Blue Dawn at White Sands: How it was done

This photograph was taken at dawn, at the blue hour that precedes sunrise.

The sky was clear and still not tinted red by the sun.  The light on the dunes was only from the blue sky. The white sand dunes, being neutral in color, took on the color of the sky.  While the sand was white it looked blue to the camera.

My eyes did not see the blue color because human eyesight neutralizes colors.  To me the dunes looked white.  To the camera they were blue because digital sensors, and film to some extent, capture color the way it is.  Unlike human sight they do not neutralize colors.

During processing I altered the color slightly to create harmonious blue tones and make the scene aesthetically pleasing.  However the color was there to start with.



About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website at this link:

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot
November 2017



This photograph was created during the 2012 Eclipse of the Sun.

The photograph was taken from the Island in the Sky viewpoing in Canyonlands National Park, not that it matters since you cannot tell from the photo where it was taken.

I used a 250mm lens on my medium format digital camera. The image was cropped during processing. #eclipse #canyonlands


Alain Briot

The 2017 Zion Fine Art Summit

The 2017 Zion
Fine Art Photography Summit

You can register for this event now by clicking here

Zion-sunrise-collage-pano-crop-700 Sunrise, Zion National Park

Each year for the past 15 years we have offered an event called the Fine Art Photography Summit.

This event used to be organized jointly by Uwe Steinmueller and myself. When Uwe passed away in 2014 I continued organizing the Summit with my wife Natalie.

The goal of the Summit is to offer an event that covers all the different aspects of fine art photography: field work, image processing, one on one work, printing and print reviews. The goal of the Summit is also to give you the opportunity to photograph some of the most photogenic locations and learn from different guest instructors each year.

To achieve these goals the Summit features both field photography sessions and classroom presentations. We capture photographs during the field photography sessions, at sunrise, sunset and during daytime, and we study, process and review these images during the classroom sessions.

The classroom sessions include instructional presentations given by myself and by Jeff Schewe who is the 2017 Guest Instructor. Classroom sessions also include time for personal work as well as time for one on one work. During the one on one sessions Jeff and I work with you personally and help you with specific aspects of your work. This gives you an opportunity to get personalized help and to focus on what matters to you.

The Summit takes place in a different location each year. Over the years the Summit has taken us to Death Valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Navajoland, Antelope Canyon and many other locations. This year we have chosen Zion National Park as our location. The Summit classroom sessions will take place in the Zion Holiday Inn at the entrance of the park. The hotel will be our base for this event. From there we will explore the park daily to photograph the best locations at sunrise, sunset and during daytime.

The Summit is an educational, creative and fun event. Participants include both new and previous attendees. This creates a learning and sharing environment in which study, creativity, fun and camaraderie are essential components.

Zion-IMG_2769-Pano-700Classroom Session during the 2015 Death Valley Summit

The Instructors
The summit is taught by Alain Briot and Jeff Schewe. Jeff is our guest instructor for 2017. Jeff is one of the most knowledgeable persons about Photoshop and Lightroom. I can guarantee that he will answer each and every question you may have about Photoshop and Lightroom.

My personal focus is fine art photography and my presentations will teach you how to create fine art photographs. Specifically, I will show you techniques that will take your work beyond documentation and into the realm of art, working with Lightroom, Photoshop and other software packages.

The advantage of having two instructors is that you are exposed to two very different ways of creating fine art photographs. These differences are obvious when you look at the workflows that Jeff and I use. While our goal is the same, namely to create fine art images, the way we reach this goal is very different. We use different workflows, different tools and we have a different philosophical approach to art.

This is a huge advantage for you because it proves the point that there are many ways to create art. Being exposed to this diversity opens the way to finding your own personal style. You can pick and choose what you like and don’t like and create your own personal approach to fine art photography.

Alain and Jeff teaching during the 2016 Summit


Our Schedule
The Summit schedule is carefully organized. Natalie takes care of all the logistics and scheduling. Having a dedicated person taking care of logistics insures that everything runs smoothly and that our photography and instruction time is maximized.

The Summit takes place November 3rd to 6th 2017 in Zion, Utah. The Summit is followed by a three-day Photographic Vision Field Workshop to Bryce Canyon, Escalante-Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef on November 7th to 9th. The full schedule and Field Workshop itinerary is available at this link:

About Zion
Zion National Park is one of the Jewels of the Southwest. The park consists of two main areas: Zion Canyon and Zion High Country. This layout has the advantage of offering roadside access to both the canyon bottom and the canyon rims, a combination unique in the Southwest. In comparison Grand Canyon only offers roadside access to the canyon rim. To access the bottom you have to hike a mile down into the earth. Similarly Canyon de Chelly only offers roadside access to the canyon rim. To access the bottom you have to hire a Navajo guide and four wheel drive into the canyon.

Having easy access to both floor and the rims of Zion canyon multiplies the photographic opportunities this National Park offers us. Because these two areas are totally different they allow you to create a greater variety of images. These include views of Zion’s Canyon towering walls, photographs of the river and the narrows from the canyon bottom and views of the high country where the variety of sandstone formations offer endless opportunities for creative photography.

About the Summit Vision Field Workshop
The day after the Summit ends we start on the second part of this event: the Summit Vision Field Workshop. The Vision Field Workshop is your opportunity to practice and develop the skills you learned during the Summit. It is called the Vision Field Workshop because the goal is to focus on finding a personal vision for your work.

