How Should You Be Marketing Your Fine Art Photography?

Here in the U.S. we celebrated Independence Day yesterday. And as a part of the 4th of July traditions here in Denver, we always head out and attend the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, one of the largest of its kind here in the U.S.

I love taking in the sites and the sounds – they have great bands on the main stage to help you enjoy even more. And this year we spent as much time as we could heading in to each booth, as it was in the mid 90’s with lots of sunshine as we strolled around the area.

This year, I noticed a few trends I thought I would share here.

Take Advantage Of Their Marketing

Any time you work at a festival, whether its something like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, or even a bridal festival, chances are they are experienced at putting together a show. They know how to set up booths, get the best vendors, and market their show to the community.

Because they are always looking for ways to market their events more effectively, chances are they offer each artist a chance to use the latest technology. This year they have a website that showcases each artist within the appropriate gallery: photography, jewelry, drawing, wood, etc. And they also offered something new: a QR code attached to the sign placed at each booth. And this is where almost all need help.

People understand older technology – websites – and so they are using that fairly effectively. Yet when something is new, rather than finding out more about it, they simply use it in the easiest way possible. And this is where opportunity is missed.  While most people simply use the QR code to send people to a website, this is really your opportunity to grow your following. Why not send them to your Facebook Page, and give them a reason to like and follow you? Or maybe a special page on your site where they can take advantage of a show special? [Read more…]

Becoming A Fine Art Photographer

This post is Day 19 of 30 Ways In 30 Days To Redesign Your Life With Photography. This series seeks to provide you with practical steps to get you from wherever you are today, to exactly where you want to be – this year! If your goal has always been to take your photography to a whole new level, hang on and start enjoying a new lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.

Have you ever walked into a gallery of fine art photography, and thought, “I could do that.” How great would it be to have a huge gallery that inspired millions from around the world?

Fine art means many things to different people.

  • Fine art might be selling a few images at a local craft fair.
  • Fine art might be selling your art as calendars, journals and books.
  • Fine art might be selling your work at art exhibits.
  • Fine art might mean ending up in a museum.

And of course how one views a work of art is completely subjective. We’ve all stared at a work of art and said, “Really?”

My definition of fine art photography may be different than others. I view fine art as:

A photograph created by an artist, and sold to an individual for the appreciation of the work itself.

I tend to look at things from a business perspective, so to me, if you can’t sell your work, and maintain an income stream from what you do, you can never be a full fledged fine art photographer. I don’t value the money itself; instead I look at money as a way to continue to work at your art in the best way possible.

So the first thing I do is look for support systems, resources and successful photographers to begin to follow.

Build Your Support Systems

So you want to be a fine art photographer? Let’s get started.

First, let me ask you what that means to you? Do you want to be in a gallery? Do you want to open up your own gallery? Do you want to sell books? Do you want to travel?

Start by defining what it means to you. Imagine yourself in a year, fully supported by what you make as a photographer. What does your life look like? How are you generating income?

Now lets work backwards. With that in mind, it’s easier to find the support systems already in place that you can build around.

If you want to be in a gallery, find a gallery that represents photographers. With a quick search I found Fifty One Fine Art Photography. I also found an Art Support resource that lists dozens and dozens of galleries throughout the United States – just pick your state and find out what’s around you.

Or maybe you have the desire to display your work at arts festivals. It’s a great way to travel to different cities and states, display your work, talk with potential clients, and experience a different lifestyle. I’ve found some great resources that can help you find an art festival, and apply for multiple locations in an easy manner.

With just a little bit of research, you can find a ton of resources that can begin to build up a plan for how to move forward.

Its Who You Know

When you walk into a gallery, it’s easy to wish for something. But because you have no idea how they got there, it will always remain a wish until you do something about it.

People don’t become famous by wishing. They become famous by doing. They find a person to ask a question or two, and then they take that information to heart. They start building one step at a time by acting on what they learn.

