Category Archives: Artist Resources

Article and helpful resources for any independent online seller. Resources include assistance with shooting and preparing your product photography, SEO, and other marketing tips.

Photography Quickie Tips: How to Sell Your Art Online

How to Sell Your Art Online

Published on Mar 29, 2015 by Life After Art School

How to Sell Your Art Online,
A simple checklist for artists to learn how to market their art online and make money selling their art online. This system works! This video will discuss how to easily start selling your art online. In the video he touches base on marketing and selling your art.

Becoming a Landscape and Nature Photographer: Getting Out in the Public

Pi Photography and Fine Art is an online gallery that sells landscape and nature photography created by myself, Melissa Fague. Eventually Pipa Fine Art will be taking on other artists such as painters, sculptures, digital artists and so on, but for now it’s all about landscape and nature photography. Because Pipa Fine Art is an online art gallery with no physical store front, one of the last things I entertained as a business owner was getting out into the local area for exposure for several reasons…now looking back none were good enough reasons to stay out of the public eye physically.

Over the past two to three years Pipa Fine Art has made a variety of appearances at local art loops, art festivals, and other types of festivals around or near Delaware. Each event has presented us with a variety of different experiences to learn from; as an artist, as a business and even in our own personal lives.

For me on a personal level, I am an introvert. I am completely content without speaking or seeing people for days on end. Being an introvert is a great trait for a photographer who likes to roam while creating work or an artist who likes to lock themselves in a studio to focus but the trait is detrimental for a business owner trying to grow a business. Stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing the reactions of other during the festivals has forced me to grow and become accustomed to speaking with others fluently as both an artist and a business owner. These experiences have also crossed over into my personal life as well. Here is an example; recently I met my boyfriend’s mother’s side of the family…all at once. Yes, I was thrown into the shark pit ;). Before my experiences with the festivals I would have had trouble communicating with them all and I would have been overwhelmed by their curiosity of me. However, I noticed right away that I was confident and felt like I was able to work the room so to speak and I enjoyed every moment of the introduction to the family. So I would like other artists, photographers, and creative small business owners to utilize what I have learned from the events and try to incorporate these things into their own routines.

What Do Festivals and Art Loops Do?

That’s simple! Art loops and Festivals helps people, potential clients, find you and your products. Getting involved with art loops and festivals gets your products out there for people to touch, see and explore. As an artist, art festivals and loops help you add the human element to your business and helps you capture leads as well as make contacts for use later.

What Held Me Back

Besides the whole introvert thing, there were several other factors that I thought were good reasons to not join the local art loops and festivals. The biggest and most incorrect reason was the thought of needing a full inventory of work. Don’t get me wrong having a nice selection to choose from is great but it’s not needed right away.  Our very first experience in an Art Loop I had a dozen framed fine art landscape and nature photography prints all the same size and framed exactly the same. I was contacted by a small photography studio space that was doing the Wilmington Art Loop that was combined with the Ladybug Festival. I was contacted a little less than two weeks before the event, so I had little time and money available to get an inventory together. I started getting scared because of the lack of time and inventory but I did the event anyway; I ended up selling one landscape photo print of Sandbars that night. With the profit of that print sale I added a little more to my inventory.

Photograph of Pi Photography and Fine Art's first landscape and nature photography art exhibit

The second thing that held me back was lack of knowledge. The first and second event that we joined taught me a lot about people’s purchasing habits, as well as lessons about building excitement in the audience and it taught me a good deal about lead capturing. The first event, I did sell one print and the second event was a flop. There was a lot of foot traffic that came by our booth but few walked inside, the people that did come in didn’t stay long and didn’t purchase a thing. This is what I noticed happened:

  1. The second event was in the dead summer and the temperature was over 100 with the humidity, no one was carrying anything around they didn’t need to stay cool.
  2. Our booth looked inviting and shaded but we drew no attention to it.
  3. There was a lack of engagement between myself and the festival goers
  4. They walked out and never returned

The second event taught me that people may go to an art show or a festival but they may not be interested in buying at that point in time. The reason could be because of budget, lack of interest, lack of engagement, environmental factors or even bad timing. Regardless of the reason, as a business owner I let them leave without ever making an impression on them or without ever having the means to contact them again. I was disappointed in the second event but I learned…to me that’s as good as gold. There were five things I changed after the second event experience.

