Intelligent design with a black and white photograph collection

Fine Art Photography

Black-and-white photography is classic and artsy. It conveys intelligence,” says One Kings Lane senior buyer Stephen Haskell. “A framed collection can bring an incredibly refined gallery feeling into a home.”

This age-old fascination with photographs, contemporary residences and semi-minimalist trends are altering the way we look at adorning our walls with prints. Decorating with black and white photography is seeing new heights thanks to improved cameras and the growing inclination to use neutral colors and muted tones.

Art Prints

Consider building your art arrangement vertically to add extra height and intrigue to a small-scale series.
Art Prints

When it comes to displaying photographs, and you cannot go wrong with black and white – they are undeniably classic and oh so sophisticated when gathered in a group on display.

Photography Prints

A great display of black and white photographs

http://www.samanthapynn.com/interiors/single-gallery/4698213

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Good Photography vs. Bad Photography

Photography

vintage camera Photography Prints 

Off the top of my head I made this list of thoughts about what makes a good photograph vs a bad photograph after looking through a rather mundane portfolio of snapshots offered for sale on an online gallery.  Open for controversy, feedback and discussion!

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Good photography is clear and to the point. Painters add to the canvas, photographers subtract. In a good photograph you know the photographer took the time to eliminate distracting elements to provide a clear message. In a bad photograph you know immediately that the photographer stood in the most convenient spot or maybe never even bothered to get out of the car.

Good photography is purposeful. You know immediately why the photograph was taken.

Good photography isn’t boring. In a good photograph the photographer brings something new even to familiar subjects. Boring photographs are always taken with the same boring angle at the same boring height and aimed at the same boring subjects. “When finding the right angle for a shot…’Move your ass.’” – Jay Maisel

Good photography shows consistency. You know a good photographer when they consistently bring the goods. Each photograph in their portfolio is presented with care and attention to detail.

Good photography evokes an emotional response. Good photography grabs you deeply. Bad photography makes you wonder what attracted the photographers attention in the first place.

Good photography is selecting only the best to show. Bad photography is lulling you to sleep with every shot off the camera.

Good photography makes you want to be there, bad photography shows you places to avoid.  In other words the bad photographer takes a great dramatic place and makes it look boring.  A good photographer could take a boring place and make it look interesting.

Good photography shows the photographer got up early, stayed out late, has their camera with them always. Bad photography is the camera dusted off for vacation.

Good photography brings back a few great shots on every outing. Bad photography is the lucky shot.

Good photography is a unique vision. Bad photography is being satisfied with the same shot everyone else gets.

Good photography shows you something you never saw before or makes you stop and see something you’ve walked by a thousand times without even noticing. Bad photography shows you what you’ve seen a thousand times before. – Edward M. Fielding – http://www.edwardfielding.com

WHAT SAY YOU?

What is the best lens for food photography?

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I run into this question a lot.  People ask what is the best lens for food photography?  Is there a right answer?  Well, it all depends.

Like any photography situation or application there are a variety of ways to approach the subject.  No one lens is the right answer to any situation or subject.  Its up to the artist behind the lens to determine what they want the view to see in the final image.

For landscapes you can go with wide angles to show more of a vast landscape or move in close to a rock or log in the foreground to create an exaggerated sense of scale.  Or you can zoom in on distant mountain peak to isolate a single element of the scene.

Same with wildlife. You can zoom in with a big bazooka lens to document the subject up close or you can go wide and show the animal in its environment.

food Art Online

Food photography also has a range of applications.  You might show the chef at work in the kitchen, make the viewer’s mouth water with a plate shot or go in super close to show the texture of a strawberry.

A variety of lens can be used but if I were to choose one lens to get started in food photography, it would be the one recommended to me by Andrew Scrivani, the NY Times columnist, commercial photographer and stylist.  He does most of his work with the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro.

food Art Prints

And I also shoot most of my food photography with this lens. Its not the newest, fastest or most exciting lens. It hunts for focus and has a plastic build quality but it is sharp, in a great focal range for food photography and is inexpensive. You can pick one up for about $300.

User feedback – “I use this mostly for food photography, and it’s a great lens. I originally used a 50mm f/1.8, but when it developed a defect in focusing, went for this macro lens version. Sometimes I miss the really low f-stops, but overall, I like it. It functions well as a non-macro lens as well. Somewhat slow to switch from close to far, and a little noisy, but nothing that’s really bothersome.”

