If you ask Fine Art Photographers about how they went about selling their work online, 90% of them will tell you that its a game of patience. Selling fine art is a tricky business & most people look for selling on the internet as getting featured in galleries or getting an agent is a lot harder than it might seem. Fine art photography is a niche that gathers relatively smaller fans & buyers but the payoffs can be brilliant! The argument however is where do you start in the first place & how do you prepare yourself for what might be an exhaustive but creatively fulfilling journey. Getting your name up with the greats is not an easy task but it’s not impossible. In fact when it comes to selling photography of any kind online, these guidelines can really be the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is how you can get a headstart on selling fine art photography…
1. Learn to sell yourself first
Successful photographers are generally successful business people too. No photographer will admit that selling fine art photography online is an overnight game. Being a great photographer is one thing and being a great salesman is another. Sure, your friends will tell you that if your work is great then you won’t have trouble selling. But unfortunately, that’s not true. Before you step out to sell your photographs, make sure your concept & idea behind your work is is crystal clear. Prepare to sell your who you are before anything else. Do you really want to wait for your clients to stumble on to your work somewhere or do you want to reach a bigger audience more quickly? You decide.
Learn from Trey Ratcliff. His website StuckInCustoms.com is followed by thousands of photographers all over the world. The website defines his personality & thoughts so well that it feels like he is communicating with you face to face.
2. Get involved with online fine art photography communities
You might want to consider getting accounts on some influential fine art photography websites like FineArtAmerica.com, DeviantArt.com & PhotoShelter.com. These websites a lot of traffic from people all over the world, where art is the common language for all. Also, find out the websites that share a good relationship with offline spaces. Those who find your work interesting can make direct purchases of your images according to sizes of their preferences. The hose website might charge a small commission fee to keep them going. Paying that cut to get noticed by your potential clients is peanuts as compared to trying to sell offline. Here it’s more about reaching a wider audience & having the faith in your work.
Make sure to thoroughly what each website has to offer, copyright terms & conditions, security options, commission structures etc. They are different for each of them.
3. Go out and about
Get yourself out there and put your best foot forward. The best way to do this is to do a little research on the ones that are already showing up on search engines. Study in detail what those photographers are doing to get published on various blogs & websites to promote their work. Are they using social media platforms? If yes, then how are they building their network. What are the kind of promotional activities that they are doing? These will help you get uncluttered with all the noise in the head of how to start. Make sure to bookmark your favorites and keep a watch on their latest proceedings.
4. Go Social Media Crazy
It’s impossible to grow without the help of all the wonderful social media platforms that are connecting photographers from one part of the world with another. Authoritative websites like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook & LinkedIn are great places to share & connect with people who might eventually become buyers of your work. Learn more about Connect with gallery owners, share your stuff with other contemporary artists and enthusiasts who can give you good critique of your work. Let them know what inspires you, your thoughts behind a particular concept etc. Keep your tone as friendly as possible! It’s easier to get friends to understand what you do than a total stranger. You can download our simple to use Photography Marketing Guides for Photographers for LinkedIn & Facebook.
Learn from Trey Ratcliff again. Trey’s fine art photography is much followed on his blog & website along with the massive social media following that he has. He is currently in 32,69,194 Google+ circles
5. Start a Blog
Starting a blog is perhaps the easiest way to expose your personality. Expressing yourself & writing more about what your idea & style of photography is can be super helpful. Why? Because this is how people get to know you first hand. It’s your personal space first. Put your thoughts into posts and drive them subtly to the prowess of your concept & ideas. Maintaining a blog is a symbol of dedication & commitment that you have towards your work. Let your clients be updated with what you might have in store for them. It also makes it easier for prospects to find you. Keep them guessing & you have a winner in your hands.
Learn from Debesh Sharma. Even though his work is not for sale but he speaks his heart out on his blog. With his bog his philosophy shines through brilliantly, thus making the readers more aware of who he is as a person & what his work is all about.
6. Use proper licensing
Photographers are as good as commodities. This does not go out specifically for only fine art photographers but since stats show that fine art photography is used in stock imagery more than any other field, it is vital you make sure that your license & copyright protection is in place. Theft is probably the biggest nuisance that photographers have to deal with while selling their photography online. You might never get to know where your images are being used without your permission.
Learn from Photoshelter. In this highly informative blog post you will get to know how you can license your photography as stock. Splendid!
7. Get a professional website
There could be a million excuses that you could come up with when it comes to getting a professional photography website made. You could procrastinate by saying to yourself that a free website or a free portfolio or a Facebook fan page is going to do be enough. Unfortunately, you might have to reconsider your options if you want to be successful. Selling online becomes a lot easier if your clients see a presentable website with good looking galleries. Rest your work shall speak for automatically. Makes it easier on them to take a decision henceforth.
Learn from Dave Hill. Even though Dave is not a fine art photographer so to say, he knows he is different than others. This is why he has been careful about the website where he showcases his work. His stunning photography is displayed superbly with good looking galleries & easy to navigate interface.
8. Aim at being the best
The shortest route to success is ironically not so short. There are no short cuts to achieving what you love so intensely. So make sure you focus properly on learning more techniques and experimenting with different themes & concepts of fine art photography. Mark it as a lifelong aim to be the best at what you do. Constantly strive to improve your photography and you will attract eyeballs nonetheless. Moreover, your work gets noticed only when it’s strikingly different & good looking. Start your journey but not with an end or rest in sight.
Learn from Rita Burnstein. Rita left her career as a civil rights lawyer to pursue photography for good. Since then she has never looked back & never stopped improving herself. Since she is not too fond of traveling, most of her works are from around her home, Philadelphia. Her full list of honors & recognition can be seen here: Bio