The Summit Vision Field Workshop is popular because it allows you to maximize the value of your trip by visiting and photographing additional locations. This year we will visit three different National Parks and National Monuments: Bryce Canyon, Escalante-Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef National Parks.

All three parks offer superb photographic opportunities and all three are little visited meaning that we can expect to see few and at time no other photographers. Please note that if you are joining us and you want to attend both the Summit and the Vision Field workshops you need to act quickly because the field workshops are nearly sold out. The combination Summit + Vision Field Workshops always sells out first because participants want to maximize their time by taking advantage of the photographic opportunities offered by both.

Bryce Canyon, one of the locations we will photograph during the Summit Vision Field Workshop


Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument
A second location we will photograph during the Summit Vision Field Workshop


Jeff and Natalie during the 2016 Summit Vision Field Workshop to Navajoland


Link to the Summit description and registration page
The full Summit description, pricing and registration information are available at this link:

This link also features biographies for Jeff and myself, a detailed itinerary and additional important information about the Summit.

Free Raffle
We always have a diversity of gifts that we raffle to Summit participants at the end of the event. These include books signed by Jeff and Alain, free gifts, Epson inkjet paper and even the Epson printer we use to print participants work during the Summit.

Last year we raffled the Epson Printer we used to print participants work during the Summit.
The raffle was won by Roz (between Jeff and Alain) who returned home with a free printer,
an extra set of ink cartridges and boxes of Epson inkjet paper.

If you have any questions not answered here or on the Summit description page simply email me at

Thank you.

Alain Briot

Testimonial from Stefano, 2016 Summit participant

The Zion Narrows


Copyright © Alain Briot 2017
All rights reserved worldwide



One on One Consulting and Mentoring Program

My Consulting & Mentoring Programs


I offer two options for Consulting and Mentoring:

First, One on One Consulting over the phone:

Second, One on 1One Consulting In my studio:

After the first consulting call with a student I always pause and ask myself if I want to continue working with each student.  My decision to continue or not is based on the student’s motivation, on the quality of their work and on whether their work is marketable or not. I know you are committed, that you strive for high quality, and that your work is sellable. This is why I am making this recommendation.

Let me know if you want to join the consulting program.  The money you spend on consulting will be more than recouped through sales that would otherwise not happen and with the satisfaction of selling your work to people who appreciate it and are willing to pay adequate prices for it.

I must also point out that just revising your price list, which is what we did during the first session, is not enough to guarantee success.  While important, a price list is not a marketing vehicle and will not, by itself, generate sales, as I mentioned during our call.

We can go session by session if you want to focus on printing, processing or have specific questions about selling your work that I can answer quickly.  However, if you want me to prepare a marketing plan for you, you need to enroll in the 7 sessions program.  The reason being that we need to do follow up calls to implement and fine tune the program.  It’s not something that can be done in 1 session.  If you enroll within a month, then we can count the session we just did as part of the 7, leaving 6 to be billed.  After 30 days too much time has gone by and it is best to start all over again.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend the Marketing Plan approach.  It’s what you need and what will give you the most return both in terms of income and of personal satisfaction.  The other approach is ‘touch and go’ and not as effective because it goes from one thing to another without having a pre-defined goal.  The marketing plan on the other hand starts with a specific goal then charts the way to reach this goal.  This is why we need 7 sessions.  If you go that way we will focus on setting specific goals during the next session, work out a marketing plan, set deadlines, then use the remaining 5 sessions to implement and fine tune this plan.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot

Four categories of photographers selling their work

Four categories of photographers selling their work

Selling your photographs is a serious decision. How you approach this decision depends on your personal goals.  I have been studying and teaching he sale of fine art photography for a long time.  One thing I found is that most photographers fit in one of four different categories. Below is a description of these categories.

The goal of this essay is to help you chart your path in regards to selling your photography.

1 – You are considering selling your photographs
If you are considering selling your images I strongly encourage you to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar even if you are not selling right now.  The reason is that acquiring the knowledge necessary to sell your work professionally and profitably is needed before you start selling, not after.  After you can only try to fix problems.  Before you can save yourself many mistakes, headaches and frustrations and be profitable much faster.  The discount package for the workshop + the seminar is also a good reason.  We have many students who do both so attending the seminar will allow you to make friend with workshop participants right away.

2 – You are starting to sell your photographs
You may have been selling for a few months, a year or two years, and you are trying to ‘learn the ropes’ and figure out how to build your business.  The main question at this point is to realistically assess your level of success.  Are you making a profit or not?  Is your income justifying the hard work and long hours you are spending to sell your work? Are you happy with your present situation or are you frustrated, or worse angry, because of what you have to go through?  If the answer to these questions is yes the answer is to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar because you will get solid answers and solutions right away instead of trying to find the answers by yourself which can take years, if you find them at all.

3 – You have been selling your work for a number of years
You have been selling for a number of years and you have your system.  It may not work as well as you’d like, but it works well enough to continue.  You would not mind finding a way to make it truly worthwhile though, more profitable, so that you reach the next step, make more money and kick butt.

Again the important thing here is to realistically asses your level of success in regards to your original goals.  However this is not enough.  Another important step is to take a good look at your dreams.  Most photographers dream of achieving more than they have but settle for less because they do not believe they can do better.  Fact is you can do better, but you have to know how. There is a much higher potential for success than you believe, you just need to know how to get there.

