The Photo Art Market; Adding Income While Sharing Your Personal Vision Page 2

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Jesse Diamond: Because my photographs are made from an initial response to real-life moments, my marketing strengths are based on my personal moods and resources. I look at matching the demand for art to my supply, not the other way around.

I look at magazines, published work and can track down the clients from something they are doing that reaches out and moves me. I respond to potential clients especially when what they are doing matches up with my mood and style at the moment. Since that is always changing, I find different clients and projects all the time.

"Bamboo Dream," The Big Island, Hawaii
© 2007, Allan Bruce Zee, www.allanbrucezee.com, All Rights Reserved

Most important for me is to make connections since it is so difficult to be aggressive selling my own work. Then, one connection leads to the next and brings me work. My new photo book Drum Circle, published by Nazraeli Press (www.nazraeli.com), came from a photo show for a gallery where I met the publisher. That kicked off a chain of contacts and e-mails that eventually brought me the book project.

Allan Bruce Zee: The Business Journal is one of our most used sources for corporate art sales leads. We subscribe to them (every city has one) because they indicate how companies are doing and who is expanding. We also work closely with most interior designers and architectural firms in town where we get early news about projects and artwork for the interiors. We use the term "artwork" rather than lead off with "photography" so the client does not use possible preconceptions about photography to dismiss working with us. We encourage them to see the work first.

The American Hospital Association has a mailing list we can purchase but I typically find that most large corporations and hospitals want to work with either art consultants or architectural/interior design firms to handle large-scale art programs. Once I have work purchased by a client in a certain geographic region, I can Google that region for hospitals or corporations and try to get a foot in the door by mentioning the purchase by another local medical facility or corporation.

Carnton Plantation, Tennessee
© 2006, Allan Bruce Zee, www.allanbrucezee.com, All Rights Reserved

By and large, my emphasis has been to cultivate long-term relationships with art consultants who will be an ongoing resource for me.

One point I want to make here--persistent and consistent contact is very important in corporate fine art sales. I have had experiences of being in contact with facilities managers or art committees for over 10 years before a sale was forthcoming--in one instance the sale was for 42 pieces, the other was for 56.

SB: What works best for portfolio and promotional materials?

Jesse Diamond: I use inkjet prints and have them bound together by a professional bookbinder. I also work with a graphic designer to create a general presentation theme around the selected photographs. About once a year I'll invest in a new promotional booklet. I like to think of these as mini-portfolios, so the same designer and I will create the look based on the larger portfolios. For my website (and it is essential these days) I find that simple design and easy navigation works best. You have such a short attention span--maybe 5-10 seconds--to get a client to stay on your site. I do "face-lifts" on my site every six months or so. I also think that to get people to remember and recognize you, it is important that design elements (color, font) cross over from promotional materials to your website.

Susan Baraz: I have seen nicely presented boxes with inkjet prints that are placed in mattes and mounted. Use the beautiful inkjet papers available now. The matte boards must be in a uniform size presentation. The images can be any size within this standardized matte board. I have also seen the use of beautifully-bound little books. Many online sites now make it so easy to self-publish. They look great and seem very professional. A little mini-book brochure-type pamphlet of your images that can be given away of 4-6 images works well.

Take your time to make something outstanding--you are not producing these in volume. The most important thing is to be sure there is a similar theme or vision. All work must be images that tell the same story.

Allan Bruce Zee: My website is a terrific tool for perspective clients to see my work or for an art consultant to use with their clients. When a web link isn't used, I can send out tear sheets from previous advertising in the Guild Artist Resource Directory publication (www.guildsourcebooks.com). The Guild publishes wonderful directories for fine art buyers such as interior designers and art consultants. You must be juried to get into the publication. I have been selected to be an advertiser for four consecutive years and got great responses and clients I am still working with. It's expensive to advertise, so when I found I had saturated that audience, I discontinued the advertising purchase. But I may re-enlist down the road. I print up photo cards for shows and announcements which I send to my direct mail list. I am now converting as much as possible to e-mail announcements.

To show my imagery, I can provide a variety of materials depending upon how the client likes to work. I try to let the client determine what samples might be most helpful for them to get to represent my work.

Author's note: In researching this growing market for photographers I have come across several additional resources to the ones named earlier. Here is a partial list of these references:
· www.artmarketing.com for books on fine art marketing and buying art buyer mailing lists
· www.writersdigest.com for 2008 Photographer's Market book
· Fine Art Photography: Creating Beautiful Images for Sale and Display by Terry Hope
· Successful Fine Art Photography: How to Market Your Art Photography by Harold Davis

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