If you love what an artist is currently doing, ask him or her a question. If they are simply too large and unavailable, do the next best thing. Learn from their story. Buy their books. Visit their galleries. Read about them on their website. Follow them on Facebook.

You’ll quickly be amazed at how much information you can pick up just by reading.

You may learn of associations and groups they belong to.

By studying one site, I came across a great resource – The Association of International Photography Art Dealers. How much knowledge do you think you could gain from attending their upcoming show in New York? It’s March 17-20, still plenty of time to make your reservations and go.

Before I wrote my first book, I found out about the Book Expo America – a huge event that takes place annually, and has amazing classes, and row after row of publishers, authors and dealers. So off to New York I flew, and just absorbed for a few days. Yes, I was completely overwhelmed. But the notes and books and resources I took away from there were invaluable.
The key to remember in becoming a fine art photographer, or really any type of photographer, is you have to do things one step at a time. You won’t be on the top collector list the first week you try. It may take years. But imagine all of the fun you’ll have along the way. All the people you’ll meet. And all the things you’ll learn.

And that’s really the most important thing of all: the journey.

Just A Few Letters Spell S U C C E S S

What if you love photography, love the ocean, and want to combine the two into a successful business? I found the answer today in a website called Words From The Sea.

Two years ago while celebrating a birthday, a couple walked along the beach and began noticing shapes in the seafoam washing onto shore. David, a 30 year veteran in the photography industry, quickly started photographing the different shapes, and slowly began capturing the entire alphabet – naturally, no Photoshopping allowed. Slowly he captured the alphabet, punctuation marks, numbers and other characters to add to his collection. And the concept of Words From The Sea was born.

Today David and Lea have created a dynamic web presence that showcases these extraordinary creations. Not only is their wall art an inspiration, but their website is too.

You can purchase pre-created wall art in popular choices such as “faith” “believe” and “imagine”. Or personalize your artwork, and create something just for you – your first name, your last name, or the name of your hometown. Either way, your new artwork will be the focal point of your room, guaranteed to get people talking.

From there, Lea and David didn’t stop at building a business to make money doing what they love. They also decided to give back, and find a way to help what they love as well. They spell out on their site the importance of ocean conservation, and provide details on why we should care about our oceans future. Words From The Sea gives back by supporting ocean conservation, and raises money for both awareness and by giving a portion of all proceeds to ocean conservation programs.

[Read more…]

How Photographers Use Etsy

Ready to sell your images as fine art? Want to step beyond stock photography, and actually make a name for yourself in the fine art world? Why not start with Etsy.

People describe Etsy in a lot of ways. Yes, it may be a “Popsicle stick and yarn” kind of site, but its also a way for you to get recognized for your artwork. There are great artists on Etsy that are pulling in full time incomes with their artwork. Etsy is more than just a place to put up a few trinkets; its also a place to gain some serious traction, and use the advertising and leverage Etsy has built up over the years.

Etsy attracts members from over 150 countries around the world. Top categories are jewelry, clothing, crafting supplies, accessories, and art – which is where photography is listed.

If you don’t have an Etsy account yet, start by choosing a name. Mirror your business name as much as you can – its important to brand yourself from site to site. Then completely fill out your profile. People often short themselves by putting up a photo, a link to their website, and a sentence or two about their business. Don’t skimp here. Fill it with as much as you can. Even change it from time to time to share your interests with people.

[Read more…]

Enjoying Life As A Fine Art Photographer

This past weekend was a busy one for us. From a movie, to a concert, to a baseball game, and finally to one of our favorites, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is one of the premier arts festivals here in America, with 230 exhibitors selected from over 2000 applications. With 13 artistic categories, you’ll see everything from jewelry, to photography. Not only do we enjoy strolling through the booths, but it’s also fun to talk with the artists and hear their stories. I thought I’d share some with you today, and give you some ideas on how to turn your own ideas into a fine art venture.