4 – You have stopped selling your work
Photographers rarely stop selling because they reached their financial goals.  Just about all those who quit do so because of problems.  You may have quit because selling your work was frustrating, or you did not have enough sales, or problems piled up, or adversity of one kind or another overwhelmed you.  However you have this longing feeling that somehow you did not give it your all and that there may be a way to make it work.   In other words, you would give it a second try if you knew how to make it work.  You still want to achieve your dreams.  You know that there is only one way to do so.

I designed the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar to help you regardless of which of these four main areas you are in.  Success is possible, but you have to know what to do to be successful.  Quite simply, the goal of the seminar is to teach you what that is.

Take a look at the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar description to find out how this will be done.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot

My Philosophy

My Philosophy

My Philosophy

1 – Introduction
This essay focuses on my approach to fine art photography. In order to explain how I do what I do I thought it was important to describe my philosophy in regards to art and photography.  As such this essay describes the aspects of art and landscape photography that are essential to my work and therefore particularly important to me.

2 – Gear
I like great gear but I am aware that improving gear means getting better gear, not creating better art. Quite simply better gear equals better resolution, sharpness, dynamic range, stability, functions and other technical qualities. Better gear does not equal better art or more interesting photographs. Better knowledge of art and photography equals better art and more interesting photographs.

My artistic skills are not defined by my gear any more than a painter’s skills are defined by the brushes, the paint or the canvas that he uses. Interestingly enough, unlike photographers painters don’t sit around talking about the quality of their gear, be it paint, brushes, canvas, easels or other. Neither is there a DxO Mark equivalent for the various dynamic range combination of paint, brushes and canvas. In fact there is no such thing as paint dynamic range, paint clipping or out of gamut color palette. Painters simply do not have to worry about color balance or any of the other technical concerns that many photographers seem obsessed with. Rather, they are concerned with expressing their vision and their emotional response to the subject, something they arrive at rather quickly not being bothered by the countless technical considerations that photographers concern themselves with.

Neither does there seem to be a hierarchy among painters based on the gear they use, at least not the way photographers approach the relationship between gear and skill level or even self worth. To return to DxO mark, this time from a photographer’s point of view, for most of us visiting this site is a humbling experience because we seek to find how high we are on the sensor-rating scale, from rock bottom to top of the line. However, what seems lost on most photographers is that this evaluation is based not on their skill level but on their ownership of a specific camera. While on the one hand having a low rating camera can generate low self esteem, having the top-ranked camera can generates insecurity for no one knows for sure how long it will be until a bigger, better and unfortunately often more expensive camera will supersede the current ‘champ.’ For those in between the highest and the lowest ranked camera, the level of self esteem drops proportionally to the relative ranking of one’s camera. This is often accompanied with the feeling that we are has-beens if our camera is anything past a year or two old, or 5 to 6 cameras below the top ranked model of the day, if that much.

3 – Field photography
Creating images in the field is where everything starts. There is simply no substitute for being inspired by nature itself. While there can be inspiration before field work, regarding where to go, what to do, how to approach the subject and so on, it is when I witness the beauty of nature in all its grandeur and glory that my heart and soul become filled with the desire to create a work of art.

I like to take a lot of captures when I work in the field. I don’t subscribe to the idea that a photograph has to be captured with a single frame. I find no glory in getting the shot in a single exposure. For me this a film based concept that is no longer relevant today. This concept was based on the fact that film and processing were expensive and that we could only carry a limited quantity of film. This was particularly true with large format, say 4×5 and larger, but it was also true with smaller formats. With digital capture there is no cost after the first $20,000 (adjust to fit your budget), and I have no limit as to how much storage I can carry because even if I fill all the storage cards I can carry I can always download them to a computer and start again. Therefore, limiting how much I shoot means bypassing one of the most advantageous aspects of digital photography which is that the number of captures I can make is unlimited and that capturing images carries no real cost due to the ridiculously low price of storage devices. It is therefore to my advantage to put the numbers on my side and to return home with as much data as I can, knowing that the cost of returning to the location is what is expensive, both in terms of travel expenses and in terms of time.

Collage-1-FS-layersLes Sentinelles Eternelles
One of my most recent images as of the writing of this essay.
The creation of this image follows the approach outlined in this essay.

I also do not make a call in the field in regards to what are my best captures. I can do that at my leisure in my studio when I return home. The purpose of field work is to gather data, of the finest quality I can and in as large a quantity as I feel. From this data the final images will emerge and no one needs to know how many images led to the final ones unless I decide to share this information.

In the field I also shoot wide and later crop as needed because high resolution cameras free me from having to figure out the perfect crop in the field. The difference in resolution is unnoticeable because the lack of image data is insignificant. However the final cropping is far more accurate than I could ever do it on location.

I also like to shoot both horizontal and verticals, try different compositions of the same scene, and intentionally capture wider views than I intend to use. Approximately 50 % of my work is composed of collages done not for the purpose of increasing pixel density but instead to increase field of view beyond what my widest lenses can capture. I also like the look of collaged images better than the look of wide angle photographs, even if they show the same field of view.

Once back in the studio I look at the different images I captured and progressively narrow the number of keepers based on technical and aesthetic considerations. I make a pre-selection in Lightroom then a second and narrower selection in Photoshop. I make the third selection after the images have been optimized to the technical layers stage, and the fourth selection after the image has been optimized all the way to the artistic layers stage (see below). The fifth and final selection is made after all the images have been optimized to their final state, and after I have had time to study them and reflect upon them.

