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Successful Fine Art Photographers
  
 
24Peter
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p.1 #1 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Perhaps an odd request, but humor me: a very successful non-photographer friend who also advises small businesses has agreed to help me kick-start my own business. As part of that process, (but without explaining exactly why) he has invited me to identify at least three fine art photographers who live well solely off their art.

Of course it is difficult to know how well anyone does in any business, but if you - or someone you know - qualify and would be willing, in a very general way (no need to disclose trade secrets, etc.), to describe what makes for success selling art, that would be appreciated.



Feb 12, 2014 at 03:57 AM
JohnBrose
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p.1 #2 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


I would look in a few issues of landscape or fine art photography magazines and then check out the people's web sites that stand out or that you see in multiple places. I believe there are some pretty successful canon explorer of light fine art togs, but don't have names.


Feb 12, 2014 at 04:11 AM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #3 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


I took a workshop with John Shaw several years ago and he commented that only two guys in the US make a solid living only selling prints - that is the guys we all see and can name are also doing other things besides selling prints in order to make it. They are doing workshops, seminars, corporate shoots, writing books, teaching classes, writing to accompany their shots, etc. Perhaps your friend knows this and trying to get you to see the complete picture (pardon the pun).

Peace,

Todd



Feb 12, 2014 at 05:09 AM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #4 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Almost everyone teaches. Even famous, successful people that sell prints for thousands of dollars.

A friend and I used to joke that making a living solely from fine art print sales was like being in the NBA of photography. Years later I think we were wrong. It's like being on the NBA all star team.

Joe McNally told me 10 years ago that to survive in photography you have to be an octopus. You need to be diversified in how you make your income. Sustaining yourself on print sales alone is rarified air.



Feb 12, 2014 at 03:33 PM
24Peter
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p.1 #5 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Really helpful. Thank you for the replies. Anyone else want to chime in?


Feb 12, 2014 at 11:37 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #6 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


I love landscape photography and have gotten fairly decent at photography. I cannot see any reasonable possibility of making money off of selling landscape images. The few people I know who have tried this are mainly making money on tours and classes.

If you plan on making a living with landscapes, I would love to hear your plans.

Stock? Well, that is a few dollars at a time. Unless you are really established, there seems to be no way to make any money.

Online print sales? You would need a serious following, lots of social media attention, and a really good and unique marketing plan. Even then the odds are really slim.

Advertising? You would need a good agent, lots of experience, a reputation in the field, a style that is unique and in demand, etc.

Magazine/travel photography? Magazines often use stock photos, but there are still a few that send out photographers to develop stories. There is also a line a mile long of photographers who want to shoot for NatGeo and the other big name magazines. You can always keep you day job, while you wait in line and hope for a big break.

Gallery sales? I would give this the least chance of success. But you do live in NJ. You could always put together a landscape portfolio, research the NYC galleries and try to pitch yourself. Let us know how it goes.



Feb 13, 2014 at 03:46 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #7 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


If you want to see what's in NY in the galleries and museums, Collector Daily (formerly DLK Collection) is a great resource: http://collectordaily.com/


Feb 13, 2014 at 06:59 PM
Deezie
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p.1 #8 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Mr Joe wrote: If you want to see what's in NY in the galleries and museums, Collector Daily (formerly DLK Collection) is a great resource: http://collectordaily.com/


+1



Feb 14, 2014 at 03:59 PM
wtlloyd
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p.1 #9 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Check out Charles Cramer and Alain Briot.

The business of fine art photography is something like 80% marketing and 20% making.



Feb 15, 2014 at 01:02 AM
drofnad
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p.1 #10 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Change your name to "Sherman Gursky";
It often seems that it's the name that matters.



Feb 15, 2014 at 06:50 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



chez
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p.1 #11 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


drofnad wrote:
Change your name to "Sherman Gursky";
It often seems that it's the name that matters.


