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Photography DiscussionHow To Sell Art

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PietFrancke
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Re: How To Sell Art

Post by PietFrancke » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:32 pm

I think it is tough, tough, tough. To sell, you have to have what someone wants - and worse, that someone has to know that you have it. It can be something special for a family or a person (that individual's portrait for example). This I think is part of the "service" industry of photography/art.

Beyond the service aspect, there is the idea of a cool image finding it's way onto a wall (or some other type of display or resource - like a texture pack for instance). The problem with this is gaining the attention of the person doing the buying. Using social media and other internet tools, we can impress each other and a limited body of people that pay attention to what we do, but it is unlikely that you will catch the attention of the person with a need and a checkbook.

Ultimately, the artist produces art because he HAS to. For such a person, it is like drinking water or breathing air. Unfortunately the (financial) success of such a person will be dependent on a different set of skills than those artistic skills.

I share my art to be part of a community of folk that gives me feedback. I see their work and it inspires me and it teaches me. I am lucky enough that I have enough to survive and to pursue my interests. I fear that if I had to tie my artistic abilities to my survival abilities, I would suffer great stress.

In short, I make money so that I can produce art, I do not produce art so that I might make money. There is a freedom in that - a game, a hobby, a fun thing to do.

edit - a continuation...
You can put your effort into gaining skills and experience at creating art, Or you can put your efforts into gaining skills and experience at selling art. I think it is seldom that a given individual will be successful at both. Become super good at creating it, and then Find someone who is super good at selling it. (or if you prefer, do the flip side). But I think the point is that to be really, really successful, you have to beat the competition, so you have to figure out how to be really, really good first.

LOL - 2nd edit...
if you wish to find gold, be a gold miner. If you wish to be rich, sell shovels to gold miners.

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Post by minniev » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:34 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:25 am
Steve, As I watch this thread, I try to clarify my thinking and my negative reaction to the topic. Piet wrote something in a post that is helping me think this through:

"I think Art and the sharing of Art is very personal."

I share because I care about the individual and want to express that. I treasure my photos -- some of them at least -- and feel genuinely hurt it someone I care about dismisses them. The hallways of pM are crowded with people I care about and who have shown care about me, so I share. You have set a trusting tone that welcomes that. Thank you. I will continue to think about this. Matt
Beautifully said. I agree about the safety of this village of ours. We thus far have no one who wishes to insult us for fun (there are places and people like that), and everyone tries to help. I will say that I"ve grown more seasoned with accepting that all my photos will not be liked, and some may be disliked, even by people are in my circle. It no longer injures my sense of who I am when someone points out one of my images that failed for them. What I try to sort out is this: Did the image fail to appeal because the image is a failure (something I did wrong) or because the image isn't a good fit for what that viewer likes? If the former, I learn from the specifics. If the latter, I learn more about the breadth of appeal of certain images - will it have a potentially wide or potentially tiny audience?

The Villages I've been in (there have been several, all largely productive), helped me shape my dam bird collection, and hone in on the ones that had the broadest appeal. That approach served me well in getting an endowment to support the work, and in finding galleries to display the collection. However, it has not translated into any avenues for making money on them. Fortunately, I am surviving on my retirement check, and while some income from my art would make things a little less "tight", I can live without selling. And I'm not sure I want to sell badly enough to learn sales at that late date. I spent my life in public service work, and we make notoriously bad salespeople.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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minniev
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Post by minniev » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:43 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:32 pm
I think it is tough, tough, tough. To sell, you have to have what someone wants - and worse, that someone has to know that you have it. It can be something special for a family or a person (that individual's portrait for example). This I think is part of the "service" industry of photography/art.

Beyond the service aspect, there is the idea of a cool image finding it's way onto a wall (or some other type of display or resource - like a texture pack for instance). The problem with this is gaining the attention of the person doing the buying. Using social media and other internet tools, we can impress each other and a limited body of people that pay attention to what we do, but it is unlikely that you will catch the attention of the person with a need and a checkbook.

Ultimately, the artist produces art because he HAS to. For such a person, it is like drinking water or breathing air. Unfortunately the (financial) success of such a person will be dependent on a different set of skills than those artistic skills.

I share my art to be part of a community of folk that gives me feedback. I see their work and it inspires me and it teaches me. I am lucky enough that I have enough to survive and to pursue my interests. I fear that if I had to tie my artistic abilities to my survival abilities, I would suffer great stress.

In short, I make money so that I can produce art, I do not produce art so that I might make money. There is a freedom in that - a game, a hobby, a fun thing to do.

edit - a continuation...
You can put your effort into gaining skills and experience at creating art, Or you can put your efforts into gaining skills and experience at selling art. I think it is seldom that a given individual will be successful at both. Become super good at creating it, and then Find someone who is super good at selling it. (or if you prefer, do the flip side). But I think the point is that to be really, really successful, you have to beat the competition, so you have to figure out how to be really, really good first.

LOL - 2nd edit...
if you wish to find gold, be a gold miner. If you wish to be rich, sell shovels to gold miners.
I'm still puzzling on the dilemma as well. Yes, I would like for someone to want to buy some of my work. But no, I"m not sure I have the right personality for heavy duty marketing to turn myself into a "known" entity. A local lady who admires my bird images suggested I sell cheap versions of them - posters, notecards, on cheap paper. My first reaction was NO, the birds would lose their painterly look printed on base level Walmart paper, or common notecard stock. So they may while away their time on the walls of my house and the homes or businesses of friends.