4 – Image processing
It is in the studio that the second part of my work takes place. Inspired by my emotional response to the scenes I photographed, I enhance and manipulate my photographs at my heart’s content to express what I truly saw and felt. In Lightroom and Photoshop I do what I like to call ‘unspeakable things’ to my photographs and if you ask me, yes sir, I manipulate my work and I am proud of it. In fact, let me add that it feels great, carries not risk of heart disease, and some even say that it enhances life longevity through stress reduction induced by the liberation of all concerns for what others might think.

I don’t see anything that can be done with digital processing as being inappropriate when creating art. If I was doing forensic or documentation photography I certainly would rule many things as inappropriate. However, art is the domain of imagination and personal expression and digital processing opens the doors to possibilities that film photography never offered. This to me is a dream come true and I embrace all the possibilities that the medium offers. Nothing is out of bounds, taboo, illegal, or whatever term you may want to use to tell me that I should not do it.

In other words I do not limit myself to darkroom processes enhanced by digital imaging. Rather than restrict myself to dodging, burning, density, color adjustments and cropping, all done with more control and perfect repeatability from print to print that I could ever have in the darkroom, I use all the functions available in Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance and optimize my photographs and make them conform to my vision. I warp, collage, HDR, reformat, clone, stretch and otherwise manipulate my images at will. Instead of feeling guilty about doing this I embrace the possibilities offered by digital photography and I welcome whatever functions will become available next. These functions make life easier for me by alleviating many of the unnecessarily tough aspects of film photography and by bringing possibilities I could only dream of before.

5 – Fine art printing
The outcome of all this work is a fine art print. Not an image on screen, regardless of impressive the quality of today’s monitors might be, but a fine art print on paper (or other substrate), because paper requires no technology to be seen. I don’t need electricity, I don’t have to plug-in hard drives, connect USB cards to monitors, download and update software, or worry about forward and backward compatibility. I also don’t have to wonder if my descendants will be able to make sense of my file structure, or if later software and hardware will be able to read my files, or if someone will be kind enough to continue updating my entire computer storage and display system to guarantee access to my work ‘forever’. While they may not last ‘forever,’ my prints are accessible to all, requiring only eyes and the desire to look at them to be seen.

6 – Print quality
Print quality is of the upmost importance to me. Fine art landscape photography it a low drama medium. While I may depict a dramatic sunset, rainbow or storm, not much happens in the way of action, unlike in reportage, street, or sports photography for example. Therefore, while in reportage photography the content creates the interest and print quality is secondary, in fine art landscape photography the print quality is just as important as the content. In fact, it is often more important than the content. This is because natural locations being accessible to all, the same locations are photographed by many photographers. In this situation the difference between a good photograph and a stunning one of the same location is often the difference in print quality. In a head to head contest it is the print quality that separates a good photograph from an outstanding one.

I spare no efforts in creating the finest prints I can create. In doing so it is the processing of the image that matters most because it is during processing that print quality takes place, or not, as the case might be. While printer, ink, paper, printer profile and system calibration are important, they are variables that can be controlled through technique and experience. They can also be purchased with anyone with the necessary funds. In many ways printers are default devices. What varies is the image file.

File preparation therefore is just as much an art form as a technical exercise. In fact, once the technique has been learned to the point of becoming second nature, it is all art. So much so that my image optimization workflow is separated in two primary parts: technical and artistic. I work in Lightroom and Photoshop, doing basic file preparation in Lightroom then continuing the optimization in Photoshop using adjustment layers. I start by creating a set of technical layers whose goal is to create the technical foundation of the image. If I was doing documentation I could stop there because at that stage the image is perfect in regards to being a documentary record of the scene. However, it has no artistic qualities besides the composition of the image in the field, the choice of subject and light, and the decisions I made regarding lens and angle of view. It is the second set of layers, the artistic layers, that give the image the artistic qualities I seek to share with my audience. This second set of artistic layers include all sort of manipulations, from color changes to contrast adjustment, to cloning, to transformation of the image geometry using warp, distort or other transform functions, to reformatting of the image, for example making a vertical image an horizontal through stretching either the entire image or part of it, and more. As I said earlier on I enjoy doing ‘unspeakable’ things to my images and this is where this part of the process takes place.

While the set of technical layers usually takes me only minutes to complete, the set of artistic layers takes me much longer, anywhere from several hours to several weeks or months. Of course I do not remain chained to my desk for weeks on end, but it does takes me that long to work on the image on and off as inspiration strikes, trying to find the correct combination of colors and contrast needed to make a specific image work.

_DSF4588-FS-Flat-900 - copieCloud Filled Dawn

7 – Instruction
Teaching is important to me because I want to pass the torch so to speak and share my knowledge and my passion for fine art photography with other like-minded artists and photographers. To this end I teach a small number of workshops per year. I keep the number small because by limiting the number of workshops I can focus on the needs of my students 100% instead of being pulled in every directions by an overwhelmingly busy schedule. In practice I teach only six workshops per year on average, interspaced with one on one work with dedicated students who want to go beyond what can be learned in a group setting. My workshops are small, consisting of 12 students in my regular field workshops and 6 in my little known workshops series. I offer one on one mentoring because when studying fine art there comes a time when specific challenges can only be met one on one. Creating a personal style for example, or expressing a personal vision throughout a body of work, or working on a focused project, or again putting together a successful marketing plan are aspects of fine art that require a one on one environment.