Sharon Westbrook Fine Art
Sharon works in a variety of mediums, but for this weekend she was showcasing her photography. We enjoyed looking at her view of abandoned buildings, and seeing things from a completely different perspective.

Shawn Ray Harris Photography
One of the busiest booths we came across yesterday belonged to Shawn Ray Harris Photography. As you entered the booth, he provided you with a pair of 3D glasses to view his imagery – and they literally popped into view. Even his business cards were 3D – great use of marketing.

Art By Nemo
I first met @artbynemo via Twitter, and have chatted with him a few times there. So when I saw he made it into the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, I had to meet him in person. Amazing drawings – how do you draw those circles by hand?

A E London
Our daughter has always had two passions: animals and art. So when we met A E London, we knew she could be a great mentor for her. She’s dedicated her life to animals and art, and her work was simply amazing, as well as her story.

Grin and Bark Studio
You can’t walk by a photograph of a baby or a pet and not go “ohhhh”. So this booth was filled with admirers and “ohhhh”s. Ginger DeLater not only is a pet photographer, but she also turns her portraits into fine art. From books and gift products, to fun wall hangings, she has a business that has allowed her to cross over into the portrait and fine art world.

Ever thought about heading into the fine art photography niche yourself? If so, here are a few tips for you.

Find an art festival in your area. Head out and talk to the artists – that’s what they are there for. Ask them questions and find out more about how they got their starts. They don’t have to be photographers – just chat for a few minutes and find out a little bit about their process.

What’s your passion? For Ginger DeLater with Grin and Bark Studio, it was pets. She doesn’t stop with fine art, she also takes portraits along the way. She had a sign up in her booth, and was commissioning portraits for this coming week in our area. What a great way to travel, and combine it with everything you love.

Start working towards your first festival. Find a small one in your area, and work towards being accepted – check out Zapplication for a variety of shows.

How To Succeed At An Arts Fair

After a busy weekend, we attended the annual Cherry Creek Arts Festival in the afternoon. If we’re in town over the 4th of July, we always make sure we spend a few hours there. Cherry Creek Arts Festival is internationally known, and brings in some amazing artists.

So I found a bunch of new artists to follow. Check out these amazing jewelry pieces made from sea glass in Hawaii.  They were beautiful.

Before I get into several of the photographers we found, I thought I would give some tips on things to do if you’re at an art fair. Or maybe more appropriately, things not to do.

As we visited one booth, she had a sign hung near the back of her booth. It said:

No business cards. No brochures. No website.

She should have also put “no business” or maybe “going out of business very soon”.

[Read more…]

Finding Photographers With A Niche

After three days off, and a whirlwind of fun activities, I’m back at my desk. Long weekends are great for rejuvenating, and for finding something to inspire you.

In my last post on Fine Art Photography I mentioned we were off to the Downtown Denver Arts Festival over the weekend. Despite the looming clouds and rain, we spent several hours there on Saturday enjoying the artists and the overall atmosphere (the Nuggets were playing that night, so Downtown Denver was wild!)

As we strolled through the streets visiting the booths, I noticed something that made me realize there is always a way to survive in business. If you differentiate yourself, you’ll draw in the crowd. And you’ll make the sale.

While I loved all of the photographers work, several really stood out to me.

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Fine Art Photography – An Easy Way To Find Your Next Festival

One of the things I love about the summertime in the Rockies is the arts festivals. I know I’m not alone in loving to hit the great outdoors, and walk through some amazing artwork at the same time.

Andrew and I also have a new interest as our future goal is to start building up ourdowntown denver arts festival own fine art photography business.

So this weekend, we’ll be heading out to Downtown Denver Arts Festival, featuring Colorado artists, and 18 Colorado photographers.

I went to their site just to learn more about the festival, the submission process, and a few other details. And in the process found a great resource to share with you.

The Downtown Denver Arts Festival (and as it turns out hundreds of other arts festivals) use a program called Zapplication.

[Read more…]