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Author Topic: Getting you stuff in Galleries  (Read 10591 times)
boblybill
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« on: March 26, 2009, 09:07:51 AM »
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I've come across a paradox of some sorts when it comes to galleries. I've gone to quite a few galleries were I used to live to see if they would mind showing my stuff to get my name out there. Before I was able to even show them some of my shots I was turned down. They would all say that they only show stuff from people that have a name for themselves already. So how do get a name for yourself in the landscape industry? Majik Imaje has suggested buying a postcard stand  and printing 5x7's and selling them in gas stations and places that would allow me to put my pictures up (and I'll probably do that), but what if I wanted to get some bigger prints out there to be sold? How many of you here have sold medium to large prints of you stuff? And how did you go about doing that?
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whawn
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 10:06:42 AM »
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Quote from: boblybill
How many of you here have sold medium to large prints of you stuff? And how did you go about doing that?
The book, Art Marketing 101, is a good place to start to get answers to your questions.  It's not perfect, but what is?  Here's a page at Amazon with several other books on the topic.

Also, several folks have advice and other help on the web.
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 12:59:51 PM »
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Quote from: boblybill
I've come across a paradox of some sorts when it comes to galleries. I've gone to quite a few galleries were I used to live to see if they would mind showing my stuff to get my name out there. Before I was able to even show them some of my shots I was turned down. They would all say that they only show stuff from people that have a name for themselves already. So how do get a name for yourself in the landscape industry? Majik Imaje has suggested buying a postcard stand  and printing 5x7's and selling them in gas stations and places that would allow me to put my pictures up (and I'll probably do that), but what if I wanted to get some bigger prints out there to be sold? How many of you here have sold medium to large prints of you stuff? And how did you go about doing that?


Chris,

Selling large prints is what I primarily do in the 24x30 inch print size but I also print and sell up to 30x40's I'm represented in Telluride Gallery but most of my work is sold out of a restaurant in Cortez, Colorado. Some will tell you that restaurants don't do well but 24x30's and especially 32x40's presented well are eye grabbers anywhere. And they have a great wall space, used brick for the most part as a backdrop. I am also exclusive so I don't have competition. I have about 25 pieces there ranging in size from 16x20 and up.

First of all you need a great product; great print, matted nicely, single or double matte, nice frame, I use Larson-Juhl frames.

I cut and build my own frames, glass and mattes to keep cost down. Read retail sales license.

Once you get a product you need persistence. I looked for places to hang near where I could service the work. I also looked into opening my own gallery but it is very expensive to maintain and try to find time to shoot.

You need a variety of pieces because you just don't know what catches a buyer's eye. It may be a woman who likes a lavender sunset or a man who likes something strong.

You need to be out shooting a lot to get material.

Cheers,
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jasonrandolph
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 01:58:36 PM »
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You need to get your images in contests.  Look for galleries that are sponsoring upcoming juried exhibitions.  At least you'll get your prints on the wall that way.  Also, network with people you know.  Make prints and show them around.  So obviously, you need to have archival-quality equipment available.  Once you have some good prints, show them to everyone.  

Of course, you can also use the web for marketing your work.  The latest issue of PDN has a great article on web marketing.

