How to get your photography seen & purchased

Sell Your Art Online

7 Different Ways To Sell Your Art Online

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Low Budget Studio – Incredible Photos of Your Art

Chris Garrett, photographer and large format printing expert, shares some ways that you can create professional quality photographs, of your art or subjects, with very little equipment or expense, in your own home.  

I have spent so much time limiting myself to outdoor photography because I didn’t have access to a studio. Without the right lighting and backdrop, it’s difficult to get the high quality photographs I wanted. What I didn’t realize was that it is very simple to create a studio to use either inside or outside and get amazing results. Most of what I needed I already had and what I didn’t was very inexpensive compared to all brand new equipment. Whether you’re looking to move your photography indoors or to capture the nuance and quality of another type of art on film, these tips can help you to achieve professional photographs in your home or workspace.

What you can use:

  • Two ladders
  • An 8 ft. pole works great
  • Clamps
  • Various colors of sheets (make sure your colors are very rich, not faded from washing)
  • Foam boards (for reflecting light)
  • Your choice of lighting (natural light works very well)

Setting up your space.

If you are working indoors, you just need the room to set up. Moving furniture temporarily works, using the garage is great, but you should try to position it to where you have access to some natural light. When using the white foam board as a light reflecting tool, you can manipulate it to do pretty much anything you want.

photography for artistsSo place the ladders on each end of the set. Use the pole to rest between them on the tallest rung. Clamp your sheets to the pole and lay one on the ground if you want a solid backdrop. Your set should be in the prime lighting location if you are doing them outdoors, so basically you don’t want to have your subject facing the sun or you will get squinting or watering of the eyes. Use the foam board to reflect and manipulate the light in your favor. If you are in a dark area, making your own soft boxes will give you some great results, many use a flood lamp that can be moved around or even use a flashlight behind your props for some backlighting.

You can also try substituting a silver car shade for the white foam board, but they will produce a much harsher light and may cause shadows. The white board makes the light softer and more diffused. The best way to get great at this is to practice. You should be able to take amazing photos with hardly any Photoshop time.

photography for artistsSo, it is easy to say that you don’t have to have a dedicated space in your home to use a studio set up. You may need an assistant until you figure out your own way of doing things. But this is a great alternative to spending a fortune that you may not have on equipment that works in the same way. Play around with it and create photos that people will want to hang on their wall or use for customized wallpaper as a mural. No one will know you haven’t been doing this forever!

For me, this is a set up that works and is portable if I need it to be. Feel free to make your own modifications, but just don’t be afraid of studio photography. It does get really hard to do pictures in the middle of winter when your client wants family portraits and there is a foot of snow outside. Get away from being a seasonal photographer and be ready to shoot anytime on any day!

 

Chris Garrett is a large format printing expert and freelance writer for the custom printed wallpaper expert Megaprint.com. He frequently blogs on the topics of design and printing.

Photo credit Alexis Godschalk @ photo.net & Tackorama

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The Best Website to Sell Art Online – The Truth

There is one question that I get asked on a regular, pretty much daily basis by artists venturing into the world of selling art online. I get asked so regularly that I thought a post addressing the issue would be a good idea.

The question is “What are the best websites to sell art?”

And the answer? It’s surprisingly simple. The answer is “your own website”

The best website to sell art online is…  your own!

Sadly there are no magic websites that will do all the work for you. That you can just upload your images to and then forget about and wait for the money to roll in. Wherever you put your work for sale you will need to promote it to get visitors to view and buy it.

And why put your time and energy into promoting someone elses site? Why not spend it on promoting your own website and domain name?

Etsy, Facebook, Zazzle, Redbubble etc all offer a brilliant service but it’s best not to rely on them exclusively for your online sales.  What if they collapse, close or change their terms of service in  way you don’t like and you want to move? What happens to all the hours you have spent getting links and promotion to your shopfront? All gone in the click of a mouse…

Rent your property or own your own home?

If you own your own domain name and website you are in control.

You can then point visitors from there to your Etsy or Redbubble shop if you want but all your promotional efforts take visitors to YOUR domain name and website first, so you can easily swap shop providers should you wish to without losing all your visitors.

