Book Review of Marketing Fine Art Photography
a New Book by Alain Briot
What if you had the opportunity to sit down for lunch with a successful fine art landscape photographer, and for one hour, he or she would share their knowledge with you on any one subject of photography you selected. What might be your area of focus? Would you concentrate on equipment? How about favorite locations? Or perhaps technique or image processing may be your most pressing concern.
Though the opportunity for lunch has yet to materialize, I do find reading the books of photographers a valuable alternative. If I can get one idea from a book, it is worth the investment of both time and money. And if I can get a watershed of ideas from a book, then it clearly was worth the price of admission. Most recently I read just such a book.
Alain Briot is a very successful landscape fine art photographer, trainer, and author. Having read his two previous books, “Mastering Landscape Photography” and “Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity & Personal Style”, I was most interested in his latest book “Marketing Fine Art Photography”. This title fit right with what I would ask at lunch, and couldn’t wait until the Amazon order arrived. I was not disappointed.
Alain is very prophetic early in the first chapter by sharing an old maxim “If you do not market your work, on thing will happen – nothing”. From that point forward the book opens like the sunshine breaking through the clouds, sharing his mistakes (as he states “these mistakes cost me a lot of time and money”) and successes (which he readily admits work for him, but might not work for you). Don’t feel bad if not all of your marketing and sales ideas are working, you’ll find out you aren’t alone.
Each chapter is chocked full of information on different aspects of marketing fine art photography. Sections include selling to wholesale markets (stores), retail markets (internet, art fairs) and consignments (galleries). Do you find yourself taking a ton of images, only to be bogged down in processing? You’ll enjoy reading Chapter 4 with its great discussion on quality versus quantity, the two not necessarily being synonymous. Regardless of the type of photography you shoot, this chapter could easily become the foundation of any business plan.
Not sure how to price your fine art photography? A complete chapter is devoted to this subject. Removing the emotion from the pricing discussion, Alain provides a financial analysis method in which to arrive at your price points. I found this section quite interesting, especially as it related to pricing prints for art fairs with the ‘masterpiece’ setting the pricing mood for the balance of the inventory.
Confused about the difference between marketing and salesmanship? Alain provides separate chapters on each. Twenty-six fundamental principles of successful marketing is followed with twenty-six fundamental principles of salesmanship. A third chapter covers the seven fundamental principles of a successful business. Each of these principles could easily be a stand-alone chapter, and may prompt you into your own further research on the topic.
I find it beneficial when an author includes a resource listing for products and/or services discussed within the book. Alain freely shares his resource list with the reader, right down to the labels for packaging.
Are you marketing your art as successfully as you’d like? “Skill Enhancement Exercises” follow each chapter. This section helps apply the information of the previous chapter. It may be a small activity or it may be challenging, thought-provoking questions. In either case, this section provides an opportunity to reflect on what was just read, and how it might relate to the reader’s specific business.
If you are looking for a photography marketing book that can provide many new ideas, yield different viewpoints on some things you may have or are considering trying, and information on ideas that didn’t work, then you’ll find this book well worth the price and time to read it. There is far more to this book than what I have presented in this short review. After reading it once, I’ve already reviewed many sections a second time to implement the ideas I want to try. For me, it is one book that I’m very happy to have purchased.
As well as on Amazon and other bookstores.
Powder Hill Photography LLC
Advanced Fine Art Marketing Seminar — join the pre – registration list for free.
I am opening a pre-registration list for the upcoming Advanced Fine Art Marketing Seminar. This seminar will be held in 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The seminar contents will be entirely new and different from my book: Marketing Fine Art Photography book.
To sign up simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the words ‘advanced marketing seminar’ in the subject line. There is no obligation to register and no deposit is required. You will simply be first informed of the exact seminar contents, dates and registration fee.
As a member of this pre-registration list you will receive a special offer price so be sure to register now. Only members of the list will qualify.
Diversity is the spice of life. While my preference is to photograph landscapes, I also like to photograph other subjects when the occasion presents itself.
Each subject offers unique opportunities and challenges. Landscapes are fantastic because of the virtually endless arrag of forms and colors that they offer.
Architecture, the subject of this short essay, also offers unique opportunties and challengers. For one, there is the issue related to obtaining permission to use private property.
Landscapes pose few legal issues, except when they are private property which is not the case when you photograph public lands, national parks and the like. But Architecture has many legal issues. There’s usually no problems with public or gvt owned buildings, but private buildings require permission from the homeowner to photograph, and of course to get in. of course, if you photograph your own property, copyright is not a problem. Plus, if someone uses your photographs of your property without permission, it is pretty easy to prove the photo is yours!
I’ll post more ‘architectural’ photographs, as well as photographs featuring subjects ‘other than landscapes’ as time goes by. These photographs are a nice change from the Landscape work I most known for.
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In this blog Alain Briot shares his reflections on the many aspects of Fine Art Photography.
Alain addresses Fine Art photography from three different perspectives: artistic, technical and marketing. Alain also writes about success in photography.
These reflections expand upon Alain’s other writings which have so far been published in 2 books: Mastering Landscape Photography and Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style.