  1. I created a giveaway prize people enter it by supplying their name and email address on a raffle ticket. My giveaway prizes are always a decent size landscape or nature photograph framed and matted. Usually a 11” x 14” or a 12” x 18” photo print framed is raffled off. It’s a modest size and inexpensive to create and ship.
  2. I made myself get out from behind the table to start greeting and inviting people into the booth
  3. I created a newsletter sign-up form
  4. We got gifts and printed marketing material to hand out (besides traditional business cards). The gifts are usually small trinkets like magnetic prints of our nature and landscape photographs with a footer that contains our logo and contact info. The marketing material is a variety of our top selling landscape and nature photos printed on a post card with of course our contact info on the back side.
  5. Added 20% more inventory.

landscape and nature photography print booth of Pi Photography and Fine Art

What These Changes Did For Us

Lead Generation and Brand Building

These changes allowed us the opportunity to contact the people we engaged with at a later date. The raffle provided us an opportunity to capture a lot of leads of people who liked our work enough to divulge their personal information (name and email). Over the past three years our contact list has grown to over 1000 names of potential buyers just from the raffle and the newsletter sign-up form. Each new person gets a personalized email thanking them for taking the time to stop by our booth; it offers a coupon for their first purchase through our website and an opportunity to be added to the VIP List.   Some made purchases right away, while other come to the website after a few days. And of course there is a large portion that haven’t made a purchase but still follow our work meaning at some point they will buy. Regardless of whether a contact became a paying client right away or not, these contacts are must in order for a business to grow.

Getting out from behind the tables gave us the opportunity to put a human before the products; it also offer us the opportunity to network with other artists. Getting ourselves physically out in front of the booth allowed us to engage with the people passing by. During the third event my son came to help set up and help out. I wasn’t sure what he could do after the set up but I quickly learned something new about my son. When we presented the framed photo print raffle at the third event we attended. We had the raffle set up nicely and signs directing people to it but few participated. After several hours my son went up next to it and started inviting people to sign up for it. He adapted to their personalities and was able to overcome objections quickly with passer-byers. He had them engaged and laughing so much they detoured into the booth rather than passing by. Yeah, he is booked for all my events now ;).

As for the gifts and handouts; this is a second or third point of contact with the event goers. For the people that engaged with the raffle or us as people walked away with our contact information in their hands. Because of the emails that they will get later, these handouts and gifts will be a third attempt at building our brand with them. For the people that didn’t engage or leave their contact info, it’s a second attempt; it just leaves them in control of when the check us out again.

nature and landscape photography wall art prints on display by landscape and nature photographer Melissa Fague.

Networking Opportunities

Yes, in essence when setting up at an art show or festival you are setting up against your competition but it also opens doors for other opportunities. Our audience isn’t strictly photography fans, they like other forms of art. This allows opportunities to offer assistance with other artistic needs from your clients; I can’t tell you how many people I’ve referred work to because it’s out of my realm of work and vice versa.  This helps build trust with your clients and points them in the right direction to completely fulfill their current need, instead of trying to offer them something that only partially makes them happy.

Secondly, you never know who you are going to meet at the events or even before the event during set up. Earlier in the day, before our latest presentation at Telo Massage Studio during the Wilmington Art Loop I took all of my landscape and nature photo prints that were being displayed, tables, and props over to get set up. I was wearing grubby clothes, hair was an absolute mess, and no make-up on….yikes. Anyway, as I’m unloading the large landscape and nature fine art and canvas wall art prints from the back of my car a new Land Rover pulls up behind me. A gentleman gets out of the driver’s seat to run into the sub shop right next door to the studio to grab his meal. While I’m unloading I see a woman sitting patently waiting in the passenger’s seat for the man’s return. As I approach the back of my car for another load of prints she and I made eye contact and smiled; I continued to unload. Well when the man came out she beckoned for him to compliment me on my work. Then she quickly decided to get out of the car to speak with he and I about the photographs. It turns out, the man was her husband who is a big time executive at a bank and she is a big time executive at a national manufacturing company. She talked to me about a photography project that her company is about to embark on and she felt my work would be perfect for it. Needless to say cards and handshakes were exchanged all around….I’ll never go out again without make-up.

