Hard Work & Great Marketing Sell Photographs March 3, 2015 – Posted in: Photography – Tags: , , , , , ,

The human brain is divided into two equal hemispheres. While alike in appearance, shape, and size, these two halves have far more differences than similarities. The left side is often referred to as the rational side, being more analytical, thought processing, and scientific. The right side is where the creative juices thrive, harnessing our artistic and imaginative capabilities.

As photographers we tend to be motivated by the right hemisphere of our brain, soaking up our surroundings, always imagining possible photographs, and viewing the world through our own permanent lens. Sadly, while our right brain may be the reason we are successful in our art, it is also the reason we are stumped when it comes to answering questions such as, how do I turn my passion for photography into a lucrative business?

Daunting as it may seem, turning your hobby into a profitable business is possible. Take Peter Lik’s Phantom for example. In December this photograph sold for an impressive 6.5 million dollars, urging companies such as Forbes and Petapixel to question how one sells the world’s most expensive photograph. It seems that at the root of it all the answer is this: photographs make money when they are backed by exceptional marketing campaigns and business plans.

As Alain Briot explains in his book Marketing Fine Art Photography, in order to sell your work successfully you need to approach this activity as a career rather than as a hobby. He notes that, “while a hobby is usually done on the side, a career plays a primary importance in your working life. This decision is significant because it will shape how you approach your photography business as a whole.”

Marketing Fine Art PhotographyThis means that once you’ve decided to focus on your photography you need to give it the right amount of attention and dedication. For instance, set aside time to not only take pictures, but also to develop an approach to showcase, promote, and most importantly, sell your photographs. Your plan should guide you each step of the way as you build your business. It must include a complete set of goals, actions, and deadlines.

Briot states, “Hard work alone is not enough. You can work very hard yet not reach your goals if the work you are doing does not follow an organized plan.

“Hard work only needs to come after the plan has been put together, so your hard work will then be placed at the service of your objectives. The outcome being a productive effort aimed at reaching your goals.”

In order to reach these goals, Briot stresses the importance of marketing. If you do not market your photography nothing will happen. If you market incorrectly nothing will happen. He places an extreme emphasis on the importance of not only having a plan, but also being able to back up that plan. When you make the decision to turn your hobby into a career you will have to do hours upon hours of research regarding where to sell your photographs, how to sell them, and who to sell them to.

Focusing on marketing efforts goes far beyond displaying your work in galleries or running newspaper ads. It means actually studying marketing. Briot suggests looking at the marketing techniques used to sell a variety of other products and applying these techniques to the marketing of your fine art photographs.

He believes it is important to remember, “you can have the most beautiful photographs in the world, or the best product ever, but it is not going to do you much good if you do not explain to those who are qualified to buy your product why they should buy it.”

Once you have a plan in place and the research has been done, start to spread the word. People aren’t going to know about your photography unless you talk about it. A lot. Make it interesting, make it relevant, and make it worthwhile. You have to provide a reason for people to buy your art. Without a unique plan and position in the market you will not succeed.

It’s time to introduce the drive of your left hemisphere to the imagination of your right. You already have the product, and you’ve already been told it’s good. The goal now is to find the right space to share it. While you might stumble into the perfect setting for a photograph, you are not going to build a million-dollar photography business overnight. However, by following Alain Briot’s key points, your ingenuity and concentration can collaborate to create a plan that will lead to long-term success.