I love the metaphor that it’s like the difference between renting or buying a house. You dont want to spend loads of energy and money fitting a swanky new kitchen in your rented pad only to be turfed out by the landlord next month, but any improvements made to your bought house are an investment for the future.

Still not convinced? Here are some more good reasons why your own website is the best plan for selling art online.

7 good reasons for setting up your own website

You will look more professional

You can control the way the site looks rather than being reliant on a parent shop sites generic style.

You can create your own brand

The design of your website can fit in with the style and branding of your work – again making you look more professional and giving your work a coherent showcase

You can control your own domain name

Registering and using your own domain name {ie www.yourname.com} looks great, helps with search engine results and allows you to have a proper associated email address too. No more shoddy looking hotmail addresses. And your domain name is yours to keep, so you always get the traffic directed there.

You can stand out in the crowd

Its very easy to get lost in amongst the bazillions of users on the large selling sites. You own website allows you to be able to stand out in the crowd and be easily found by search engines.

You won’t have to pay commission

Anything you sell on your own site is commission free. Hooray. [Although you may have to pay a small transaction fee to Paypal].

You have freedom

You can stop or change to another selling site easily with no problems. You won’t lose your client list or the advantage of all the promotion you have done as it will all still point to your personal website. Just change the links to your new shopfront and away you go!

Endless possibilities…

There are no constraints on what you do with your own site. You can make it your own little corner of the web. Every bit of promotion is an investment for the future. You can build your own domain and art career step by step…

if you are serious about selling artwork online or setting up a creative business then the best website to sell your art is most definitely your own… Setting it up is a crucial step that will pay dividends in the long run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Artist’s Sketchbook – 10 Tips For Creativity

Most Artists use sketchbooks as a means of recording an idea, object or place. However, getting the best use out of your sketchbook is about way more than having a pretty book with a nice picture on every page. Here’s how to get low down and dirty with your sketchbook to squeeze more creativity out of it.

    1. The sketchbook is a means to an end – not the end itself.
      Try not to view your sketchbook as something you could put in a gallery all by itself. Look at it more as an old friend you can bounce ideas off in a smokey pub.

 

    1. Dont be precious about your sketchbook – It will stifle your creativity.
      Years ago as a Art Foundation Student myself and the other students were given sketchbooks to work in and proceeded to be really tense about them spending hours crafting perfect pages, getting really uptight and competitive about the work in them. Then one of the older more wizened members of staff got us all to place our sketchbooks in a big pile on a table and proceeded to pour thick black coffee all over them. Result – Lots of shouting and some tears but a great lesson learned. Just relax – You willl be far more creative.

 

    1. Don’t tear out pages or remove work you aren’t happy with. 
      Your sketchbook should be honest. Dont try to edit it. It’s there as a record of your thoughts and even terrible work is a record of your progress. Even if it looks dreadful there may be an idea there you can come back to at a later stage.

 

    1. Keep a small sketchbook with you at all times.
      As a Mum I get little time to do anything but there’s always a little moment you can snatch, when the kids have fallen asleep in the car, when you’re waiting at the school gates, when you have precisely two minutes to draw something. You also have something to hand to quickly write down a great idea that pops into your head when you are at the Supermarket checkout. Having a sketchbook at these snatched times is important to keep your creativity flowing.

 

    1. Don’t just draw.
      Write down thoughts, textures, sounds, conversations. Its these everyday snippits that are often inspirational.

 

    1. Buy a cheap sketchbook.
      If you treat yourself to a beautiful hand crafted leatherbound hand made paper filled sketchbook you will get so hung up about putting the perfect work in that you will get paralysed by lack of creative confidence [well, maybe thats just me] Just get your self a cheap general sketchbook and you will use it much more and be more relaxed.

 

    1. Be Messy.
      Try out new techniques and materials in your sketchbook. That way you have an ever growing reference library of what works [and what doesn’t].

 

    1. Collect things – Stick them in your sketchbook
      Postcards from exhibitions, feathers, leaves, photos, textiles, paint samples, flyers, stickers, magazine cuttings and other ephemera can all find a home in your sketchbook as a source of inspiration. This stops them festering in the bottom of your handbag until they are unrecognisable and you bin them.