The macro give you the ability to get really close to your food and can uncover detail that would otherwise be impossible to detect by the naked eye. Ideal for shooting extremely minute subjects such as insects or the petals of a small flower, the lens offers a nine-element design and a floating optical system that focuses down from infinity to one-half life size (0.5x). It also functions beautifully as a general-purpose normal lens.

food Photography Prints

And should you want to focus down to life size (1:1), you can add an optional Life Size Converter EF to increase the working distance–a valuable feature in close-up shooting.  The Canon Life Size Converter EF sells for around $280 street price and is made especially for the Canon 50mm macro.

User feedback – “This item was primarily designed for the Canon EOS 50mm f2.5 Macro 1:2 lens. This adapter allows you to amp your lens to a 1:1 or twice the image resolution. (Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.) Be sure to add it to your lens before than mounting it to the camera so that your electronics are properly compensated for during metering. You will loose a f-stop or or two using this adapter.”

Equipment mentioned in this article:

Which camera to really learn photography?

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A discussion of cameras that truly address the needs of real photographers.

I’ve come to the conclusion that beginners truly wanting to learn photography need a striped down camera. Instead of something with all the bell and whistles, which quite frankly the stuff professionals simply ignore, someone just starting out in photography would gain more value from a simple camera. And I’m not talking about things like “IA” or “Intelligent mode”, “Automatic mode” or “Idiot mode” as in the camera does all the work, no I mean a camera that gives the user quick and easy access to the three basic factors in photography – ISO, Aperature and Shutterspeed. It also would include a real viewfinder instead of an LCD screen and a single non-zoom lens.

Back in the film days the go to learners camera found in high schools everywhere was the Pentax K1000. It featured a needle exposure meter and an all mechanical design that could be used without the need of batteries.

The Pentax K1000 (originally marked the Asahi Pentax K1000) is an interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, manufactured by Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. from 1976 to 1997, originally in Japan. The K1000’s extraordinary longevity makes it a historically significant camera. The K1000’s inexpensive simplicity was a great virtue and earned it an unrivaled popularity as a basic but sturdy workhorse. The Pentax K1000 eventually sold over three million units.

Pentax K1000 camera

Instead of going through a bunch of confusing software menus, a camera such as this gave the user instant access to all of the important elements of an exposure via mechanical dials.  Plus this was the pre-autofocus days so the user was actually fully involved in selecting where the image would be focused on.

I picked up this Petri Racer camera at a flea market basically as a photo prop because to me it has all of the features of what one would expect in a film era single lens reflex camera.  Although this is actually a rangefinder camera.

The Petri Racer is a Japanese fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder introduced in 1966. It features a built-in match-needle coupled CdS lightmeter but no automatic exposure program. It could be equipped with a Petri 2.8/45 or 1.8/45 lens. The shutter is a ten-speed Petri.

Petri Racer Rangefiner Camera

With a rangefinder camera you don’t look through the lens but rather through a separate view finder.  To focus you set the distance of the subject on the lens.  Street photographers love type of camera because they can preset the focus and then shoot from the hip without bringing the camera to their eye and perhaps alerting their subject.  Without a mirror flipping up and down, rangefinders are also very quiet.  Also the camera came standard with a 35mm lens which is a favorite focal length of street photographers as it provides enough of a wide angle to include the “story” of a scene.

For someone learning photography, this camera like the Pentax K100 has a lot of mechanical features and all of the settings are visable at a glance.  On the lens itself there is an ASA ring (to days film sensitivity or ISO), aperture setting, shutter speed (The Petri Racer only has 10 shutter speeds from B to 500) and distance settings.

The only thing important thing missing in these basic vintage mechanical camera is the instant feedback afford by today’s modern digital cameras.  The ability to gain instant feedback on exposure, composition plus the zero cost of recorder images digitally compared to the old film days of buying expensive film and waiting until the roll is finished and processed to see how well you are progressing to me is the most amazing thing about modern photography.  Digital has the ability to shave years off of the learning curve as well as saving the beginner a lot of money.  If your first 10,000 photographs are your worst as famously said by Henri Cartier-Bresson, is true then at least with digital it doesn’t really cost anything to shoot, evaluate and delete 10,000 images.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Modern equalilants

So are there modern equivalents to these old workhorse learning cameras?  Unfortunately in the digital era there haven’t been too many “striped down to the essentials” cameras on the market.  Manufacturers have been in such competition to bring out feature after feature that even today’s inexpensive point and shoot is chock full of “features” that most people probably forget about after they leave the store.  Who really wants to have to remember a laundry list of “exciting” features and modes for every situation under the sun?  Wouldn’t you rather have an understanding of exposure and then easy access to controlling the elements of exposure – ISO, Shutterspeed and Aperature.  Don’t you think if you got all of the whiz bang features and modes out of the way maybe we could concentration on taking a good photograph instead of flipping through menus?