Sales

Art Shows and festivals build sales. Sometime the sales happen the day of the event and sometimes at a later date. If you are continuously building your brand and taking advantage of opportunities to be seen you will have sales. The first event we ever did I sold one print the day of the event, I was happy with that considering the challenges but that was it. There were no other sales generated from that event.  But because we have been adding new products slowly and lead generating tools to each event that statistic has changed dramatically over the past three years. This past event on November 4th we sold 26 landscape and nature photo prints in 4 hours and our website traffic has increased 35-40% because of the handout over the last 48 hours. During this event we had wifi access so we had the ability to add a small laptop so that people could explore our website right there with us. It also gave us the opportunity to sell prints that we didn’t have available on hand that night. The thank you emails from the raffle entries and newsletter sign-up form are being worked on now and will be sent with-in the next day or so. This will generate another surge in website traffic and increase the potential for more sales. Getting local exposure gets you sales!

PI Photography and Fine Art's display of Landscape and Nature Photographer Melissa Fague's work PI Photography and Fine Art's display of Nature and Landscape Photographer Melissa Fague's work PI Photography and Fine Art's display of landscape photography print The Cove during an art loop event

As an artist some events will be more beneficial than others. However, I don’t recommended sticking to just one type of event. Art loops and art related festival puts you as an artist in front of an audience who is interested in the world of art with other hungry artists looking to sell work. However, other types of festivals make it possible for you to reach an audience that is specific to a type of activity. For example, we attended the Wetland Festival several months ago. We were the only photographer / artist there that had a variety of landscape photographs and nature photographs created in the wetlands that the event was raising money for. This helped us reach people who fish, hunt, birdwatching and hike these areas regularly. Several prints were sold to people that didn’t have an interest in art but were interested in the photographs because of the connection they personally had with the locations or subject matter in the photographs.  My advice to you as an artist is start getting your work out there locally, don’t rely solely on internet exposure. The human connection to your work and your business is extremely beneficial to your overall growth.

Share with us your thoughts and experiences about this topic, I would really like to see how other artists have grown into businesses. Simply create a post and pingback to this post.

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About the Author and Photographer:

MeMelissa Fague is an emerging landscape and nature photographer from Bear, Delaware USA. In just a few short years her work has been published over two dozen times and she has won multiple national and international awards for her beautiful photographs of nature. Melissa is passionate about the art of photography and nature. Exploring areas and creating her style of nature photographs is her form of stress relief and art therapy, but she also loves to share her visions so that others can enjoy. All of Melissa’s landscape and nature photographs are available for purchase, visit Pi Photography and Fine Art.

Join our VIP List for exclusive offers, notification for upcoming events and more. To read Melissa’s full story on how she became a landscape and nature photographer, please visit: In the Beginning.

 

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Photography Quickies with Chase Jarvis: Unleash the Genius Within

Unleash the Genius Within ‬| Chase Jarvis RAW

Published Jul 13, 2016 by: Chase Jarvis

Landscape Photographer Chase Jarvis interviews renowned mythologist Michael Meade. They both explore the idea behind finding our own creative genius and the myth that genius is only reserved for a special few.

Photographing Fireworks this Independence Day Weekend

Firework dissplay reflecting off of the glass of a buildings windows; photograph by Landscape and Nature photographer Melissa FagueThe 4th of July weekend has arrived and its time to celebrate and watch the firework displays. That also means cool pics! Everyone can create them, all you need are fireworks, a camera, and a little bit of planning and preparation.

The Place

Find out where your local firework displays are going to happen and arrive early to scope out the area. There is going to be a lot of people, children and possibly pets moving around or seated near you; so you want to make sure that the other spectators and your gear will be safe during the event. I personally pick a location where I can create broad landscape views, close-ups (with my telephoto lens)  and offers the potential for foreground elements like spectators; so I usually go to the back of the crowd. Secondly, pick a spot upwind from the firework display launch site, once the show begins there will be a lot of smoke in the scene. If you set up downwind from the firework display you’ll be battling smoke of the scene and soot on your lens the whole time.  Fireworks 2, landscape photograph of building and firework bursts captured by landscape and nature photographer Melissa FgaueThe Gear

Capturing fireworks can be accomplished by almost every camera, the trick is to have the camera as steady as possible. Shooting fireworks is hard to do hand held, so I recommend a tripod or a solid stationary prop. I also recommend using a cable release or remote trigger, the less you touch the camera the better your photographs will be. Hand held shooting is possible but your ISO setting will need to be high as well as your shutter speed; you’ll be running the risk of noise in your image.

