Selling your photography as art can be tricky, especially if you're unsure where to begin. Because it's not as straightforward as it might seem. Especially as an NZ artist who sprecialises in photography.
At the galleries where I worked, only one of four photographers consistently sold well, even though all their work was fantastic. Unfortunately, photography doesn't always get the same recognition as traditional art, such as paintings or sculptures.
You must go beyond just taking good pictures to stand out and sell your photographic art. Even if you capture a great shot of a famous bridge, someone with the right equipment could do the same thing on the same day. and do it better.
People often think, "I could do that myself," and sometimes they really could if they have the right gear and know-how.
However, when it comes to artistic photography as an NZ aritst, it's a whole different ball game. Skilled photographers can manipulate images using their expertise, understanding of light, equipment, and even special programs like Photo-Shop or similar programmes with filters and effects.
So if you're ready to sell your work, what should you do?
Many people think about selling fine art prints. Still, they often need help with things like pricing, whether to sign them, if framing is necessary, and where to exhibit them.
Pricing your art can be challenging as an artist in NZ, but there are better ways than just guessing. Don't assume that lower prices will bring in more sales. Over time, as you build a name and reputation, you can command higher prices.
It's more complex than that, though. Other factors come into play, and we'll cover them here.
Think about the relationship between price and volume.
Selling 10 prints for $10 each gives you $100, but selling one print for $295 gets you more than twice as much. The real question is whether it's easier to make ten sales at a lower price than one sale at a higher price.
To figure this out, you need to analyse things more and avoid guesswork. Many factors affect sales volumes and the perception of value.
Navigating the avenues to sell your photography art in New Zealand offers a variety of options tailored to artists seeking exposure. Online platforms like Felt (felt.co.nz) and Etsy (etsy.com) serve as virtual marketplaces, providing a dedicated space for artists to present and sell their work.
Furthermore, local art galleries, both physical and virtual, offer valuable opportunities for showcasing and selling your photography to a much wider audience.
Engaging with local art fairs and festivals, such as the New Zealand Art Show, can establish connections with potential buyers and art enthusiasts. Take a look at my article on local art competitions in New Zealand for more ideas too.
The exposure gained from participating in these events contributes to building your presence in the NZ art community, potentially leading to future sales.
Networking within the local creative community is another effective strategy. Online communities, social media groups, and local photography clubs provide avenues to connect with fellow artists and photographers. These connections may unveil selling opportunities and collaborations, enhancing your visibility in the market.
I recommend exploring physical spaces like commercial art galleries, public venues, art fairs, festivals, and even cafés contributes to getting your name and photography recognised.While immediate sales might not always materialise, the exposure garnered from these places can lead to sales down the line. Patience is vital, as it might take weeks or even months for people to fully appreciate your work.
Participating in photography competitions serves as a valuable starting point. Winning awards not only adds credibility to your portfolio but also elevates your recognition as an NZ artist. This recognition can positively influence potential buyers' perceptions of your work.
Diversifying the formats in which you sell your photos can maximise your returns. Beyond traditional framed prints, consider offering unframed prints, matted prints, small frames, postcards, or even greeting cards.
Additionally, establishing an online presence through a website is essential for reaching a broader audience. However, it's crucial to address copyright concerns to protect your work.
When deciding on print runs, the choice between unlimited prints and limited edition signed prints rests with the artist. While some photographers limit their print runs to 200–300 for exclusivity, signing and numbering prints can add value, aligning with the prevailing trend in photography artwork.
Lastly, remember that personal preferences may not always align with market preferences. Showcase a diverse portfolio, including pieces you might not consider your best. People's tastes can be surprising, and the variety might attract a broader audience, leading to unexpected sales.
Photography that sells well online often falls into a few specific categories. Firstly, images that cater to popular trends or themes, such as:
usually attract a broader audience. Additionally, high-quality and unique stock photos are in demand for commercial use. Artistic and creative photography can also find a niche market, including digital art and photo manipulations.
Portraits, especially those showcasing diverse and inclusive representations, tend to get a lot of attention. Furthermore, niche markets like fine art photography, abstract compositions, and conceptual pieces appeal to collectors and enthusiasts looking for distinctive visual experiences.
The digital art market has expanded to encompass various formats. In addition to traditional digital prints of your photographs, you can explore selling digital files for commercial use, allowing buyers to use your images in their projects.
Another option is offering high-resolution versions of your artwork suitable for wallpapers or screensavers. Also you can create digital art collections, such as themed bundles or series, and sell them as downloadable content.
Exploring the creation of digital art for virtual reality (VR) platforms or augmented reality (AR) applications presents innovative possibilities.
Selling your photography as art isn't a walk in the park, especially if you're new to it. Unfortunately, photography doesn't always get the same attention as paintings or sculptures in this type of setting.
To get noticed and sell your photos, you've got to do more than just take good shots. Even if you capture something extraordinary, someone else might do the same on the same day. Skilled photographers use their know-how, light skills, and special programs to make unique images.
If you're ready to sell your work, what do you do? Many think about selling fine art prints but get stuck on pricing, signing, framing, and where to show them.
Figuring out the right price is tricky, but lower prices don't always mean more sales. Over time, as you build a name, you can charge more.
Think about the connection between price and sales volume. Selling ten prints for $10 each gives you $100, but selling one for $295 gets you more than twice as much. Is it easier to make ten sales at a lower price than one sale at a higher price? You need to think it through and not just guess. Many things affect sales and how people see the value of your work.
You've got options like Felt and Etsy online, local galleries, and art fairs like the New Zealand Art Show for places to sell your work. And you can also connect with other artists online or in local photography clubs.
Try different formats, not just framed prints, to get the most out of your photos.
Deciding on things like how many prints to make or whether to sign them is up to you. Most photographers stick to 200–300 prints, and signing them can make them more valuable. Remember, what you love might not be what sells. Show a mix of your work – you might be surprised by what people like.
Ultimately, selling your photography is about more than just taking good pictures. It's about being smart with your choices, connecting with people, and showing a variety of your work to catch unexpected opportunities.
Great photographers are true NZ artists. Perfect your skill and watch the dollars roll in.
Posted: Wednesday 7 April 2010