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Aaron Huey Uses an Instagram Print Sale to Teach a New Generation the Value of Prints


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National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey made $10K selling prints on Instagram earlier this week, but it wasn’t because he needed the money. The incredibly talented photog wants to bring the joy of prints to a whole new generation because, in his own words, “Prints make the world a better place. Period.”

He said that in an email to Forbes, where he elaborated a bit on why he launched a 24-hour sale that seems to have been extended indefinitely:

I’m giving them art that is ready to go, in a form that is familiar to them, and instilling a collecting mentality. I’d rather have these images on walls and in people’s hands than in these zombie boxes we stare at all day… [Instagram photos] are intimate, they are beautiful, but they are not precious. They are for everyone.

The entire thing started as a 24-hour flash sale on Monday that went so well it crashed the Outsider Books site, prompting Huey to extend the sale. According to Forbes, Huey ended up selling $10K worth of signed, archival-quality, 6×6-inch fine art prints to his 160,000+ Instagram followers in 48 hours.

If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because of the story of Daniel Arnold who managed to make rent and then some a little over a month ago with a similar sale, but Huey wants to be clear that the idea wasn’t inspired by Arnold.

Well-known photographers with large Instagram followings have apparently been considering the idea “for a long time.” Each has become his or her “own magazine through outlets like Instagram,” Huey told Forbes, assuring us that more of these photogs with six-figure followings are likely to launch their own personal stores in the near future.

The task of introducing the smartphone generation to the magic of prints has been taken on by myriad companies and app makers, all of whom have created their own services that seek to transform ones and zeroes into ink and paper. This feels different though.

National Geographic photographers selling directly to the hundreds of thousands of people who follow them on Instagram feels like a more personal and intriguing approach, and we’ll be excited to watch it evolve as more photogs jump onboard.

In the meantime, if you’d like to buy any of Huey’s Instagram prints for yourself, head over to the Outsider Books website by clicking here… it seems to be up and running even though the original 48 hours expired long ago.