Image Variety

Capturing fireworks is cool but honestly, there is just so many firework bursts against a black sky that can be seen before it becomes boring in photography. So when I am out photographing fireworks displays I like to have a little variety of views with my images. Scouting locations early offers versatility to your photos for a nice photo series of the events at different perspectives.  This past year I went the Riverfront in Wilmington Delaware, it is a really tight location in the city with a large crowd and buildings. So I chose to incorporate the buildings and the people into my photographs; doing this also helps show scale, size of the firework bursts, for the viewers of the photographs.

Close-up of Firework bursts, captured by landscape and nature photographer Melissa FagueAnticipate

When you are shooting the firework display early your settings will be easy to control and will more than likely remain the same through most of the show. But be mindful of the brightness of the fireworks, the colors will burn differently, especially blue colored fireworks. White and green colored fireworks will be the brightest and require less exposure time; blues may require you to exposure a little longer than any other color because it is the darkest hue. If you look at the image above you’ll see a variety of colors; you’ll see that the blue doesn’t appear nearly as bright as all the other colors. As the mortars climb through the air you should be able to judge which color it will be in order to calculate your exposure time for the burst.

Manual Focus and Vibration Controls

Autofocus is great except when you are shooting moving subjects at night. When you are photographing moving subjects at night the autofocus tends to get confused on the focal point of the scene; this increases your risk of blurry photographs. Its recommended to turn your autofocus off and set your focus to infinity.

Vibration control is not needed if you are shooting with your camera on a tripod or steady surface. I recommend turning the setting off; if it is left on you may get a slight blur from the function’s motor in the lens.

Finally, have fun and enjoy the event for yourself.

Quick Tip Rundown For Photographing Fireworks

  • Pick a location early
  • Be Upwind or to the side of the launch site so the smoke and soot doesn’t disrupt you or your shots
  • Use a tripod or stable surface
  • Use a cable release or wireless remote to trigger the shutter.
  • Turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction (check your manual).
  • Shoot the highest quality file you can, NEF (RAW) is ideal.
  • Set the camera to a low ISO, such as 100 or 200.
  • Turn off the autofocus, manually focus your lens at infinity.
  • A good starting point for aperture is f/11.
  • Set the camera to Bulb (B), this will allow you to keep the shutter open as long as you want. Play around with the duration that shutter is open but exposing for the entire fireworks burst is usually best.
  • Have fun!

Moon over Pagoda with Fireworks by landscape and nature photographer Melissa Fague

Share with me! I would really like to see your results from your firework displays this year. To share your experiences, pingback to this article by copying and pasting this link to your post:  FIREWORKS 2016

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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About the Author and Photographer:

MeMelissa Fague is an emerging nature and landscape photographer from Bear, Delaware USA. In just a few short years her work has been published over two dozen times and she has won multiple national and international awards for her beautiful photographs. Melissa is passionate about the art of photography and nature. Exploring areas and creating photographs is her form of stress relief and art therapy, but she also loves to share her visions so that others can enjoy. All of Melissa’s nature and landscape photographs are available for purchase, visit Pi Photography and Fine Art.

Join our VIP List for exclusive offer, notification for upcoming events and more. To read Melissa’s full story on how she became a nature and landscape photographer please visit: In the Beginning.

Technology and Social Media, Is It Making Us Forget About Copyrights

Copyright SymbolIn the fast paced world of technology and sharing, are people forgetting what a copyright is and why it exists? The more our business grows and the more exposure we get online, the more we are dealing with copyright issues. We are two weeks into June and we’ve had three issues that we have had to deal with; all of the individuals were cooperative and we are thankful for that. However it’s disturbing to know that people are forgetting or disregarding the fact that another person spent time creating that work that they are sharing. Is it because of the easy access to digital versions? Have we lost the human factor on how things are created? Or is it much worse, a lack of caring? So, this article is about the Copyright Law in plain English to help refresh people’s minds or give an easy to understand definition for those that are unsure about the law.