Well finally there are some cameras coming out of the market that addresses this interest for a more basic, let me say “photographers camera” as opposed to gadget lovers camera.

One of the major players in the rangefinder market has always been Leica.  The favorite of famous street photographers, Leica cameras have always been focused on quality where it counts. Fantastic lenses, sturdy bodies, and only the features photographers really need. Leica 10773 M-P (Typ 240) 24MP SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)

But beginning photographers rarely have $7,000-$8,000 to spend on a camera!

Luckily for those a bit more budget conscious we are now starting to see some more reasonably prices rangefinder type cameras come on the market.  In the past I’ve had experience with some “pro” style point and shoot cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7K 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical zoom and 3.0-inch LCD – Black, which include more manual dials then the average point and shoot and emphasis a quality lens.

One camera that has caught eye lately is the Fujifilm X30 12 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Silver)

The Fujifilm X30 is a stylish, premium compact camera with class-leading functionality, superb design, enhanced battery performance and unrivaled image quality. This large-sensor premium compact has evolved from the best-selling X20 camera. In addition to its high quality 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor, the X30 features an impressive real-time viewfinder, EXR Processor II and a new control ring along with extra dials and function buttons for more control. Tilting 3.0-inch 920K-dot LCD monitor, improved battery performance (approximately 470 photos /charge), remote WiFi shooting from your smartphone and a variety of manual functions make shooting with the X30 a true pleasure.

  • 12MP 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor with no Optical Low Pass Filter
  • 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder with 0.65x magnification
  • Bright F2.0-2.8 Fujinon 4 x Optical Zoom Len
  • Instinctive control ring
  • 11 Film Simulation Modes including – New Classic Chrome, Provia, Velvia and Astia

I’m thinking that this camera would make a fantastic camera for someone who really wants to learn photography.  In has the instinctive manual controls needed to truly grasp the concepts of photography. The new control ring, which automatically determines the most appropriate settings for the chosen shooting mode, functions like aperture, shutter speed and more can be quickly chosen without taking your eye from the viewfinder. This is complemented by the manual zoom ring, and physical dials which have become a hallmark of the X series.

I also like the large sensor, HD video quality, fast autofocus, large viewfinder (something missing from a lot of smaller cameras) and an built in interval timer for time lapse video (something my Canon 6D doesn’t even have).  The camera also has WIFI features such as remote control via a smartphone and WIFI image transfer.  Rather amazing package for less than $600.

This trend for more easy access to controls is certainly one I’d like to see continue. The market needs more cameras focused on photography and less on glitz. The low end market is disappearing as the snapshooters realize that all they need and want is their cellphone to take Facebook snaps. Time to bring out cameras for real photographers who want easy access to the things they actually want.

The Fujifilm X100S 16 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Silver) features an larger sensor.

Food Styling Book Review

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I just got my copy of Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer and its one hefty book. Considered by many in the food photography and food styling industry to be the bible of food styling, Custer puts over 30 years of experience into what could be considered a textbook for anyone interested in entering the field.

At just shy of 400 pages, this book is packed with so much information that there is value for anyone from a “do it yourself” food blogger to someone interested in a career as a food stylist to professional photographers wanting to work with major clients on big production food assignments.

I myself shoot a lot of food stock and fine art food related still life photographs, so I’m always up for learning some new tricks.  Plus my wife and I are fooling around with a new food blog – 325 degrees.

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Delores Custer has had an amazing career, working with the big names like Julie Childs and TV shows like the network morning shows as well has local and national advertising campaigns. In the book she not only shares her hard earned tips for shooting everything from bacon (and how to get those perfect waves) to ice cream be it fake or real.