I separate my courses in three categories: field work, studio work and marketing instruction. While there is no substitute for field work, as I explained in section one above, studio and marketing courses are offered both as live events and as Mastery Workshops on DVD/USB. I offer these two options to meet the needs of students who like to study in person and by themselves. While there is a value in studying in person, there is also a value in studying by yourself with a master tutorial that you can carry everywhere, refer to at will, and study at your leisure instead of having to learn and remember everything in 2 days. My mastery tutorials also saves time and travel expenses, and they remove the risk of not remembering essential information because note-taking failed you.

Collage-2-FS-Flat-900 - copieAfternoon in Canyon de Chelly

8 – Art
Art is my goal. In working towards this goal I am fully aware of the distinction between fine art photography and commercial photography. Doing commercial photography means being hired by a client on the basis that I can successfully create the photographs that this client wants. I am paid if I fulfill this contract. Fine art photography means creating images that please me, images that express my vision of the world in my personal style. People buy my work if they like my style and can relate to my vision of the world.

I also know that art is a matter of personal taste. What people like depends on people’s taste. Plus, when it comes to art opinions are polarized. Therefore, creating art means that some will love my work while others will dislike it. As such I am not surprised to have both fans and foes. In fact I consider this normal. The fact that I do means that I am creating art and not just documenting the world.

9 – Exhibiting
Showing my work starts with finding an audience who likes my work. While there is a difference between fine art and commercial photography, as I explained above, I still have to somehow manage to communicate successfully with my audience.

There are limits however to how far one can communicate successfully when it comes to exhibiting art. I learned a long time ago not to try to convince the inconvincible. Too many photographers waste valuable time trying to change the mind of people who don’t like their work. This is futile. My time is better spent looking for an audience who likes me and my work and helping this audience like my work even more.

It took me a long time to understand this but doing so saved me a lot of time and worries and helped me live a happier and longer life. Today I seek an audience who likes me and my work and I refuse to waste my time on those who don’t like what I do. I never lose sight of the fact that my goal is to create images that allow me to successfully share my vision and my emotional response to the subject with people who share my vision of the world, not with those who despise it.

10 – Conclusion
My goal is to to create images that expresses and share beauty. In doing so I am often amazed at how many people have misconceived ideas about art. Certainly I understand that art is not a mainstream concept. We live in a technically oriented society in which art and art instruction have taken a backseat. However this is not a reason for art to be dismissed altogether. We need it as much as we need technology. As Picasso said, art washes away the dust of everyday life, and we certainly have a lot of dust to wash away, wherever this dust may come from.

In thinking about this I consider several things in no particular order. First, art does not have to be perfect. As Dali put it: do not seek perfection for you will never reach it. Art is different from engineering in that respect because it does not need to be functional. Art only needs to look good. It does not have to perform a mechanical function, or any function for that matter, except aesthetic. Art does not have to work the way a machine works for example. If you design a machine and it does not work, you are fired at best and sued at worse. With art, if you create an unsatisfying work of art there is no penalty. At worse no one likes it. You won’t get fired over it and you won’t go to jail or be sued for having failed to express your vision successfully. I find this aspect of art freeing, refreshing and stress reducing and it is one of the reasons why art is an activity I enjoy.

I am always surprised by people who find that in order to be ‘good’ art must be hard to create. For me the quality of a work of art is not measured by how long it took to create it any more than good food it defined by how long it took to cook it. Good is good, that’s all. I pay attention to how much beauty, enjoyment and insights the work brings to me, not to how long it took to make it. For me a sketch by Picasso that took only a minute to complete is just as valuable and enjoyable as a painting by Picasso that took weeks or months to complete.

I am equally surprised by people who want to impose their view of what is ‘good’ art onto me. Surprised because I made the decisions that led to the the work I exhibit deliberately and with complete awareness of what I was doing. Therefore when someone tells me, for example, that the noise in the image bothers them, or that the colors are not to their liking, I always answer by saying that these do not bother me one bit, and that in fact I like them otherwise I would have made different aesthetic choices. They, as well as everyone else, have a choice when it comes to art and that is to not look at art that they do not like. I personally love my work and I have no desire to change it because someone does not like this or that. It is after all the nature of art that someone will dislike it, therefore by saying so those who do confirm that this aspect of art is alive and well.

Art is measured by how much emotion and pleasure it brings to us and to the viewer. I often say that if I do photography seriously and I am not having fun, something is wrong. I mean it. What is the point of doing something for fun if I am not having fun doing it? After all, no one forces me to do this. I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I do it because creating and sharing beautiful art makes life richer and more enjoyable.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot

You dont need a larger audience, you need a more qualified audience.

1 – Introduction
In recently received this question about my Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success SeminarI don’t see a lot of materials about how to reach a broad audience  in the seminar contents.”

Fact is, there is a lot of information on reaching your audience in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  The teaching materials are designed to help you reach as broad of an audience as possible.  For example, I have a lot of new information on how to use social media, how to build  an email list, how to stay in touch with new and previous customers and more.  Also keep in mind that if there is an aspect of marketing that is not addressed in the seminar, or not addressed in enough detail, you can ask questions during the seminar and I’ll give you detailed answers.

You can see the contents for the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar at this link.