In my case, I ran into a cash cow of sorts.  My wife's cousin is a doctor who runs a couple clinics.  Once she saw my work, she offered to display my work prominently in her clinics.  Her patients are always looking to acquire new artwork, so I don't have to even work for the exposure.  I just let the prints market themselves and build a client list.  None of this would have opened up to me if I didn't show my prints to family.  The point is, the more eyes that see your work, the more likely someone will like it enough to buy it.
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 01:59:40 PM »
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Chris, I'm in several galleries but there is no magic formula for getting in. I started in a co-op, applied and was juried in. From there I was able to start placing my images in other galleries. Firstly, you need a portfolio of 8 x 10's in either a clear plastic sleeve in a notebook or loose in a box to take around. Anyone interested will ask to see a framed print so you need to have one with you. I leave business cards which have one of my images imprinted everywhere. You need a website of some sort. It may not generate any sales, but is helpful for potential galleries to see what else you've got. Also while my preference is to sell large prints, some galleries will only take small images.
If you are going to go this route your images need to be unique to stand out. Not similar to anything else out there in your area. Images from your own locale sell in your own locale. Don't expect to sell European landscapes in Oklahoma, IOW. If you are in a tourist area, cater to them.
The previous advice is right on target - you cannot have enough good images so shoot, shoot, shoot. And good luck. This economy is not kind to photographers!
IMO, entering contests is a waste of time. It's a crap shoot because you never know what the judges are looking for. But your experience may vary.

www.johnbrewton.zenfolio.com
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 02:02:12 PM by JohnBrew » Logged

boblybill
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 03:16:55 PM »
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THANK YOU GUYS!!! That's a lot to take in, but I can tell that I'll love to put all of this into practice in the next couple of years. If I can make an extra $300 dollars a month someday would be great.
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luong
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 06:18:12 PM »
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Quote from: boblybill
They would all say that they only show stuff from people that have a name for themselves already. So how do get a name for yourself in the landscape industry? Majik Imaje has suggested buying a postcard stand  and printing 5x7's and selling them in gas stations and places that would allow me to put my pictures up (and I'll probably do that), but what if I wanted to get some bigger prints out there to be sold? How many of you here have sold medium to large prints of you stuff? And how did you go about doing that?

From a gallery point of view, it makes perfect sense. It is quite costly to operate a gallery, especially one in a prestigious location. So the gallery owner doesn't want to take the risk to show someone without a track record, especially since there are so many more photographers than galleries.

I don't know if there is such a thing as a "landscape industry", but in general, you build your name by first showing at local venues, juried shows, garnering reviews, press, and contact, and leveraging them to move up the food chain. I'll give you one example of such opportunity. Each year Stanford University's continued studies program has a class taught by an established photographer and a gallery owner. As a culmination to the class, student's photographs are exhibited in the gallery in a group show that lasts a month. Portfolio reviews are often where previously unseen work gets exposed to people that matter. Many prominent careers were launched there. However, they often cater to "art photography", which does not always include landscapes. To get experience selling and feedback, art fairs, where you pay a small fee and set up a booth on the street or in the park would be the place to start if you are doing landscapes.

Personally, I sell hundreds of prints, some of them large per year from my website, but if you check the website, you'll understand the magnitude of the work put into it. In other words, don't expect to derive income this way in the short term.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 06:29:04 PM by luong » Logged

JDClements
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 06:27:32 PM »
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Quote from: luong
Personally, I sell hundreds of prints, some of them large from my website
How do you ship your prints, e.g. packaging?
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luong
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 06:32:16 PM »
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Quote from: JDClements
How do you ship your prints, e.g. packaging?

Small prints (up to 16x24), are shipped flat between several layers of cardboard. Larger prints are rolled tight outside a tube that is placed in a box. Labs such as West Coast Imaging or Calypso do that daily.
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boblybill
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2009, 01:28:53 PM »
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Quote from: luong
From a gallery point of view, it makes perfect sense. It is quite costly to operate a gallery, especially one in a prestigious location. So the gallery owner doesn't want to take the risk to show someone without a track record, especially since there are so many more photographers than galleries.

I don't know if there is such a thing as a "landscape industry", but in general, you build your name by first showing at local venues, juried shows, garnering reviews, press, and contact, and leveraging them to move up the food chain. I'll give you one example of such opportunity. Each year Stanford University's continued studies program has a class taught by an established photographer and a gallery owner. As a culmination to the class, student's photographs are exhibited in the gallery in a group show that lasts a month. Portfolio reviews are often where previously unseen work gets exposed to people that matter. Many prominent careers were launched there. However, they often cater to "art photography", which does not always include landscapes. To get experience selling and feedback, art fairs, where you pay a small fee and set up a booth on the street or in the park would be the place to start if you are doing landscapes.