There is hardly and blank white space in this book. No fluff. No filler. Its 400 pages of dense material from the practical to the entertaining. No space is wasted. She starts out with an overview of the industry and the business side of food styling. And then goes into the day to day job of the food stylist (basically getting the food to look great for the camera), tools of the trade, overcoming challenge foods, and then tips for chefs, caterers and bloggers who want to stylize their own food and lastly a review of food trends. At the end of the book there is a glossary and extensive index as well as resource list.

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Basically if you could pick clean the brain of a professional food stylist with tons of experience and a client list of all the top brands, this is the result. Its a wonderful reference book.

Getting perfect eggs for the camera

This book shows you how to make perfect eggs for the camera

I say reference book because there are parts of the book you will read through to get the background on the industry and the job, and the rest of the book you will be referring to when certain situations come up, like photographing sandwiches or something. Like a good cookbook, this book will sit on the shelf and be taken down time and again for reference, if it doesn’t just sit on the coffee table for years.

 

From the Inside Flap

Behind every mouthwatering image of food is a dedicated food stylist whose job it is to consider, plan, and perfect every detail from the curve of an apple stem to the fan of a shrimp tail.In Food Styling, master stylist Delores Custer presents the definitive reference in the field—complete with detailed information on essential tools and useful equipment, step-by-step guidance on achieving the perfect shot, and a wealth of tried-and-true techniques for everything from voluminous frostings to mile-high sandwiches. Based on her thirty years of experience styling for advertising, magazines, books, television, and film, Custer shares her expert guidance on how to achieve stunning visual perfection for all media.
Chapter by Chapter

Chapter highlights include:

-Food Styling Overview
-The Medium is Everything
-Your Food Styling Teammates
-You Got the Job…Now What?
-Prepping the Assignment
-At the Shoot
-About Photography
-The Basics of Propping
-The Basics of Tv & Film Production Work
-The Food Stylists Tools of the Trade
-Working with the Food
-The Business of Food Styling
-Beyond Food Styling
-Tips for Chefs, Caterers, and Others who want to Style their Food
-Reviewing the Last Fifty/sixty years of Food styling and photography

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer

Auto White Balance Versus Pre-set White Balance

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White balance is one of the first things that confronts and confounds newbie photographers. Part of capturing light is developing the ability to “see” light and all kinds of light from warm tungsten lighting to bright sunlight and setting your camera to properly capture light. 

In the days of color film, one would choose between daylight balanced film and indoor balanced film.  Shoot the wrong film in the wrong light and you’d end up with either a blue cast to the light or a yellowish cast.

08-03b

 

One way to “use the wrong film for the situation” was to use filters.  More on filters here.

cooling-filters 

With modern digital cameras and shooting in RAW mode allows one to easily adjust White Balance in post with programes like Adobe Lightroom. Shooting JPEG on the other hand cooks in the White Balance but it can still be adjusted, just not as easily as in RAW. 

Most of the advice I’ve gotten in the past said that today’s cameras can do a wonderful job figuring out WB so Auto WB is fine. But what happens when you come across a nice warm sunset? Auto WB might read the scene as too warm and cool it down. 

Beyond using “Daylight” for sunsets, Ober Photography suggests using “cloudy” for sunsets to really warm up the scene.

sunset-white-balance1

http://oberphotographytips.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/what-is-white-balance/

In Adobe Lightroom you can change the white balance for various effects.  But is it better to get it right in camera?  Maybe, because you might over look a dull photograph when your editing your images.

Example moving White Balance off of Auto White Balance

This image was taken in the studio with Flash. Shot with Auto White Balance in RAW and then brought into Adobe Lightroom and then initially changed to the “Flash” setting. The result was too cold for my taste so I applied a Abobe Lightroom OnOne Software Preset called Warming Filter 81a.

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Free presets: http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/lightroom-presets/

 

What say you? 

Resources:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-solutions/auto-white-balance-versus-pre-set-white-balance

Filters in the Digital Age

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Filters 101

In the old days of film photography, photographers often carried around a handful of filters. Because white balance was baked into the film, one would often have to correct for various light sources using filters. The film itself was balance for the yellowy warm indoor lighting or the cool bright white of sunlight. Going from indoors to outside or visa verse required changing film or adding a filter to your lens to cool or warm the light.

Black and white photographers would use colored filters to effect certain color ranges. For example a red filter would be used to make some serious tonal changes: pink and orange go almost white while the deep red displays similar values to the original orange. While the blue and green become very dark.