2 – Size does not always matter
However, and this is really the most important part of my answer, keep in mind that it is not the size of your audience that matters most but instead the quality of your audience that is most important.  Social media is interesting in that respect because it provides fantastic examples to prove this point. Recently a photographer (I won’t give names for privacy reasons except that it is not me) had over 1 million views on one of his photographs posted on Google+ : a stunning panoramic photograph of Iceland.  The same photographer had to cancel his Summer 2013 Iceland workshop because he did not get enough participants to reach the break even point financially.  In other words not enough participants registered to make the workshop profitable . This says a lot about audience size and profitability.  1 million views on Google + but that person couldn’t fill 6 workshop seats …

The lesson here is that audience size is not the most important thing.  This is why in the new Advanced Marketing DVD I focus on ways of creating a qualified audience, an audience that is fascinated by you and who is going to buy from you over and over again.  This is the correct way to do it.  None of my photos have 1 million views, but I have no problem filling out my workshops, regardless of where I go.  As with many aspects of fine art, what matters most is quality, not quantity !

3 – The Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD
To go back to the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar, a lot of new and important information will be shared during the Seminar that I did not make available previously.  In fact, that information did not exist until now because Natalie and I developed it after spending the past two years doing research for this Seminar.  We visited many galleries and shows, talked to artists, gallery owners, show organizers and studied the fine art market as a whole.  The result is the creation of a vast amount of new material which is now featured in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar. During our research we learned of several significant changes to the fine art market over the past 2 years. One of the most important is that selling fine art is even more challenging today than it was before we started our research.

I will talk about this issue in the Seminar and I will give you solutions.  For example, for the first time I cover limited edition prints, explain why they have become important.  I also show three different ways of editioning your photographs.  Offering limited editions has become very important and the main issue is what is the best way to do it? Just putting a number on a print is not enough. This is not an effective way to convince customers to buy your work.  So I go over efficient and lucrative ways of editioning prints, ways that will generate sales if done the way I recommend. This is a very important aspect of fine art marketing today, one that can make a huge difference between selling and not selling prints, as well as between selling  prints for low prices and selling prints for high prices.

4 – Knowing how to handle objections is the key to closing more sales
Also, for the first time there will be a section on how to respond to objections. Customers have more objections today than they ever did because money is tighter than it’s ever been.  That doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy.  What it means is you must know how to answer their objections quickly and effectively.  Most of my sales are made to people whose first answer is ‘No’.  Yet, they do buy, just not immediately, only after I answer their objections.

I show you exactly how to do that by providing you first with an exhaustive list of every possible objection and second with the exact answers you need to give to close the sale.  And if I forgot or overlooked some objections, just email me and I’ll post the objection and the correct answer in the updates area.

Knowing how to answer objections effectively has magical consequences.  You will make sales you never thought possible and you will make these sales with answers so simple you’ll literally laugh all the way to the bank!  I had a customer just the other day who told me ‘I simply don’t need this.’   I asked him a single question, listened to his answer, then gave him the answer required for his specific objection.  When he hear my answer he turned around, looked at me and said: ‘In that case I’ll get it.  Here’s my credit card.’  I’m still laughing at how effective this technique is and at how much money those who don’t know it are losing!

5 – Conclusion
You don’t needs a large audience when you know how to maximize sales to the audience you currently have.  It’s a whole lot easier — and fun– that way.  In fact one of the biggest mistakes most businesses make is trying to find new customers instead of selling more to their existing customers. Looking for new customers is expensive and difficult while selling to existing customers is cheap and easy. The only challenge is knowing how to do it. I teach you how to do this in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar

So, in closing, I  recommend attending the 2017 Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  I am very proud of it and I know it will help you make more sales and take you to the next step.  The goal is to make you a winner and a profitable business owner.

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot

The power of marketing

The reason why most photographers can’t make a living from their work is because huge efforts are necesary to convince them to spend money on marketing but no efforts are required to get them to spend their money on cameras and gear.  The problem is that just about any camera can take a sellable photograph, but no photograph will be sold unless they are marketed in a convincing manner.

What made me successful selling my work is I decided to reverse this process: I stopped spending my money on cameras and started spending it on marketing instruction instead. ”
Alain Briot

A best seller
The quote above sums up what I often say when I talk about the importance of learning marketing when you want to make a living selling your work.

In 2007 I published my 3rd book on photography.  Titled Marketing Fine Art Photography, it focused on teaching readers how to market their fine art photographs. The book was, and continues to be, a huge success with photographers and entrepreneurs.  It sold tens of thousands of copies, received rave reviews, has a 5 star out of 5 stars ranking on Amazon, and is regularly featured as best-selling photography business and marketing book.

What is most interesting is I could not predict how successful this book was going to be.  The two photography books I published previously focused on the art of photography: composition, light, cameras, etc.  When I told  my publisher that I wanted to write a book on marketing, their response was negative. They believed that no one would be interested in learning how to market fine art photographs.

Today everyone is a photographer and everyone want to sell their work
2007 is a long time ago.  However the publishers were obviously wrong.  Today ‘everyone’ is a photographer and many want to know how to make money from their photography.  For most the goal is to recoup the cost of their equipment, software and consumable.  However this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Many have a more powerful and personal reason: to learn how to make a living from their art.  For these photographers, making a living from their artwork is a dream they want to make come true.  This is why they buy my book.