Like with anything else, Gursky needed to build up that name throughout the years. Now he is well known but took years of hard work to get there.



Feb 15, 2014 at 02:18 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #12 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


chez wrote:
Like with anything else, Gursky needed to build up that name throughout the years. Now he is well known but took years of hard work to get there.


So rather than "kick starting" a business in landscape photography, maybe a slow approach is necessary. Beyond being really good at landscape photography, how does one do that?



Feb 15, 2014 at 04:51 PM
wtlloyd
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p.1 #13 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Again, take a look at Alain Briots site. One of the top print selling landscape photographers in the USA.
E-books and seminars on marketing.



Feb 15, 2014 at 06:19 PM
24Peter
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p.1 #14 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


wtlloyd wrote:
Again, take a look at Alain Briots site. One of the top print selling landscape photographers in the USA.
E-books and seminars on marketing.


Yes, I did thank you. Charles Cramer too.

As for what's in a name, I just need change my last name to "Lik" ;-)



Feb 16, 2014 at 11:43 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #15 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


24Peter wrote:
Yes, I did thank you. Charles Cramer too.

As for what's in a name, I just need change my last name to "Lik" ;-)


or Adams



Feb 19, 2014 at 01:30 AM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #16 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Ansel Adams is a good example of a photographer who taught, published, and occasionally did commercial and portrait work to make a living.



Feb 19, 2014 at 05:47 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #17 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Mr Joe wrote:
Ansel Adams is a good example of a photographer who taught, published, and occasionally did commercial and portrait work to make a living.

Lots of people see what an original print fetches and think Ansel must have been rich. Other people got rich off his work and often he was scraping by. He survived because he married into a rich family, which is the best way to ensure being a successful artist.



Feb 19, 2014 at 06:50 PM
iBill
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p.1 #18 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Peter,

I looked at your website and I think what you are doing currently with your portrait/headshot business
Makes more sense as a bread and butter income generating method. However, I believe it is very possible to
Generate a very respectable income stream selling fine art landscape images. I personally know several people who
Are doing it, including myself.

About 6 years ago I started selling my landscape images at art shows. I started off small, sharing a booth with a
Friend to share expenses and risk. I have yet to lose money at a show, came close to breaking even a couple times.
I have done over a hundred shows since that time.

When I started I was semi-retired, had enough retirement income to pay the bills, so invested all my art show gains back into the business. Today I have one of the nicest displays at the shows I do and regularly generate 10 or more times Booth fees. Art show veterans will tell you that 10 times booth fees is a number you can expect if you have
All your ducks in a row and are at a decent show. To give you some idea of numbers, booth fees range from a few hundred dollars to around $1200, with most in the 300-500 range for a 2-3 day show.

While most people I know don't make all their income from art sales, many of them make the majority of it that
Way. It's unlikely you will get wealthy doing this, but to say you can't make decent money selling fine art landscapes,
Like a few posters here have said, is simply wrong.

People don't buy fine art without seeing it in person first, so online sales are few and far between.
All my online sales are from people who saw the work at a show and decided to buy it at a later time.

I personally know a few people who have marginal gallery sales. The expenses are much higher with a gallery
So your prices need to be much higher to make any money. Higher prices usually mean much lower volume. So I have decided to go the art show route. Obviously there are a handful of people with very high end galleries that
Seem, at least, on the surface to be doing well. Since I don't know them personally, I can't say. Many of them are
Doing workshops and other things to generate money, so for most its probably not the total answer.

Like anything, your mileage may vary.

Good luck!!



Feb 28, 2014 at 04:19 AM
24Peter
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p.1 #19 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Bill - just saw your response. Thanks. Could you PM me when you get a chance?


Mar 08, 2014 at 12:55 AM
ross attix
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p.1 #20 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


http://www.clydebutcher.com

If your friend's point is the extreme rarity of such, I absolutely agree.



Mar 08, 2014 at 01:28 AM
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