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In the age of digital photography, white balance is not longer a worry and can be changed in post production if you are shooting RAW files. Other filter effects can be achieve using software such as Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop or OnOne Perfect Effects.

A polarizing filter is used to cut glare off windows or water just like a pair of polarized sunglasses. A UV filter doesn’t do anything in the digital age except add a layer of protection to your lens.

A polarizing filter can increase color saturation in landscapes it removes glare off leaves. A circular one allows you to dial in the right effect.

A UV filter can be used all the time. A polarizing filter should not as it takes away one stop or so of light. Also in wide angle shots you can get an uneven effect across the sky.

Just bring out the polarizing filter when you need it to cut glare.

Other Useful Filters for Digital Photography

Here are some other filters you’ll find useful for digital photography:

Graduated filters – If the sky is too bright you can use a graduated filter to darken the sky.

Neutral Density or ND filters – Neutral Density filters darken the scene without changing the light. You can get them in various strengths or get a circular one that can dial in the intensity. Why would you want to darken a scene? The primary reason is to be able to use longer exposures for smoothing out waterfalls to get that silky water look.

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One Camera One Lens

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Looking for that one special lens that will vault your photography from ho-hum into ohhs and awwws? Perhaps you have been the victim of less than professional equipment and its been holding you back from greatness?

Or maybe you’re looking at the equation upside down. Perhaps less equipment and exploring every single possibility of that camera/lens combination is the ticket to better photography.

Many great photographers of the past and present favored a single camera and signal lens combination. For example fine art photographer Brooke Shaden only uses a regular old 50mm. For street photographers a Leica M with a 35mm is all they need.

Here is what fellow Fine Art America artist Andrew Pacheco has to say about the one camera/one lens concept:

“The one camera one lens concept is probably why I gravitate toward prime lenses. When I attach a fixed focal length lens to my camera, I’m forced to think in that focal length. For me, the sense of confinement causes me to explore more creative options that the ability to zoom would stop me from seeing.

Even though I have different lenses for different situations, I still feel that primes make you adhere to one lens type of thinking.” – Andrew Pacheco – http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrew-pacheco.html

Another FAA photographer Chuck De La Rosa (http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/chuck-de-la-rosa.html) says: “When I learned photography it was with a manual focus 35 mm SLR with a 50mm lens.”

The idea behind one camera/one lens is to pare down equipment so that one can focus on learning and improving. Here are some examples of professional and amateur photographers utilizing this aspect of pared down photography. Consider a master photographer like Cartier-Bresson:

“Cartier-Bresson himself used one camera and one lens—a Leica with a 50mm—for most of his career. But he was regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century because he knew exactly how his camera would perform. A good photographer takes the time to understand their equipment so they can get the best image, irrespective of how expensive their kit is.” http://www.wired.com/2014/06/hi-lo-dslr-lenses/

Or press photographer Jerome Delay:

“Jerome Delay, a photographer with the Associated Press, has been making remarkable photos from some of the most troubled places on the planet with just one camera and a 50mm lens.” http://bangkokphotoschool.com/2014/04/04/one-camera-one-lens/

Or even a Mom on why she only uses a 50mm:

“I was determined to pursue photography, even on a serious budget. I pledged that I would not let my modest equipment hold me back, regardless of what gear I thought a photographer was “suppose” to have…. “ http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/why-im-happy-with-just-one-photography-lens-by-heather-l/#ixzz36yYS9JBc

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This blog post grew out of forum threads in which people ask for equipment suggestions so they can improve their photography. Often people believe that if they only had the “right” equipment, more exotic equipment or pro level equipment, then their photography would become amazing. True or false? Do you need a bag full of lens? Is a $100 50 mm lens incapable of producing quality photography? What say you?

References:

The concept of one camera, one lens is getting mentioned a lot on the Internet.

http://www.onecameraonelensonephotoaday.com/
http://www.photoventure.com/2014/04/18/9-reasons-you-only-need-one-camera-and-one-lens/
http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/06/16/minimalism-one-lens-for-a-trip/
http://theperfectpose.com/learning/the-one-lens-wedding-results/
http://fineartamerica.com/showmessages.php?messageid=1989136

Ansel Adams on Previsualization

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You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
― Ansel Adams

In this rare clip, Ansel Adams talks about the concept of pre-visualization. Seeing an image in its final form before snapping the shutter.

A photographer truly becomes an artist when they move from operating by luck and happenstance, shooting hundreds of snapshots – hoping a couple of them come out great to in the words of Adams “making photographs instead of taking photographs”.