This is great but there is a caveat to that situation.  The fine art market is a small market and when tens of thousands of photographers try to make a living in that market they create a bottleneck situation.  Quite simply there are too many photographers trying to make a living from too small of an audience.   In other words, while the number of photographers trying to sell their fine art photography has exploded, the audience interested in buying fine art photography has not grown any larger.  In fact, the audience has actually shrunk.  It has been significantly reduced by the economic recession we just went through and out of which we have not totally emerged yet. Quite simply: people don’t have as much disposable income as they used to.  Because it is disposable income that is used to buy fine art for the most part, the sale of fine art has decreased significantly.

The consequences brought by this economic situation are simple: only a very small number of photographers actually succeed in making a living selling their work.  For all the other photographers, sales are just too few and far in between to justify their efforts and their financial investment.  As a result, many photographers quit after a couple of months or a couple of years at the most.  In the process of trying to sell their work unsuccessfully, they usually waste a huge amount of time and money.

Back to my book
Going back to my book, this means that if you want to learn how to sell your fine art photography in today’s economy, you need to be realistic regarding how much my book can do for you.  You must know exactly what it can and cannot do for you.  What it can do is give you a  foundation on which to build your business.  This is because my  book contains solid marketing advice and can be used as a manual.

What it won’t do is teach you how to be successful selling your work in today’s economy.  This is because my book was written in 2006, before the recession started.  As I mentioned, many things have changed since 2006.  Today everyone is a photographer and many want to sell their work.  Today money is tigher because customers think more about what they buy. Before the recession people bought freely.  Today people are more careful about what they buy.  They also have less disposable income as I mentioned. Because artwork is usually purchased with disposable income, artwork purchases have declined.

These are very important changes that directly affect how successful you can be  selling your fine art photography today.  However, it is still possible to make a living, even a very good living, selling fine art photography today.  But, to do so one needs to use a new approach to marketing, one different from before, one that I call a post-recession approach.

Introducing The Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar
I describe this approach in my new Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  The goal of the Seminar is to go beyond my  marketing books.  None of the materials featured in the Seminar are featured in my books.

When considering the cost of the seminar what I often learn from photographers who contact me looking for help with their marketing is that ‘this is a lot of money for a starving artist.’  Fact is, you are only starving if you cannot eat.  This is the true meaning of the term.  If you can buy food, or can afford to purchase camera gear and travel to exotic locations for photography, what we are talking about in regards to ‘starving’ is a matter of resource allocation.

In other words you prefer to spend your money on cameras and on photographing exotic locations than on learning how to market your work with a professional who made millions selling fine art photographs for over 15 years.   As I always say, this is a free country do I don’t see a problem with this choice.  However, I do see a problem with expecting to be successful selling your work on the basis that you use  fancy cameras and photograph exotic locations. You need to do a lot more than that to sell your work!  Beautiful photographs simply don’t sell themselves.  You need to be actively involved and you need to use the latest marketing techniques to be successful.

You may say ‘that’s easy for you to say because you’re the one selling it but I’m the one buying your materials. At the end of the day you’re the one making money here.’  That’s true and I won’t argue with that.  However, what I will argue with is that what made me a successful photographer selling my work and living my dream of making a living from my photography, is that I did invest a huge amount of money in learning how to market my work.  In fact I  invested more money than you ever will! To this day I invested over 25 thousand dollars in consulting fees (I did the math),  paid to professional marketing experts who helped me get to where I am now.  What would have happened if I did not do that?  Simple: I wouldn’t be where I am.  When asked ‘what is the one thing that made you successful’, a question I get very frequently, my answer is always the same: what made me successful was learning how to market my work.

You may also ask: where did you find the money?” That’s an excellent question because as I was learning marketing I was actually a ‘starving’ artist.  But starving is an expression, not a fact.  As I pointed out earlier on, unless you have nothing to eat, you are not starving.  I had something to eat, and I had credit cards, so what we were talking about was resource allocation, not unavailability of funds.  What I did was quite simple:  I decided to spend my money, whatever amount I had, on paying people to teach me marketing rather than on buying new cameras, lenses, software, etc.  I also decided not to spend my money on  photography trips to exotic locations.

Instead of going to Namibia to photograph, for example, I stayed home and photographed locations that were nearby.  Instead of buying new cameras, I continued using the ones I had.  My cameras worked just fine and they made photographs that were just as pleasing to my customers.  The locations I photographed locally were just as beautiful as far away ones and sold just as well once I learned how to market them.  In other words, not having new  cameras, and not having access to exotic locations , was not the problem.  The problem was not having marketing knowledge.  Without that knowledge I couldn’t sell my work because photographs can’t sell themselves, no matter how good the cameras you used might be, and not matter how great the locations you photographed actually are.

Holding on to financial resources is not always wise
Another response I get is ” I am trying to hold on to all of my financial  resources at the moment  in order to pay for printing, new business cards, art cards etc. ”  To which I usually answer: ‘which may all be for nothing if you don’t know what you are doing!’

Fact is, it is common for beginners to waste their money on things they believe they need to sell their work such as business cards, art cards, etc.  Furthermore, they often order high quality prints, four-color offset or better, to make their materials more impressive.
But impressive materials don’t sell artwork.  They get you compliments but they don’t get you sales.

Fact is, the best marketing is inexpensive or simply free. If this sounds counter-intuitive that’s because it is.  In fact,  most aspects of successful marketing are counter intuitive.  This is why this marketing is so difficult to figure out.  As an example my most profitable marketing material, the one that brought me millions in sales, is a black and white xerox copy.  Even today, now that I can afford the finest marketing materials, I continue to use it because it works so well.  It’s not how it is printed that matters.  It’s what is printed on the page.  Knowing what to write is the million dollar secret!

