Displaying articles for: 12-17-2006 - 12-23-2006
By Eileen Fritsch
If you’d like to sell some of your images as fine-art prints, you’re not alone. Many pro photographers now dedicate at least a portion of their websites to images available for purchase as art prints. And why not? Consumers expect to pay a certain amount for a standard photo print. With art prints, you can charge whatever your targeted buyers might be willing to pay.
When you price an image printed on photo-art paper or canvas, you’re confirming that the value of the print entails more than time and materials costs. Buyers expect to pay more for the visually distinctive talent of an artist.
I often wonder how many art prints most photographers actually sell through their websites. Ditto Editions’ Susan Fader, an art-marketing coach I interviewed for a feature story in Great Output, observes that many artists simply post images on their websites and hope for the best. That’s fine for hobbyists, but it’s not a smart strategy if you’re serious about making a name for yourself as an artist.
One of my goals for 2007 will be to learn about the art market—not just the traditional world of galleries, collectors and museums, but also about the many new art markets emerging as a direct outgrowth of digital printing. (Check back on this blog to see what I mean.)
Already I’ve encountered one great source of art-marketing advice: Mary Virginia Swanson, a photography art consultant who has written a “Marketing Guidebook for Photographers.” She also speaks frequently at industry events, including the Santa Fe Workshops, the Maine Photographic Workshops, and the International Center for Photography in New York City.
In a session entitled “Presenting Your Work to the Fine-Art Community” at PhotoPlus Expo in New York, she outlined three good ways to educate yourself about the range of opportunities in the fine-art market and bring your work to the people most likely to help you reach your goals.
Submit Work to Juried Exhibitions: “Submitting work to juried exhibitions will help you learn to edit your work, write about it, and transport it without risk to the work,” Swanson advises. But you also must do some homework to determine which shows best match the type of work you do and your overall marketing goals.
Attend Portfolio Review Events: At portfolio reviews, you’ll introduce your work (and yourself) to gallery owners, curators, private collectors, magazine editors, fine-art publishers, corporate art consultants, and other art-industry professionals.
Visit Art Gallery Expos: These events aren’t an appropriate setting for you to approach gallery owners with your work, but expos can help you gain greater awareness of the market as a whole, and identify which venues might be most appropriate for your work. Swanson suggests waiting a few weeks after each expo to inquire about each gallery's specific submission guidelines because right after the show, gallery owners are busy following up on sales leads.
You can read more details about exhibitions, portfolio reviews, and art expos in the presentation handout that can downloaded from the Photo Plus Expo website.
Swanson’s own website features a calendar of portfolio review events, lectures, and workshops including her 3-day marketing workshop in Tucson, March 9-11. Plus, she lists the dates she’ll be available in cities throughout the US for one-on-one consultations. On her blog, you’ll find details about upcoming opportunities in the art market, including deadlines and tips for submissions.