So you want to sell your photos as fine art prints? I can help you start this journey. I have been a full-time landscape photographer since 1995, so I have experienced more than 20 years of this ever changing industry. Through the years, I have met many landscape photographers and have learned to understand the photography market and how to sell photo using variety of venues.
It is not easy to find buyers for your fine art prints. Most nature photographers are under the impression that a website is all you need to make money selling your photos. While having a professional photography website is important to sell your photos, it is not enough to make money from your fine art prints. Here are the six most important points I have learned over the years:
Know the Market for your Fine Art Prints
Knowing the market for your fine art prints is very important! Whether you are in a coffee shop, gallery, or outdoor art festival, knowing the market will help determine your success. How do you determine the market? Look around and do your research. What is the price point of the fine art prints on display? What subject matter/sense of location do you observe? Does the area you want to sell your photo cater to tourists or locals? With these questions answered, you will know if your work will fit in the local market.
Attending a local outdoors art show is a great way to get your work in front of different markets. You will get a sense of the demographics of the majority of your buyers. You will also see what nature photos people are most drawn to and what photos sell.
Keep in mind that very high end galleries, fine art shows, and museums have an extensive mailing list and a worldwide collector base. So if you look at these, you will notice that they are more open to a variety of fine art photos as well as higher price points. But on the other end, they have a much higher expectation of uniqueness and quality. So it may be difficult to get your fine art prints displayed in these high end galleries.
Find the market to sell your photos
Finding a market to sell your photos is another route you can take. If you have a beautiful portfolio of ocean scenes, your best market will be in areas where there is an ocean. You can still sell this work elsewhere but it will be much harder. Many buyers (not collectors) of fine art prints are attempting to match their decor. If you are in an area of southwestern architecture and interior design, you will have the best luck with images of the southwest. Again, research is imperative here. Talk to other artists, visit the gallery/art festival to see what is on display and selling, and look at their websites to see what style of fine art photos dominates. You may not want to waste your time and energy on a gallery that only shows the work of dead impressionist painters.
Also know what the market can bear. If you want to sell your photos in a flea market, people are expecting certain price points that are dramatically different than they find in the high end galleries. Keep your prices consistent across the board but maybe only offer your smaller and less expensive fine art prints at the flea market with the hopes of up-selling them to your more expensive work. Some galleries have solo one month exhibits and bring addition recognition to your art.
Create a Quality Fine Art Print
Our fine art photography is the greatest representative of us. Every gallery I have the pleasure of being represented by requires flawless fine arts to be displayed on their walls. You should require the same high quality standard of yourself regardless of the venue you are using to sell your photos. Don’t look at a coffee shop as a way to dispose of your damaged or substandard fine art prints but instead put your best foot forward.
Consistently displaying high quality work will build a long term reputation for your fine art prints and make it easier to get repeat business. Some galleries have solo one month exhibits. Having high quality fine art prints will make it easiest to get into one of these galleries and bring additional recognition to your art.
Develop Relationship with Local Businesses
We are our own best advocates. But making and creating positive relationships with others goes a long way. This plays true on the internet as well. Learn to get along with other artists, gallery owners, art show directors, and fine art collectors because word of mouth is a huge part of this business. I have created great relationships with fine art collectors who have then invited me to teach them about nature photography around the world. You never know who will pass your name onto others.
Don’t Compete with Low Priced Fine Art Vendors
Visit any number of websites or art festivals and you will find an array of different price points. Don’t succumb to the pressure to sell your photos by lowering your prices. Instead, find a way to project value for your work. With this and experience, you can demand higher prices.
Don’t just price the work based on how much it cost to print. There is so much more that you have invested in each and every image. Be realistic and understand your time and expenses of capturing the images, in creating and getting the work ready for display, and your other overhead business expenses. Plus, the more competitively we as photographers price our work in relation to painters and other artists, the more value people will put on photography.
Learn to Sell your Photos
Get your work out there and learn to sell your photos. Fine art buyers love to hear stories. They want to know what inspired you to capture the nature photo on display and they want to know how their life will be enriched by the purchase of your fine art print. I believe 50% of most fine art sales is attributed to the connection the buyer had with the artist and the other 50% is the connection the buyer had with the fine art print.
Finally be patient. It takes time to get your name out there, establish a reputation and develop relationships with clients and businesses to sell your photos. So if you are getting started in trying to sell your photos then good luck.