Steve mentioned Stock. I have thought about that, and the lady who suggested the budget dam birds also suggested stock. I've got 100K photos on my drives. Some of them are pretty nice, and I enjoyed making them, but they aren't personal, they are simply decently taken images of attractive places I've visited. The birds and the swamp series, and to some extent my Monhegan series - those are my art, and I'm not sure about the latter being appropriate for stock.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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PietFrancke
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Post by PietFrancke » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:25 pm

Min.., about stock.. If they sell as stock it becomes a question of how much money do you make for the time spent placing them there, putting tags on them, the whole thing. I would love to know if such an effort would even be worth the reward. I am assuming we all have images that could be good enough for stock, but I have to wonder if the payoff is there, or if you (making financial comparisons) would be as well of with a standard job.

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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:37 pm

Minnie, Agree. Matt
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Post by PietFrancke » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:36 am

So, on a lark, I joined the Adobe Stock thingy.. they wanted an image of my Driver's license, which I uploaded. I uploaded two of my recent images, the frog and the blackbird. The process was painless.. The search tags generated pretty good. I figure they are good enough to experiment with. (I figure the images rot on your hard disk drive anyway, so I have no pain selling them for 35 cents or nothing or whatever comes out of it, for me it is strictly a matter of if it is worthwhile to take the time.)

If you know a rich man who wants to buy the images for $3,000 each, tell me quick and I will cancel - LOL.

edit - if I find myself driving cross country and see one of them on a billboard - I will laugh my silly butt off.

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Post by minniev » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:46 am

PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:36 am
So, on a lark, I joined the Adobe Stock thingy.. they wanted an image of my Driver's license, which I uploaded. I uploaded two of my recent images, the frog and the blackbird. The process was painless.. The search tags generated pretty good. I figure they are good enough to experiment with. (I figure the images rot on your hard disk drive anyway, so I have no pain selling them for 35 cents or nothing or whatever comes out of it, for me it is strictly a matter of if it is worthwhile to take the time.)

If you know a rich man who wants to buy the images for $3,000 each, tell me quick and I will cancel - LOL.

edit - if I find myself driving cross country and see one of them on a billboard - I will laugh my silly butt off.
You shall be our canary in the coal mine of stock. I had toyed with the idea of doing just what you did, but haven't got as far as you have. Keep us apprised of the progress of Frog and Blackbird. I think they are both grand images and should sell. I'd rather see them in a museum gallery but I understand all the barriers to that.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by Matt Quinn » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:55 pm

Watching and waiting. Good luck. Matt
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Post by Charles Haacker » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:41 pm

You actually have two canaries. One of them (me) is on Shutterstock. I discovered that I had made $16 bucks (they don't pay out until $35 bucks) but I only learned about it when I had to jump through a few more hoops with tax stuff (they have to withhold). There are hoops. Some of it I find a royal pain, especially the tagging, although Shutterstock (the only one I'm on so far) does make useful suggestions that eases some of that. I currently have about a hundred new images in line that I have to finish titling and tagging. They delete them off the servers if they aren't submitted in 45 days. They are VERY picky about sharpness, noise, and especially size (too small and they won't even let you upload it and a lot of my older stuff is from tiny sensors plus cropped so... but the newest stuff is from a fairly large APS-C sensor). They will reject anything that they suspect might be copyrighted. I have some pictures of public art, sculpture in parks that may get rejected, but they will then offer to take it if I can provide a property release (I hate the thought of trying to get one). Recognizable people must have a model release, and their definition of "recognizable" can include people taken from the back! I suspect "street" is out unless you can convince them it is editorial rather than commercial.

So honestly it's a pain, and I hadn't even looked in for months (I only had about two dozen up until now), but suddenly I've got $16 bucks (less tax) in the kitty so I'm uploading more, but it's not easy, nor especially fun, but I suspect it could be lucrative if you get enough stuff up on the site. My best sellers so far seem to be the sunrise/sunset shots I made of the Nebraska Capitol sometime last late summer. Indeed I think some folks make a pretty good amount, certainly enough to buy a lens or something, but then they need to come at it as professionals, and I don' wanna do that no more. (N)
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
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Post by minniev » Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:58 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:41 pm
You actually have two canaries. One of them (me) is on Shutterstock. I discovered that I had made $16 bucks (they don't pay out until $35 bucks) but I only learned about it when I had to jump through a few more hoops with tax stuff (they have to withhold). There are hoops. Some of it I find a royal pain, especially the tagging, although Shutterstock (the only one I'm on so far) does make useful suggestions that eases some of that. I currently have about a hundred new images in line that I have to finish titling and tagging. They delete them off the servers if they aren't submitted in 45 days. They are VERY picky about sharpness, noise, and especially size (too small and they won't even let you upload it and a lot of my older stuff is from tiny sensors plus cropped so... but the newest stuff is from a fairly large APS-C sensor). They will reject anything that they suspect might be copyrighted. I have some pictures of public art, sculpture in parks that may get rejected, but they will then offer to take it if I can provide a property release (I hate the thought of trying to get one). Recognizable people must have a model release, and their definition of "recognizable" can include people taken from the back! I suspect "street" is out unless you can convince them it is editorial rather than commercial.

So honestly it's a pain, and I hadn't even looked in for months (I only had about two dozen up until now), but suddenly I've got $16 bucks (less tax) in the kitty so I'm uploading more, but it's not easy, nor especially fun, but I suspect it could be lucrative if you get enough stuff up on the site. My best sellers so far seem to be the sunrise/sunset shots I made of the Nebraska Capitol sometime last late summer. Indeed I think some folks make a pretty good amount, certainly enough to buy a lens or something, but then they need to come at it as professionals, and I don' wanna do that no more. (N)
That is a helpful description of what happens, how, and the end result. I have suspected as much, and that has deterred me from investing time in doing it. Jury is still out!
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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