How to Get Started in Selling Fine Art and Landscape Photography

Photography is a buyer’s market. Digital photography has flooded the photography market with an endless sea of photographers who want to sell their work. This article seeks to teach you how to begin selling your photography.

We see photographs every day, and many of them in connection with advertising. Photos of beautiful landscapes which people cannot identify are not interesting to buyers at an art fair. For example, I live in Naples, Florida. I’ve been to dozens of art fairs and one thing rings true every time: Rarely do buyers purchase a beautiful photograph of a beach scene unless they know where the scene is. They want to buy local photographs of local places. They want to feel connected with the photograph. A “generic” landscape photo which the buyer doesn’t identify with might as well be a $2 poster at WalMart. The first lesson to learn is to take photos of local scenery. What are people in your town proud of? The beautiful mountains surrounding the city? The pier going out into the bay? The downtown lights at Christmas time? Every town has something beautiful. Remember, though, that you’ll have to photograph that scene in a way that they wouldn’t view as plain or ordinary. Dress the scene up in beautiful light and make it dramatic.

If you plan on showing your work off, you have to be ruthless. Be ruthless with yourself. Take all of your very best images and put them in one folder on your computer. Look through each image and ask yourself, “Would this image ‘wow’ someone who saw it for the first time and who was not there to see the scene first hand?” If the answer is no, then take it out of your art show. If the answer is yes, then choose 10 of your friends who have the least tact and ask them if they are “wowed.” Photography is subjective, so you’ll get conflicting answers, but remember…if it doesn’t wow them, there are 10,000 other images to choose from. Including “less-than-wow” images in your gallery will drag down the perceived value of your art.

You might be proud of the technical perfection of your images, and your photo club might be proud, but the average small-time art buyer just doesn’t care. The truth is that buyers purchase whatever strikes them as beautiful, and simply do not care if an image has technical imperfections. The buyer just doesn’t care if you use a 1D Mark IV or a Canon Rebel XT. The proof is in the pudding.

So where are you going to sell your local fine art photography? A few things you might try are art fairs (if you can’t find them, you aren’t looking, because they are EVERYWHERE), placing your work in coffee shops for free to decorate their shop and then have a sticker on each image for people to buy, or submitting articles to your local paper with a link to your website.

Good luck in selling your fine art photography. The truth is that the market is so saturated that it is extraordinarily difficult to sell. To beat the bunch, you have to go local. Make your town proud of your town.