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Successful Fine Art Photographers
  
 
time2clmb
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Yes it is possible. My advice. STOP taking advice from message forums where no one has tried it. Seriously. Just because these online experts have not heard of some one, doesn't mean there aren't people out there making it happen. It's hard....really, really hard, but possible. Luck has 0 to do with it.


Mar 08, 2014 at 03:14 AM
rks221
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Here's what I would say. If you just want to sell fine art prints then that would be very tough to make a living from. However, if you build a brand around yourself as an artist and then leverage that then the ability to make a good living goes up quite a bit. This ties into to what was said before as far as teaching workshops but also includes things like sponsorships and speaking engagements. Granted this is not going to happen overnight and needs time to build but essentially make good captivating work and make it a point to let people know who you are and the type of work that you do. In this regard it's similar to how good athletes make more money by leveraging their name recognition to get sponsorship and endorsement money that exceeds what they get payed by their respective teams to play their sport. It's not easy and you have to have a penchant for self-promotion but if you are willing to do that you can build some thing succesful from it.


Aug 02, 2014 at 07:40 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


A few (rhetorical) business plan questions for your business.

1) What is your target annual income (net to you)?
2) What is your target demographic(s) to generate income from?
3) What is your target marketing/sales approach for getting those demographic(s) to open their wallet and empty it out into yours ... instead of mine, or 3,142,617 other fine artisans (painters, etc.) with empty wallets?

+1 @ the 80/20 (I was taught 90/10, but close enough) aspect of the business vs. the art. A study of the progression of what it takes for an individual to become a purchasing consumer reveals that there is much more to it than just putting out an awesome product, yet for some reason we tend to get enamored by our love of our beloved craft and seemingly think that it is most strongly tied to our product.

A couple things come to mind for me whenever the subject comes up.

1) The Pet Rock
2) The magnificent work I've seen in artisan studios and galleries around the country and in art communities with both heavy and obscure consumer traffic.

The joke is typically around selling "ice cubes to Eskimos" ... but the marketing plan and the salesmanship plan isn't to be overlooked.

One other aspect is to consider the "Gold Rush" ... who was more successful by and large? Was it the miners or the purveyors of picks, axes & supplies. The correlation here is the augmentation of those who teach @ they are selling the (mental) tools of the trade, and the hope of greater things to come.

Sure, the "I struck it rich !!!" is very exciting and emotionally charged ... but it was a very challenging odds proposition for those starting out in a competitive "free for all". The art community at large is much akin to the Gold Rush, imo. All it takes is a camera (or paintbrush) and you can make a go of it. There is a certain romance to it that can be powerful, but it doesn't tackle the competitive / odds involved.

Waxing philosophical here, but I'm inclined to think your friend is trying to get you to look at business as business. Most successful businesses have an element of diversification to them and a marketing strategy that matches the diversification with the multiple revenue streams that are being targeted. I suspect your friend is trying to present you with an exercise to find a "singular path" successful artisan for comparative purposes.

Anyway, HTH and GL in your endeavors.



Edited on Aug 04, 2014 at 12:35 AM · View previous versions



Aug 02, 2014 at 09:41 PM
BluesWest
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Question for the OP: How many of the people you know personally -- friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers -- have purchased fine art photographs for the kinds of prices that would allow a photographer to generate significant income soley from print sales? The answer to that question should give you a good idea about the market for fine art photographs and how likely it is that you can make a living at it.

John



Aug 03, 2014 at 03:45 AM
surf monkey
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


How about Art Wolfe and Thomas Mangelsen?


Aug 06, 2014 at 07:05 PM
Artscar2
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Or Ken Rockwell

Or Fred Miranda !



Sep 13, 2014 at 05:34 AM
Twisties
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


In my opinion, if you have and are willing to risk enough money to open a gallery in a prime location in a prime market... Scottsdale, Jackson Hole, Park City, Sedona or similar... and your product has eye appeal to the average tourist you probably have a chance. However, please categorize me in the crowd of internet experts who have never done it.