 

    1. It may be obvious but… keep a pen or pencil with your sketchbook.
      There’s nothing more frustrating that having a great idea or seeing something amazing and having nothing to draw or write it down with. Make sure you have a drawing implement that will tuck safely into your sketchbook. Clip it on, tuck it down the spine or stick it on with sellotape if neccessary.

 

    1. USE IT
      Its so easy to get out of the habit of working in your sketchbook. You forget to take it out a few times and before you know it you haven’t worked in it for six months. I find personally that my sketchbook is the root of all my creative processes so its really important to keep using it. Once you are in the habit you get in a flow and can create a positive spiral of creativity. Just keep going.
How do you use your sketchbook? Please share with us in the comments…

 

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We Need Your Opinion – Enterprising Artist’s Survey

Opportunities for artists have changed radically over the last 10 years or so.

Widespread use of the internet has begun a process of democratisation of the artworld as never before. New opportunities have been tempered by new challenges. It is a huge sea-change which has altered the art landscape forever. More and more artists are finding that it IS possible to make a living from their creativity. You no LONGER have to starve for your art…

What is less clear is that how do we fit into this new landscape as artists?

HOW are people doing? WHAT are they doing? WHERE are they going? Just HOW is it all panning out for YOU?

Introducing The Enterprising Artists Survey.

To get a little more of an idea, Artonomy has partnered with www.rightbrainrockstar.com to create The Enterprising Artists Survey.

Your opinion and experience counts…

We need YOUR EXPERIENCE to understand what is going on.

In return for 10 minutes of your time filling out the survey, you will be emailed the summarized results and get a more detailed picture of today’s entrepreneurial art landscape.

So please help us  by completing the survey here

Thank You

Artonomy & Right Brain Rockstar

 

 

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Lessons in selling art from my weird obsession with camper vans.

I think I’m having a midlife crisis! Over the past few weeks I have developed an unhealthy and possibly slightly weird obsession with getting a camper van.

It all started with a retro turquoise VW camper which one of my favourite galleries uses to advertise their business. It is parked outside with the gallery name on and gives out a jaunty air of summer happiness.

Since seeing this vintage Volkswagen beauty, my campervan obsession spread like wildfire through 70’s Scooby Doo style Toyota Hiace motorhomes, VW T25’s and the “clearly named by a lunatic” Mazda Bongo. I can be found on the Internet at 4am comparing mileage or in the corner of a carpark pawing at camper bodywork and interrogating the owners on miles per gallon economy.

To be honest it’s all got a bit sad…

 

Mr Artonomy has taken on a resigned look and has taken to disowning me when I dash off to look at my latest find. He has more sense than to get in the way of one of my obsessions.

But where he sees a rusty money pit and possible dangerous descent into being a middle aged couple with a flask of tea, I see a life of wild adventure on the open road. I see Friday night spontaneous escape. Sleep under the stars cushioned from the elements by German efficiency. I see waking up on a beach to the roar of the ocean and running joyfully across the sand with my tousel haired children for an early morning dip. I see festivals and sun. I see magical childhood memories being made and I WANT A CAMPERVAN.

So “what on earth has this got to do with selling my art you sad middle aged woman” I hear you cry.

 

Well it’s all to do with “features” versus “benefits” which is an important marketing concept to get your head around and one which very much applies when you are selling your art in a gallery or online.

What I would ACTUALLY physically be buying (features) would be a rusty old van which drinks petrol like a fish, has a weird tent instead of a roof, contains more Formica than is natural and probably has an onboard potty.

However, what I am REALLY BUYING IN MY HEAD (benefits) is a romantic notion of freedom, escape and being at one with nature.

Painting the picture in your collectors head.

 

If a camper van sales man comes up to me at this point and starts telling me about engine size I won’t be too interested in an immediate sale, but if he paints a picture to me of the free and magical campervan lifestyle in my head and how his vehicle will help me achieve it I will be handing over my hard earned cash to him quicker than you can say “split screen VW”

And that, my friends, is the secret of selling anything, be it sprockets, cars, t shirts, jewellery or paintings. You have to discover the deep personal magical inner desires of the buyer and show how your painting can meet that desire.

