Marketing Fine Art Photography
by Drake Fleege
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.
For starters, I always read everything with a highlighter. A good book could easily be frequently highlighted. With this book, my highlighter ran out before I was finished reading.
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.
Powder Hill Photography LLC
You can order the book at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Articles-CD3.html
As well as from most bookstores.