Increase Your Exposure: Promoting Your Art Business Through Photos

art business photography
Making these promotional postcards from
a photo of artwork took some effort, but it was worth it.

cate pratoA couple of weeks ago my husband and I attended an art show opening featuring two of his graphite on paper art works.

For Nick, this meant framing the works and delivering them to the venue a week prior, then showering, shaving, dressing and getting to the opening on time.

For me, his unofficial agent/publicist, the event sparked a series of promotional tasks: ordering business cards online, having postcards printed locally, uploading digital artwork images and buying info to Etsy, and sending evites through social media and email.

In the end I got it all done. But the experience reminded me once again how important photography is to all aspects of one's art business. And how time-consuming it can be.

In this age of technology and social media, there are endless ways to display and promote your visual art, from avatars to websites to printed hand-outs. But while it's easier than ever to get the word (or the picture) out about your artwork, it's also more challenging because so many other people are using the same resourcesand may be using them better.

If you're selling your work or shopping it to galleries or publications, one shot of your product or artwork simply won't suffice. You want to show details, scale, dimension (if applicable), and how it can be used (if it's wearable, a home décor item, or something practical like a mug or stationery).

photographing your artwork
Photographing this embroidery piece
in a setting shows potential buyers
the scale, dimension, and
appropriate setting for the piece.
By Helen Dickson in The Crafter's
Guide to Taking Great Photos

For some people, photographing their artwork comes naturally. They "get" the art, technology, and even the merchandising techniques. Others simply don't have a clue, and are intimidated by the whole process. Then there are people like me who pretty much get it, but don't have a lot of time or find it a chore.

For motivating yourself to start or keep going with product photography, I found these tips from The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos: The Best Techniques for Showcasing Your Handmade Creations, by Heidi Adnum, to be helpful.

Finding Motivation

  • Practice is essential, regardless of your experience level, and it is normal to have bad days and make mistakes. Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help or take a course. Many tutorials and workshops are offered online, at your local adult community education center, and at museums and art centers.
  • You may outgrow your camera, as your understanding of light and photography develops. This is normal and a sure sign that your photographic skills are better than ever. Upgrading doesn't have to mean expensive equipment, as this doesn't automatically make anyone a good photographer. If you're not ready to upgrade, commit to making the most of the equipment and surroundings you have.
  • To make shoots more enjoyable, listen to your favorite music and keep up your energy levels with plenty of delicious snacks and water (kept well away from your artwork, of course). Enlist help from a friend, even if it's just to chat with you during the shoot.
  • Keep thinking about what photographs you like and continue to practice, especially with the subjects you love-this is the way to develop your own style.
  • If you're feeling stuck, take time to recharge. Go to the places that inspire and relax you. This will help you come up with ideas for photographs or generate energy and motivation for your next shoot.
  • Whatever you do, don't give up.

At the end of the day, the best motivation for taking the time to learn the basics of product photography and its applications is that it can get you and your art better known and into the hands of people who love it.

P.S. How do you gear up for a photo shoot? Do you have any tricks for making your artwork pop through photography? Share in the comments section below.


Art Business, Blog


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