When a photographer truly masters the craft of photography – camera operations, post-processing etc and moves to a higher level of artistry – actually seeing and per-conceiving what they want to express as their artistic vision do the enter the realm of a true artist.

Snapping a bunch of random photos is not a well thought out artistic vision. Adams was a true master of his craft from being able to judge exposure simply by eyeing the scene to knowing how to bring out the best in the darkroom. The craft comes first and then the artistry becomes possible from one’s command of the mechanics of photographs.

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”
― Ansel Adams

…..

As an example I’ll offer this photograph from my portfolio. A lot of my work is intended for the book cover market so I seek out and create image that have a bit of moody, atmospheric quality to them. Images in which something might happen, already happened or perhaps is about to happen.

I took a location scouting trip to a new spot recently. I found this small reservoir with this tiny kids picnic table beside the water. The day we went it was a bright sunny day with harsh shadows. Not the look I wanted to so I filed the location away in my “overcast days” file. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long for a dark, overcast day, so I returned and composed the shot for a possible book cover use with plenty of copy space above the subject. I also used a short depth of field to muddy out the background and in post-processing added some eerie tones. As a result this typically happy place where kids probably go fishing with grandpa, now has a uneasy feeling of perhaps a crime is about to be committed for a detective to solve.

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The Secrets to Overnight Success – Selling your photographs

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I spend a lot of time on the Fine Art America forums.  It gets rather addictive bantering back and forth about art, photography, selling techniques, promotion, marketing and the state of fine art photography and the art market.  Typically the regular discussion is interrupted by a new member who, after posting two or three photographs or artwork, wants to know the secrets to successful selling their artwork on a print on demand website such as Fine Art America.  Basically they are impatient and want shortcuts to the top.  Problem is that there is no shortcuts to success.

I’ve offered my own “secret” tips for overnight success.  I started to sell consistently on Fine Art America after having over 1,000 pieces for sale and doing constant marketing over the past few years. Here is the secret to overnight success:

1. Have a large volume of top notch work.

The chances of someone liking a certain piece so much that they are willing to purchase it and hang it in there home are astronomical.  Only by having a wide range of work are you likely to find enough buyers.

2. Have a large volume of work that is different than others i.e. stands out.

So much of the offerings on Fine Art America are overdone and down right boring.  Who really needs another squirrel photograph or another vacation photograph taken at the same spot in the same National Park at the same time?

3. Time

It takes time to build a body of work, become known and for the search engines to find the piece.  Buyers also take time considering artwork.  It might take months for a buyer to actually commit to a purchase.

4. Good keywords and description

If people can’t find your work in the first place, how will it ever sell?

5. Off site marketing

Just uploading a piece and then sitting back and thinking it will sell is not a selling strategy.  Also promoting it only to fellow artists is not going to sell the piece.  Other artists have enough of their own stuff to sell.

6. Time

Yes, more time.  Things don’t happen overnight.  Think career not job.

7. Cross referencing of various social media all pointing to your work.

You need multiple links back to your work in order for it to rank higher in the search engines.  Blog, Facebook, Linkin, newspaper articles.  You need to get the word out, far and wide.

8. Time

More time building your skills, adding to your portfolio, and networking.

9. Offer what people want to purchase

Creating abstract complex artwork is all well and good but is it something the average person would want to hang in their home?  You don’t have to cater to the masses, but it would help if more than just you and your mother can appreciate the artwork.

10. Time

Even more time.  It has been said that it takes three years to build a business and most people quit before one year.  Create a marketing plan that goes out five years.  Don’t view your art career as a short term project.

What does it take to sell on a consistent basis?  Take this advice from Sharon Cummings a very successful online art seller:

 

“I used to spend a few minutes a day on marketing….I would sell a print here and there…not much….Now I spend about 4 hours a day on marketing and about 4 hours a day on creating…I sell 3 prints per day on average….it may be up to 4 per say this month…..that’s an 8 hour day….do I like to market that much? Heck no!!! But if I had any other job, I guarantee there would be at least 4 hours a day worth of stuff I didn’t want to do….and given the jobs I could get with my skills outside of art….it would be 8 hours a day doing something I didn’t like….so I am more than happy to work that hard to sell my art…its how I make sales, move up in search to be seen and hence make more sales. ” – Sharon Cummings

 

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