In 1994, I set out to develop a landscape photography project featuring images from my native North Dakota. After 10 years and about 10,000 images, my wife and I self-published a book, "America's Land of Tranquility: The Secret Beauty of North Dakota." The book was a personal and financial success. We paid for the initial publication in pre-sales and the book still sells today (we're well into our second printing).
From this experience, I learned several things about landscape photography and business. Great landscape photos are a function of the following:
1. Accessibility. Taking yet another photo of the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis has little impact. Everyone takes these same photos because it's a popular and easy place to get to. Many of the best places to photograph in North Dakota are challenging to access. Not only do they take a long time to get to (driving in vast North Dakota) but most of these places are on private land and very obscure. The main highways are the worst places to photograph from. 2. Uniqueness. North Dakota is the least photographed state in the USA. This underscores my comment about the Stone Arch Bridge. 3. Find your audience, know them, and exploit them on a continuous basis. 4. A little bit of risk. Difficult to get to, challenging weather, rocky terrain, SNAKES!
The results of my experience shooting North Dakota landscapes include: 1. Book sales in the mid-6 figures. Profits have been huge since we self-published the book. 10 years later, the book still sells. Every dollar of sales is a dollar of profit. 2. Image sales have ranged from good to enormous. One gallery I work with closes at least one large sale/year. 3. I've sold at least $10,000 of images each year ranging from just a few hundred dollars for one or two images to one sale in excess of $30,000 4. Ten of the images sell well. Here is a link to the best sellers: Web Gallery of North Dakota Images
The image below was the best seller in 2014.
A few of the better/recent sellers are displayed below. One image, alone, has generated six figures in sales as a standalone or as part of other sales.