Collectors  buying an escape.

 

A great example of this is the gallery I talked about who own the gorgeous blue campervan that started this whole blooming thing off. They are located in a beautiful Welsh seaside town and sell a lovely selection of work, a lot of which is based around the sea or countryside. Their customers aren’t just buying a painting. They are buying a memory of being relaxed on holiday, of picnics on the beach, pub lunches, an escape from work and getting on better with their husband. The bottom line is they buy the painting to capture this feeling and FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES. They are buying an escape.

So when you are considering where or how to sell your paintings, remember the magical dialogue that will go on in your buyers heads. Try to imagine what it will be and promote your work accordingly.

Me? I’m off to check AutoTrader for a pre-loved VW.

Let me know what you think in the comments…

Image by Barkaw under Creative Commons licence

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Social Media for Artists – How To Conquer It And Have A Life Too

Social media can be fun, a great way to network and spread the word about your art to the world and enjoy new collaborations. It can also be a terrifying time sink of gargantuan proportions of the kind where you wake up on Saturday morning and realise you have spent the entire week poking at Facebook and Twitter and achieved NOTHING else. Not good.

So this little post deals with a few ideas to help you deal with social media in ways that are a bit more efficient and which can help you reclaim your life.

Scheduling – for fun and relaxation.

There is a big secret to reclaiming your life from the tentacles of social media… and that secret is SCHEDULING… If you can limit the time you spend on social media to, say one or two 15 minute session it stops you from getting embroiled in addictive checking. You can set up a bunch of links first thing in a morning to post later. Then you can close down Twitter & Facebook and get on with the good stuff, like painting and creating.

Will scheduling make me an evil robot?

Looking on Twitter it’s easy to spot the absolute abuse of scheduling software. Streams of random links and spam, offering ways to make $3000 dollars at home, posted by bots with no human interaction. This is clearly not where you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can use scheduling to post your links but take time in your 15 minutes update time to check on what’s happening, thank people for retweets, chat and interact with people. You can still be human. Scheduling just means you get all the grunt work done, actually leaving more time for the lovely enjoyable human stuff.

Which software to use?

There are some great pieces of free software on line which will help you automate many aspects of your social media presence. These are my favourites…

Tweetdeck

I use Tweetdeck.com as my main weapon of choice when dealing with Twitter. You can set up tweets and schedule them for a particular time. You can also see your streams of followers, mentions and direct messages extremely easily making it a snap to keep on top of what is happening. I spend 15 minutes or so first thing scheduling my posts for the day and replying to messages. I will then check back towards the end of the day to chat. Tweetdeck also allows you to add other social services including Facebook.

Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs is extremely handy for taking your blog and feeding it into Facebook. This is my main use for this application but you can also feed your blog straight to Twitter too.

Dlvr.It

I have recently discovered www.dlvr.it and found it really useful for sending an RSS feed from a blog into individual Twitter posts.

The great thing about dlvr.it is that you can schedule the posts for the best time for you and specify how many are posted at any one time, preventing flooding. You also get stats on how your posts performed. Extremely informative.

What about Google + ?

Google+, the new social networking phenomena from Google is growing at a phenomenal rate. It offers a lot of the functionality and advantages of Twitter and Facebook without the complexity. It is easy to use and offers content sharing, the ability to network with people you don’t know {like Twitter} as well as share content with your close friends {like Facebook} all in one place. It is a simpler, more streamlined “one-stop-shop” for the sharing of content and images and as such has the potential to be a definite time saver.

However, it’s usefulness will be ultimately governed by how many people join and the levels of useage it attracts. It looks extremely promising though and is well worth joining for artists, giving you the advantage of being in there early.

At the moment, Google+ is by invitation only so try and grab one if you can from someone you know who is already using it.

Reclaim your life…

Automating some parts your social media presence will really help you to free up your life from some of the more time stealing elements of this area of the web.

Importantly it will allow you to focus on the really important part of social media. Communicating with people.

Share the tips and software/apps that work for you in the comments...

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Readers’ Showcase | Carlos Thága | The Spirit of Brazil

Introducing Carlos Thága.