Alain’s writings are also published on his website, beautiful-landscape.com, as well as on luminous-landscape.com, outbackphoto.com, naturephotographers.net and many other websites.
Alain’s essays have been translated in over 15 different languages. His first book, Mastering Landscape Photography, will be available in Chinese later this year.
The writings in this blog consist mostly of short entries. However, you can download 40 free full-length essays by Alain, in printable PDF format, by subscribing to Alain’s free newsletter. These 40 free essays include chapters from Alain’s books. Here is the newsletter subscribe link:
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1 – What cameras say about me
2 – Showing you how I do what I do
How would you like to take a cooking class from a cook who doesn’t cook? I wouldn’t.
3 – Inspiration
“No amount of technology can make up for lack of inspiration” Alain Briot
4 - Business and Art
You can do very well when you are passionate about what you do and you learn how to run a business successfully. It’s not all about f-stop, shutter speed, ISO and cameras!
A different set of skills is used to create great photographs and to run a successful business. Both can be learned, that’s why I write books on ‘how to create great photographs’ and books on ‘how to market your work successfully.
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Focusing on Quality, not quantity
A reader had a question about my essay titled What is Fine Art Photography? This question is below and my response is next:
As always a lot of helpful insights Alain. Although I am a little puzzled by your statement: “Creating fine art photographs is not about trying to save money by buying lower-priced equipment or supplies. It is about creating the finest piece possible regardless of cost.”
I sense that what you really mean is that cost is not important? Because surely the expense or quality of the equipment is subservient to the artists vision. Yes maybe your particular vision requires a 80mpx medium format back but that doesn’t mean that “Art” created with cheaper tools is somehow less fine? Cost is always a consideration for the majority of us but its true that as an artist we will sacrifice and prioritize our resources to enable us to fulfill our vision whatever that may be. As an artist we try to create the finest piece possible irrespective of our means.
This essay is chapter 2 in my new book Marketing Fine Art Photography. The jest of the book is to focus on quality, rather than quantity, in order to sell your work at a profitable price point.
In a quality-based marketing model, quality comes first and cost is secondary. The increase in production costs will be more than accounted for with the higher prices you will be able to set for your work. Plus, you built a reputation for high quality work and this reputation, in turn, increases your leverage (pricing in a quality-based model is primarily leverage-based, while in a quantity model it is cost-based).
I am not so much talking about which camera is used because when the purpose is artistic potentially any camera can be used, because camera choice is a function of personal style primarily. Personally, I use digital backs because my work is printed large and I need the resolution. Plus, the increased dynamic range and color space are important to me because my work is in large part about color palettes and color quality.
What I am referring to in regards to quality is the number of hours spent working on a specific image (time is money), the quality of the ink and paper used when printing the image (manufacturer inks and fine papers are expensive), the quality of the materials used for mounting, matting and framing (archival materials are expensive), the quality of the portfolio case or other form of presentation when the work is not intended to be wall art, and so on.
This also applies to the framing equipment. A low quality mat cutter may not make a perfect cut, or an inexpensive mounting press may not produce professional quality mounting, for example. It’s not just about cameras. In fact, its not very much at all about cameras. It’s about the final product, and the final product is a print.
You can read the essay that generated this question here:
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The July Print of the Month is available at this link. Print of the Month Prices will increase by $100 next month. July is therefore the last opportunity to invest at the current prices. This will be the 3rd price increase this year.
These increases are due to increased demand for my work. Because the Print of the Month sets a base price for my work (it is my most affordable print collection) my other prices will increase as well.
I like to increase my prices on holidays and July 4th is one of the most important of the year. Plus, July is a great month when it comes to holidays because being from France and of American Nationality I get to celebrate two national holidays in the same month: July 4th and July 14th.
Natalie and I wish you a Very Happy 4th of July. And yes I know some want me to say “Natalie and me” but it is part of my personal style to say “Natalie and I” so I’ll stick with that. Personal style is, well, personal, and extends to way more than the contents of a work of art. Plus, it’s Independence Day so I claim ‘Independence of Speech.’
To conclude while on the subject of Personal Style the July Print of the Month is a definite example of personal style. Be sure to check it out.
|Although I do not envision selling my work anytime in the near future I bought Marketing Fine Art Photography figuring there would be some useful info that I could apply in the workplace somehow (personal brand, etc).I have so far read Part 1 & Part 2 (Chapters 1-8) and I can say that the book is more than I expected (not that I have low expectations for any book from Alain based on all the previous ones).I found that these first 8 chapters contain much information that causes me to think differently about my work and artistry in general and gives me energy to do some different things in the future. Good stuff Alain!John Motzi, Downingtown, PA|
The Counter-Intuitive Aspects of Photography
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leave others to determine whether he is working or playing.
To himself he always appears to be doing both.
Many aspects of photography are counter-intuitive. Below I listed some of the most important ones.
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An exclusive five day field workshop to Southern New Mexico with Alain and Natalie Briot
Opened to 12 participants maximum
6 seats left
Workshop focus: Art and Personal Style
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