Canadian photographer Michael Winsor is highly successful with e-commerce, making online sales of his work on a daily basis. Does he have a secret?
Michael Winsor is a soft-spoken artist who doesn’t give the impression of someone big into self-promotion. He’s humble, self-taught and straightforward. But he’s also got a method which works beautifully, shares his images widely and attracts collectors.
Winsor presents an amazing portfolio that features the stunning scenery near his home in eastern Canada. And he agrees that first and foremost, it’s about the work.
“I’ve always taken photos that express the culture, history and landscape of Newfoundland,” he says, “We are steeped in culture here. I’ve got a passion for that.”
Winsor admits that he doesn’t love taking photos during the day, but prefers night photography, and capturing images at sunrise and sunset when the quality of light offers an opportunity for a dramatic result. “I don’t like to enhance photos,” he shares. “I try to show what I see with my eyes.”
His portfolio is primarily focused on landscapes and seascapes. Collectors who own his work are frequently residents of the area, or they may have grown up there. “My photographs give them a piece of home,” he says.
It’s that local angle that got him started in the first place, drawing from his experience with fishing and a love for the sea, fostered by his grandfather. The result is a collection filled with compelling and remarkable images of Newfoundland.
Winsor recalls coming home around 1:30 a.m. one night and seeing the light over the Atlantic Ocean reflected in the water. He stopped and shot the photo he calls “Golden Reflection”, an image that became a bestseller. “I was lucky because the house there had nine siblings living in it,” he says. “All nine had to have the picture, of course. I sold that image to other people as well.”
He shares another experience that connected with buyers. He explains, “Last Christmas I was in Port De Grave on a very cold moonlit night to capture a new annual tradition in Newfoundland, the Christmas lights on the fishing boats. All the colourful lights lit up in the Harbour are really something beautiful. I had the opportunity to capture that moment and share with Newfoundlanders living away that could not make it home for Christmas. I often get messages that explain how much they truly appreciate me capturing these images to share with them. I am very happy to provide them with a little piece of home when their livelihood takes them away from the salt sea air.”
Winsor’s photos have been featured in local area publications such as the Downhomer and Newfoundland Herald. He shares that he “keeps his ear to the ground” for fundraisers and community events in his region where he can participate, and is “pretty much open to everything.”
Social media is a major source of sales. Facebook is the primary driver of traffic to his website, and he has accumulated over 10,000 Likes on his professional Facebook page. Each post includes a photograph, describes the area where he shot the photo, and often even the circumstances. His fans frequently share his posts, too, causing them to spread far and wide. It’s not unusual to see 50 or 100 shares of each photo, and sometimes more. Winsor is appreciative. “I’m totally overwhelmed by the support I’m getting and so much positive feedback.”
He uses Art Storefronts for his website and e-commerce, and credits the site for really bumping up sales. He loves their search option, which enables people to search for specific towns, and communities within Newfoundland and Labrador.
Art Storefronts offers matting and framing options, and shows work in situ to enhance the shopping experience. Not only is he selling a lot more than he used to, but each sale is higher as most buyers select framed art rather than prints.
Another provider integral to Winsor’s success is Newfoundland Canvas, a top-notch fine art reproduction studio that creates each print sold and provides fulfillment services. Many professional artists prefer to have a relationship with this type of printer, as it gives them full control over their images and the sizes offered, rather than using a cookie-cutter approach. He notes that Newfoundland Canvas has even curated frames that are appropriate for his photos.
What else accounts for Winsor’s success? Being honest and straightforward with his customers. “If somebody is unhappy, I work with them,” he explains, “Customers come back when you treat them well.”
Winsor’s passion for shooting the landscape in Newfoundland and life there is clear in every image he presents. “When the point comes that you are more concerned with selling than creating the art, that’s when you’ve got a problem,” he says.