Brazilian artist Carlos Thága lives in the city of Rio de Janeiro. A self taught artist, Carlos spent many years visiting the art galleries in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, where he learned to observe technical and artistic ideas.

Os Arcos

Os Arcos

He participated in several painting competitions in Rio de Janeiro, where he received several awards. He also participated in exhibitions in various places in Rio de Janeiro, such as Urca Yacht Club, Alliance Francaise (Ipanema), Hoton Palace Hotel, Brazilian Academy of Letters, the Bank of Brazil and many others.

Cores Entre Listas

Cores Entre Listas

He also participated in the state of Minas Gerais some collective and individual exhibitions also being awarded. Literary released album “500 anos the Discovery of the Americas” with writer Joaquim Branco.

Currently working on his abstractionist language canvases which have given him much pleasure.

Abstração 12

Abstração 12

He now lives with his family in the state of Minas Gerais where he creates his paintings and teaches art to groups of seniors as occupational therapy.

Find out more about Carlos on his website.

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Readers’ Showcase | Andy Hemingway | Capturing the light & drama of Northern England

Welcome to the first post in our series of readers showcases. We want to help you share your art and creativity on Artonomy and encourage you to submit work for inclusion.

This week our first artist is photographer Andy Hemingway from Yorkshire England. Over to Andy to talk about his amazing work.

Andy Hemingway Morning at Shelter Rock

Morning at Shelter Rock

I have held a lifelong love of the sometimes bleak but always beautiful hills and moors of the Pennines. My photography attempts to capture the changing moods and often dramatic atmosphere of the hills that I call home.

I was born and raised in Huddersfield and my passion for the landscape of Yorkshire started at an early age. My father would often take me on walks from when I was quite little, in the hills around the area where I grew up. Some of my earliest memories are of drystone walls, old water troughs and the local focal point which can be seen from almost anywhere in Huddersfield, Castle Hill.

Andy Hemingway Stanage Tundra

Stanage Tundra

I studied for a BTEC in Art and Design at Huddersfield Technical College, before graduating from Norwich School of Art in 1991 with a BA(Hons) Degree in Fine Art Printmaking. My work has always been about the landscape. Not just how nature has shaped it’s contours but how human beings have lived and interacted with the land. From traces of prehistoric habitation, to the scattered gateposts and millstones, it is easy to forget that many landscapes were until quite recently working landscapes. The people who lived on the land had to somehow eke out a living and they left their works, stories and names behind for us to find if we care to look.

andy hemingway fleeting light at castle hill

Fleeting Light at Castle Hill

Often returning time and time again throughout the seasons, I consider it important to know the locations where I shoot intimately. I research the history and folklore of the areas that I photograph and by visiting locations often, begin to understand how the light at different times of year falls on the views that you want to capture. Sometimes you have to wait for months or even years for the perfect conditions to capture the image that you have envisioned. Landscape photography is about so much more than capturing the scene before you but attempting to capture something of the spirit of the place.

Andy Hemingway Dawn Over Saddleworth Moor

Dawn Over Saddleworth Moor

When processing my images, I am not so concerned with adhering to a rigid representation of how the scene appeared at the exact moment that the shutter released. Although I keep within the bounds of realism, I like my colours to zing and to retain shadows and contrast. I also like quite a high contrast in my monos to push out light and cloud detail. I use graduated neutral density filters and bracket two or three exposures. I then often blend exposures together in photoshop and use layer overlays to add contrast and tone to the image. I do not use HDR.

Andy Hemingway Morning on Carl Wark

Morning on Carl Wark

Andy’s work can be seen on display at his next exhibition at Castleton Visitor’s Centre in Hope Valley, from 2nd to 30th July, with Chris Charlesworth.

See more of Andy’s beautiful work on his website.

If you would like to see your work showcased on Artonomy please click here for more information.

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What is your crucial secret weapon for selling art? : Lessons from “The Apprentice”

Lets put on our “imagining” hat for a second. {I hope you have an imagining hat? I wouldn’t go anywhere without mine}.

