’t used commercially you don’t need a release. You’re free to exhibit and sell the images as art.

  • Steve Pellegrino

    Just because people wouldn’t spend $150 on your images doesn’t mean they wouldn’t spend it on another photographer’s photos. This is a foundational principle in sales – just because you can’t afford what you’re selling doesn’t mean the other guy can’t.

    You sound like the type of person that likes to complain there is no business and then puts down the guys who are actually out there making something happen. He’s obviously put the work into this to get 33,000 subscribers – that’s what it’s up to now. Whether this was a stunt or not doesn’t matter – he has a following and can monetize it. I’m sure he has. What have you done today?

  • Steve Pellegrino

    And if it was? It obviously worked. Good for him. I’m sure he will make some money from this, establish new contacts and get hired for other projects. How well is instagram paying off for you?

  • Federico Montemurro

    You’re right Steve

  • Dhaval Panchal

    Gotta love the insta-idiots.

  • Jackson Cheese

    They’re making $15,000 a day. I’d call them anything before I called them an idito.

  • Dhaval Panchal

    Serendipity is a wonderful thing.

  • Milliexfarmer Williams

    I agree that the copy should be bigger than 4×6. $150 for a photo of a person sleeping on a train. And let’s not forget he will NEVER sell them that cheap again. My thing is this…if his work was THAT good that he was able to get 15,000 in 24 hours, why was he eating toast? Not so sure I believe his story. That’s a lot of printing to do. How did a starving artist have that many followers? Anyway, good for him but I have looked at his work and I think it is awful. Just my opinion. I truly don’t see anything worth any money. It looks like pictures of my family at various functions. I pay for that with my sanity.Thanks. I’m sure I’ll be called a hater and jealous, because GOD forbid you have your own opinion.

  • Spongebob Nopants

    Great argument. It must be aaaalll true then. Go ahead and spend your valuable time on instagram increasing their value instead of following more effective procedures.

  • Vanessa

    He can pay his rent now and some. Happy ending. It’s historic and well documented that need and desperation are great motivators for artists. Sometime you can get so busy thinking business that you miss opportunities. It’s not like we have a lot of happy endings for photographers these days. If it never happened again, he has 15,000 dollars he didn’t have before, a roof over his head and food to eat. It’s a stepping stone to another level. I really don’t understand the negative remarks. If he begged for money on the street, you’d have a problem with that too. If I had $15,000 in the bank from prints, negative comments would roll off my back if I had any interest at all. Wow leave the guy alone and let him enjoy the success. At least now his mind is clear to create. He can pay some bills from doing something he loves to do. Blessings to him and his followers. They must see some value in his work. At the end of the day for a photographer or any artist that’s all that matters.