What is a Copyright?

“Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” US Copyright

In plain English…having a copyright means that the artist of any type of creative work is protected by law in the United States against fraudulent reproduction of the work.

Works of authorship include the following categories:

  • literary works;
  • musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works. US Copyright

We all have a creative side, some people however are more in tuned to it than others; enough so to make a career out of their creativity; the operative word is career…meaning they get paid for their work. Artists take time away from their families to create; just like other people taking time away from their own families to go to work every day to collect a pay check. Being an artist (as laid back and cool as it sounds) is still a job; it’s just a job driven by passion for creativity. Just like you, artists need to eat, have bills to pay and have wants in life too. When an artist’s work is reproduced without their knowledge it is essentially taking food off of the artist’s table. It’s the equivalent to going to work every day but you’re working for that business for free.

Take for example writer Ernest Hemingway; he would spend months at a time away from his family to write his novels in solitude to entertain his readers. Even though his novels are essentially words on paper (the same words used by you every day) he is known for the way he strung the words together to create a captivating story. Song writers and musicians spends hours compiling musical notes and words together that flow beautifully then more time practicing it. Photographers spend hours, months and even years perfecting their eye and enhancing their technical skills…the same for painters, pencil artist and so on.

Do you think any of them would like to see someone else getting credit or making money off of their hard work without getting compensated for it? Or lets put it this way, would you like to hear of a coworker getting credit for a project you preformed at work?

Sharing Copyrighted Work   

The internet is buzzing with creative work. Photographers are posting hundreds, maybe even thousands of photographs a day online. Writers are sharing snippets of novels or poetry to peak your interest in the full book or story. Musicians and producers are uploading audio and video files. Artists do this because they love what they do and they want to share their creations with the world, with you their audience. Having others appreciate our work and share it with their friends and family is a great honor and it helps our audience grow. It lets us know that the time away from our families is enriching someone life. However, it’s recommended that if you’re sharing work created by another person to give credit to the artist and if possible use a link to where you saw the piece. With all of the social media share buttons now days it’s really simple to add the links of your favorite pieces of artwork to your social media feeds.

Manipulation of a Copyrighted Piece Artwork

In this digital era it’s easy to save or download versions of a photograph or piece of artwork; even audio and video footage. On our own profile pages and blog we share small  versions of our nature and landscape photographs daily for people to enjoy. We don’t add watermarks because it is a distraction to the subject in the photograph. I can’t speak for all artists but we are honored that another creative person sees something more with our work and wants to expand on it. However, using the work of another individual without their consent or giving an acknowledgement to the original artist is copyright infringement…especially if you’re adding your own copyright to the new creation. If there is any part of the newly created artwork, photograph, audio or film footage the original artist must be accredited; compensated if the newly created work is being sold. We all remember the Marvin Gaye estate Vs Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copyright law suit. Ultimately, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were found guilty of Copyright Infringement; they had to pay the Marvin Gaye estate 7.3 million dollars.

Copyright laws, when read can make your eyes cross and bore the tears out of you but they are in place to protect the artists. If you are unsure of the laws simply contact the artist directly and ask for permission; I’m sure most would be honored to known that they inspired another person into sharing or creating something new…at the very least give the artist a credit in the caption.

Share with me your thoughts and experiences about this topic, I would really like to know how others deal with copyright issues.

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About the Author and Photographer:

MeMelissa Fague is an emerging nature and landscape photographer from Bear, Delaware USA. In just a few short years her work has been published over two dozen times and she has won multiple national and international awards for her beautiful photographs. Her most recent accomplishment is her first published photograph in an international publication with a worldwide distribution, “Landscape Photography Magazine”. Melissa is passionate about the art of photography and nature. Exploring areas and creating photographs is her form of stress relief and art therapy, but she also loves to share her visions so that others can enjoy. All of Melissa’s nature and landscape photographs are available for purchase, visit Pi Photography and Fine Art.

Join our VIP List for exclusive offer, notification for upcoming events and more. To read Melissa’s full story on how she became a nature and landscape photographer please visit: In the Beginning.