But, I have considered the matter, like most here. Let's run the possibilities: on line licensing is uniformly reported to be not of much value. On line print sales also don't seem to be very lucrative, for the reasons previously explored in this thread. You can make some money at art fairs, but I can't see it generating "day job" incomes, which I define as minimum $60k salary/yr (would need well north of $100k sales to do this). Most major galleries in the prime markets I have investigated either do not deal in photography or are the photographer's own gallery and do not handle outsider's work.

When I look at some of the photographer's galleries, many (there are exceptions....Michael Fateli as an example) are not particularly talented (at another level beyond the best of what you see on Fred Miranda by any number of folk). What differentiates them, in my mind, is that they have made the investment, taken the risk, produced the large pieces with the cutting edge techniques (acrylic face mounts, canvas, etc), and stuck it out. They are business people.

Just my opinion.




Sep 15, 2014 at 05:16 PM
mshi
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Why reinventing the wheel? Take your work and knock on some galleries' doors if you believe you have something original in your work. As far as I know, many represent lots of guys from all over the place. For example, in my town, there is http://www.jacksonfineart.com/artists.php


Sep 16, 2014 at 07:03 PM
Jeffrey
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Give it a go, but don't quit your day job.

Someone here said "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."

It's all about marketing. Alain's images are mediocre but he works at marketing and workshops constantly. You need to reinvent yourself as a rockstar.



Sep 16, 2014 at 11:07 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



nolaguy
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Artscar2 wrote:
Or Ken Rockwell

Or Fred Miranda !



These two names don't belong in the same post together - or at least any inference that they fall into similar categories.

IMHF

Chuck



Sep 17, 2014 at 12:30 AM
rodmcwha
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Jay Meisel, Vincent Versace, Gregory Heisler, Lois Greenfield, Art Wolfe, John Paul Caponigro, Mathew Jordan Smith,
And not one of them asked the FM forum if it was possible!



Sep 17, 2014 at 12:54 AM
mshi
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


rodmcwha wrote:
Jay Meisel, Vincent Versace, Gregory Heisler, Lois Greenfield, Art Wolfe, John Paul Caponigro, Mathew Jordan Smith,
And not one of them asked the FM forum if it was possible!


Those you mentioned are decorators because they are not artists. Those decorators had set themselves up in decoration Biz long before this website was in Biz.



Sep 17, 2014 at 02:21 AM
neilvan
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Freeman Paterson immediately comes to mind...




Sep 17, 2014 at 08:27 AM
mshi
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


neilvan wrote:
Freeman Paterson immediately comes to mind...



Has he ever had exhibitions at artworld places, such as MoMa, Gagosian Gallery, or Tate? Don't confuse those who photograph for decoration with those for art.



Sep 17, 2014 at 04:31 PM
neilvan
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


mshi wrote:
Has he ever had exhibitions at artworld places, such as MoMa, Gagosian Gallery, or Tate? Don't confuse those who photograph for decoration with those for art.


- OK, if you say so.



Sep 17, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Daniel Smith
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee, husband and wife team who are both excellent photographers. Some workshops but most of their living is from selling their work. All hand printed by them, B&W for 99% of it, large format contact prints.

Over the past few years they have branched into publishing so they could control the quality of their books.

After Kodak discontinued Azo B&W paper they have arranged for making their own B&W contact printing paper, Lodima - an excellent replacement for Kodak Azo.

http://www.michaelandpaula.com




Sep 18, 2014 at 03:18 PM
BKphotography
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Scottish photographer Colin Prior.


Sep 23, 2014 at 06:14 PM
Mark Rigsby
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Successful Fine Art Photographers


Peter Lik is someone who can live off what he sold. He sold his photo "The One" for one million dollars. His 15X20 fetch $4K at his studios which he has all over the world.


Oct 01, 2014 at 12:35 PM
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