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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Great Photos are your Doorway to Marketing and Sales

"Cafe' Costa Rica" original acrylic canvas 20 x 20 (SOLD) (Prints available)
Many artists recommend not selling your original artwork. Once they are gone, they’re gone forever. Of course, with permission, you can use the buyer's name as a reference indicating where your painting resides.

I was painfully reminded of this when I sold two original paintings to someone in Minnesota. A few weeks later, Fine Art America (FAA) notified me that someone had ordered a gicleé off of one of the paintings, but the photograph on file was not good enough. Since we were not heading back to Minnesota until a few weeks later, I asked for more time. The buyer refused. Their purchase was for a gift. I lost the sale.
"Skudeneshavn Norway"  20 x 16 oil on canvas (SOLD) (prints available)
When we arrived in Minnesota, I had to call the owner of the original, schedule a visit, and then obtain the needed photo of the painting. I took another photo of the other painting they had purchased just in case. But what if they hadn't given their permission or were unable to accommodate my request?

Hard lesson learned. If you are fortunate enough to sell the original, be sure your photos of it are absolutely perfect. Make sure that your client understands you are going to sell prints from their painting. If they do not approve honor their request.

"Hibiscus Glory" 16 x 20 oil on canvas (SOLD)
I sold two other originals at an art show and regretted later that I had no copy for myself. They were two of my favorite paintings. I went back to FAA and ordered a wrapped canvas gicleé of each. I also wanted a closer look at what my customers were actually getting when they purchased a “wrapped canvas gicleé.”

I was well pleased. The colors were bold and beautiful. Most people think they are originals. The paintings are the size the customer has requested, 9 x 12, 20 x 18, etc. The wrapped portion is 1.5 inches and is black. On the wall, it gives the impression that the painting is framed. The only thing missing is the texture. If the gicleé was prepared by the artist locally, then texture could always be added to enhance the canvas. The cost to the buyer is significantly lower than purchasing an original painting.

Wrapped canvas Giclee' of Cafe' Costa Rica shown above
Since that sad experience of losing a sale because I couldn’t produce a quality photo in time, I work hard to be prepared. I upgraded my camera and make certain that I have adequate lighting. I save my photos online and organize them carefully into folders for paintings, drawings, illustrations, etc. Then when I want to upload them again, I can find them in seconds.

We live in a digital world. These same photos will be entered in online contests, uploaded to secondary web sites, and used on registration forms for other contests either locally or in magazines. They are the main promotion you have of your artwork. Before others see your paintings they will see a digital copy of your work. If your photo is imperfect in anyway, it will reflect on your work as a whole.
"Broken" original 11 x 14 mixed media canvas (SOLD) (Prints available)
I suggest taking a short class on photography so that what represents you is as good as it can get. Quality means everything. Images will be produced from your photo. Time is of the essence. The customer is always right and they may be impatient. Don’t lose a sale as I did because your camera isn’t good enough or your photo is flawed.
(Giclee' of "Broken" with black 1.5 inch wrapped canvas)