Imagine for some strange and unknown reason you {heaven forbid}suddenly find yourself taking part in an episode of “The Apprentice”. Your objective is to sell as many of your paintings as possible in 5 hours from a rented shop. People come in, wander round disinterested in your work and leave. They don’t come back. You gradually get more and more panicky at the thought of bearing the brunt of the gimlet eye of Sir Alan Sugar and his henchmen and resort to standing at the shop door shouting and trying to grab passers by. They cross the road to avoid you as, by this point, you have become more than a little bonkers looking. You fail the task miserably, get fired and go home sobbing in a taxi.

Stop! Rewiiiiiiind

Now lets re imagine it…
Same Apprentice style task, same scenario. But this time you have a secret weapon. You have a big list of people who you already know LOVE your work. You set up your gallery and contact them. They arrive in droves and because they are already pre-qualified to like what you do, they buy a lot of paintings. You trounce the other team, get a fabulous job with Sir Alan and get to fly off to Royal Ascot in a private jet quaffing champagne.

Your mailing list is your secret weapon.

That’s pretty much why you need an artist’s mailing list in a nutshell {omitting the champagne, jets and Sir Alan bits}. It’s your secret weapon for selling art online and off.

Many many people will visit your website or see your work in a gallery but unless you make some kind of record of who they are you will probably never see them again and an opportunity is wasted.

This is why you need to collect their details, start your artists mailing list and keep growing it.

Many people set up a site but neglect to grow their mailing list when really at the end of the day it should be the FOCUS of your entire online presence.

So what exactly is it?

An artist’s mailing list is simply a list of the details of people who expressed an interest in your work, whether they be on your site or viewing your work in a gallery. Name and email address is really all you need {unless your audience predominately don’t use the internet and you want to send out invitations by post.}

The less information you ask for, the more likely people will be to give it to you. Asking for peoples inside leg measurements and the name of their dog will result in a very small mailing list.

What do I use it for?

You use your mailing list to keep people up to date with your latest work. A good idea is to send out an email newsletter once a month detailing new work, things that you are working on and your general announcements {upcoming exhibitions etc}

Is it worth the hassle?

Absolutely! For example Artist, Hazel Dooney {some of Hazel’s work may be NSFW} has built a great deal of her success on keeping her own group of collectors informed of her work. Hazel sends out a monthly “Studio Notes” email, thus allowing her to operate independently outside the gallery system. Basically if you have your own list you aren’t reliant on a galleries list of interested folk. You have your own. Hoorah.

When do I start?

I love this Japanese saying. “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now” If you start now, a year down the line you will have a healthy list of collectors. Just do it.

So, how do I do it?

At the very basic end, just make sure you have a book for people to add their details at your next exhibition.

Read this post for some ideas about how to get people to sign up. Simple tips to increase your mailing list signup at gallery exhibitions & craft fairs

At the more high tech end, start to collect names and emails on your website. Trust is a very precious thing so make sure that you reassure people that you value their trust and will not sell or lose their email or spam them.

Very importantly – don’t use your normal email programme to send out emails or manage your list. It looks unprofessional and is likely to end in a junk mail folder. The professional services below ensure that their emails are designed to get through the spam filters. You also can’t measure how many people open your mails when you use Outlook so have no idea if anyone is actually reading them and how to improve.

Ok Mrs Smartarse. So what DO I use instead of Outlook?

There are specialist online services which you can use to manage your list and send out emails.

MailChimp offers a great FREE package which is ideal for cutting your teeth. They have loads of nice features and you can have up to 1000 subscribers on the free account. They do seem to have more problems with deliver-ability though but it is a good place to start.

Aweber
I use Aweber to send out all my emails and manage my list and it works great. It has a high deliverability rate, great templates, stats and features. It does cost $20 a month though but you can use it on multiple sites and send as many emails as you like for that fee.

Don’t be a V14gr4 Gnome

All this could start to sound a bit mercenary and it’s true that the mailing list is open to abuse by ice hearted internet marketers who use peoples emails to bombard them with ads for v14gr4 or promises of a larger willy. However, like anything in life, it’s what you do with it that counts. Always remember that your mailing list is about people, not just numbers.

Take time to connect and build relationships with the people who like your work. Don’t treat them as a commodity. Get to really know them. Grow your connections with your people and you,  your work and your audience can grow together.

How do you manage your artists mailing list? Tell us below.

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