One area of marketing many people overlook is publishing your photography in the greeting card business. This market is not difficult to satisfy, and there are vast numbers of companies that are actively looking for appropriate imagery. This market is well worth investigating.
There are some key elements to observe when it comes to cards that shape how this market should be approached. The positive aspect is that the market is huge and companies are always looking for something fresh. These companies range from small independent companies to large companies such as Hallmark. There is a market for almost all types of images. The big companies will offer more stability in terms of work but the smaller companies may be more likely to showcase your work and perhaps even offer you royalties.
However, large or small, these companies are all quite approachable and interested in seeing new material. The negative side of this industry is that because cards are low cost items, the profit margin is very low and many cards must be sold before realizing a profit. Usage fees or royalties tend to be on the low side.
However, you need to put this into context; the number of photographs submitted and used is low. There is little work involved. A manufacturer may use a series of perhaps six to ten images for a series. This may be a series of dogs, cats, flowers, landscapes, couples etc. So the labor involved is also quite low. Consider cards photography as being similar to stock photography; if you have some work that you think is suitable, submit it and consider it a bonus. Your work is now complete, not much to it.
Almost all cards that are sold are related to an occasion or convey a specific message. However some are open and simply follow a genre, such as animals. Photographic imagery follows categories such as Christmas, birthday, Fathers’ Day, Mothers’ Day, Valentines’ Day, Friendship, Bereavement etc.
You should approach greeting card companies as you would any other buyer of photographs. Pick publishers who seem to be interested or use the kind of work you produce. This market is not saturated and worth perusing. Call or write for submission guideline. Better still; make an appointment with the appropriate person and take in your folio. Reputable online photography courses will cover stock and card photography and show you how to take advantage of this market.