Boosting your self confidence is not marketing your work
Most photographers’ idea of marketing comes from having low self-confidence when it comes to selling their work.  They do all sorts of costly things to boost their level of confidence in their work.   For the most part, these things are aimed at making their work appear legitimate.  As I just mentioned, they include costly-looking business cards, four color brochures and art-cards, expensive displays, sophisticated framing and print presentation.  By making their work look like a million bucks they expect people to fork over their hard earned money.  Unfortunately, this is not how marketing works.  In fact, this is not how any of this works.

The other problem is that these  marketing materials cost a lost of money, money that is no longer available for real marketing.  If done well these materials can certainly look impressive. However,  by themselves these things  do nothing to make fine art photographs  sellable.  Just because something is impressive does not make it sell. There are many impressive products out there, but it is not the fact they are impressive that makes them sell. It is the marketing used by the companies who own these products that makes them sell.  Ferraris are impressive and so are Rolex watches, Versace clothing, Dior beauty products, Vuitton bags and many more luxury products.  However, the reasons why these products sell goes way beyond their impressive presentation.The impressive presentation and marketing materials are only the tip of the iceberg.

What makes these products sell is the complex marketing strategies used by these companies.  These strategies are not visible to us.  They are hidden by the impressive presentation.  The presentation is where most people stop looking.   What lies behind the impressive presentation is where I start to look.  The presentation doesn’t really matter.  Anyone can do that if they have enough money.  The marketing machine that lies behind this presentation is all I care about because this is hard to do.  It is this machine what I teach.  It  how to construct it and make it run that I teach.  I do this because that is what will make you successful.

Learn what Real marketing is
There is a lot to marketing and as I said much of it is counter-intuitive.  The best approach is to start by learning the correct approach right away.  This is because it is much more difficult to correct mistakes than to do the right thing immediately.  In fact, in some instances it is impossible to correct mistakes.  The goal of the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar is to prevent you from making mistakes.  Never forget that there are thousands of new photographers trying to sell their work every month.  There are your competitors. They come in  huge numbers and they are hungry.  Most of them read my books, but because I sell so many books, the books are no longer enough to make you or them successful.

This is why I created the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  Because of its cost, this seminar is attended only by a small number of photographers.  Attending it therefore gives you a huge advantage.  Think of the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar as being the access point to privileged knowledge that gives you the edge you need to compete successfully in the fine art market and outdo other photographers.

Don’t get it wrong: your competition is using my services and I make sure they are successful!  That’s bad news. However, I can do the same for you and make you just as successful. That’s the very good news!

The power of marketing comes from doing something that others are not doing.  The purpose of attending the Seminar is to give you this power by giving you access to knowledge that, first, is not widely disseminated and second is tailored specifically for you with the goal of giving you the power to master the market, take control of your own destiny and make your dream a reality.

Here are the link to  The Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar

Be good at marketing what you do, not just good at what you do!

Be good at marketing what you do,
not just good at creating photographs !

1 – Introduction
To make a living in photography, or in any business, you must be good at marketing and selling what you do, not just good at what you do.

When I started doing photography full time, hoping to make a living from it, all the other photographers were telling me that if I did great work sales would follow.  I heard that in school, I heard it from other professionals and I heard it fom competitors.  Problem is that wasn’t true and the people who were telling me that were not being successful selling their work. In fact, some were not even selling their work at all, they were just telling me what they thought I should do without having done it themselves!

To be successful selling my work I needed to change from being a creator of photographs to being a marketer and seller of photographs.

2 – Have an effective lead generation system
This means you have to find customers regularly.  This is achieved by having an effective lead generation system.

Just like a plant needs a source of food and water, a business needs a source of customers and buyers.  This is because customers are the lifeblood of a business.  The question is, where do you find customers?  The answer is simple: you find customers by having an effective and constant lead-generation system.  This system is to your business what food and water is to a plant, or to any living organism.  Without it you will not have a business for very long, if you have one at all!

3 – Don’t get confused by superficial ‘success’
Many photographers who claim being successsful selling their work do not actually make money. What they consider success is being accepted in a gallery (wihout any promise of sales), or receiving an award (without financial compensation),  or having their work included in a museum collection (through a donation, not a purchase) or something similar.    I recently read a photographer’s post on Facebook in which the person mentions having his work accepted for representation by a significant institution, then continues by explaining that he ‘just finished framing the door between the wine cellar and woodworking workshop.’  While both are interesting news, the second part indicates that money is not the reason why this person is selling his work.  Therefore, the marketing approach used by this person is not necessarily money-oriented.  In fact, in this specific instance, the goal is more about prestige than about income. Today I spend hardly any money marketing my work but I spent over 25k in consulting fees over the year to learn how to do it.   Spending my money paying experts to reveal their knowledge to me privately is what made me successful.

Something  I recommend  is your 1 on 1 consulting and your Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD.  I have included the link below.  The reason being that the books won’t give you answers specific to your personal situation because they address a very large audience.  In order to figure out how to price your own work the best is to do consulting.

In regards to limited editions, I don’t cover that in my books.  I cover it only in the Fine art Photography Business and Marketing Success Seminar and in the Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on my website at this link:

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at

Alain Briot