In How Photographs are Sold, fine art photographer, teacher, and author Alain Briot brings together the stories as well as real-world examples of how fine art photographers sell their work. The contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds and take a number of different techniques with how they sell their works.
In his earlier book Marketing Fine Art Photography, the author presented a tool kit on how to sell your artwork. The intent of How Photographs Are Sold is to show you how the photograph can be sold from a variety of different sources using a number of different methods of both producing and selling art work. This knowledge comes from full time professionals to those who sell just to fuel their passion of the arts. How Photographs Are Sold is 169 pages in length and is contained in 5 parts.
“Getting Started” acknowledges that a lot has changed since the author published his first book on marketing. With the recession and other factors, what was valid before may not always work in today’s world and so the key to any business like this is that you have to be able to adapt. This chapter highlights those things that have changed and some of the approaches that you may have to revise. Topics here include are you really selling your work, are you ready to sell your work, as well as a look at the authors approach to teaching and marketing.
“Part 1: How Fine Art Photographs Are Sold and What Happens in the Process” focuses on the authors experiences in selling fine art. Each segment is a story and all 15 stroies exemplify a specific topic within the buying and selling process. The idea is to provide insight into the hows and whys of the selling and buying process.
Topics covered include how to create stories that bring your images to life and how these stories can never make it too exciting. You will find that the more you can bring to an image from an emotional standpoint the more it matters to the buyer. Other stories include how to not feel anger over a deal, how to personalize, how to make it unique, and how to make your customers feel comfortable.
“Part 2: Eight Artists: In Their Own Words” now looks at stories that feature the approaches used by other photographers. These are artists from the United States as well as other counties and cover a wide range of artistic styles and goals that the artists take to their work. The chapters provide background to the artist, how they work, and insight into the various business decisions that they have made related to marketing.
The stories include selling wholesale, home galleries, to galleries, selling from a personal website, fine art stock and custom assignments, fine art shows, fine art portraits, and personal brick and mortar gallery. At the end of each of these stories is the website and email address of each of the artists as well as a skill assessment exercise that can walk you through to determine if this is the right method for you.
“Part 3: What Artists Do and Don’t Do: Problems and Solutions” is a collection of marketing problems and their solutions. These include solutions to pricing, negotiating, differentiating between what is “praiseworthy” and what is “sales worthy”, doing art for arts sake and not for sales, working with galleries, and much more.
“End Notes” finishes up the book by looking at what it takes to gain credibility in a business that almost anyone can enter as well as what makes you qualified to promote yourself. You will learn about other intangibles that will help you build your fine art business.
How Photographs Are Sold is a down to earth guide that can really enhance your marketing skills no matter what your ultimate goals are. The ability to generate income as a fine art photographer is tough irrespective of the economy. When that goes bad, if you do not have the ability to adapt, you will fail. By having a strong foundation in marketing skills you will be better equipped to react to those changes. How Photographs Are Sold will leave you better prepared.
It is an easy read, and can be used by just about anyone at any level. If you are just starting out or you have been working at it for years, I believe that there is something for everyone and for that reason I very highly recommend How Photographs are Sold.
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