Personally, I sell hundreds of prints, some of them large per year from my website, but if you check the website, you'll understand the magnitude of the work put into it. In other words, don't expect to derive income this way in the short term.

You are right. What I might interpret as snobbery is probably more or less just the fact that they can't let everybody off the street into the galley.

I don't expect to make a lot from this for a while but I would like to start getting my name out there. I'm 26 and have been pushed by a lot of family and friends to up the anty, if you will, going from spending thousands of dollars in camera gear a year to spending a lot less due to getting a little income to offset my spending. It would be great if someday my pictures would support me soley, but I don't expect that anyday soon. Thanks for the advice!
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dalethorn
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2009, 03:59:52 PM »
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Quote from: boblybill
THANK YOU GUYS!!! That's a lot to take in, but I can tell that I'll love to put all of this into practice in the next couple of years. If I can make an extra $300 dollars a month someday would be great.

I know a couple of people in Ohio who arrange to have a selection of their matted and framed prints displayed in various businesses, public libraries, etc. in the area, and they advertise those showings for free on Ohio.com, which I check every week for local events when I'm in the area. Look for places where upscale buyers hang out and do their business.
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enlightphoto
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 06:51:01 PM »
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You first need to decide what market you want to be selling your photography to, the high-end, the craigslist, or somewhere in between. Like Tuan, I've also sold hundreds of prints off my web site, and what he said is totally correct. Getting to a point where you can be making regular print sales takes years of getting yourself established. There are no short cuts. If you opt for the high-end, you will experience the 'art-snobbery', but that is OK, there have been a few landscape photographers that have cracked that market and make big dollars. But that means that EVERYTHING you promote or put forth into the world about you has to be done in the most professional manner possible. The people at the high end of the art world won't stand for a second anyone that isn't 150% professional about their own work.

Now, I'm glad your serious and enthusiastic. My frist suggestion; ignore what your friends snd family say about your work. Get involved with as many photo organizations as you can, read, research, and do some honest self assesments. If you find you come up short on the last point, don't waste money investing in new equipment, but rather look for educational opportunities, like photo workshops, or perhaps even look for an internship or mentoring program, even volunteer to work at a local gallery.

People will take you much more seriously higher up the ladder when you're presenting yourself and your business on par with how they present themselves and their business.

You can start (if you like) by checking out a collection of Professional Business Resources that I've put together.

One final note, in a down economy, nothing gets the budget ax quicker than an "art" budget. Yes, that means things will be extremely tough and difficult in the short term. But to your benefit, this economy will allow you time to refine and polish your product and marketing so that you can be well position to take advantage when the market starts shifting back again, and people start buying more art.


I hope this helps, & best of luck with your endeavors.
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Gary Crabbe
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Longbeach
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2009, 11:06:39 PM »
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Not the gallery route, but I've been selling my photos at a local year-round farmer's market for the past two years. I made $1,000/day on two separate occasions but some days I'm lucky to sell a few notecards. Now I'm thinking of contacting dentists and lawyer's offices, as I've noticed I've sold a fair bit to these occupations and they might enjoy hanging a piece or two in their waiting room for a few months, free of charge, in exchange for passing on my contact info should someone be interested.
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feppe
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2009, 02:46:28 AM »
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There seems to be the implicit assumption that you have to pick your market before you start: bulk sales of postcards and lithos vs high-end limited edition fine art prints. Is this a hard and fast rule?

What I'm asking is, is there movement between these two extremes? I know some of the most famous and respected artists in history have started out selling their work on streets to tourists. While some already established artists have started selling lithos to reach a wider audience.

It makes perfect financial sense: while expensive limited edition prints have wider margins than lithos, selling 10 prints at 1000 EUR margins yields the same profit as 1000 posters at 10 EUR margins a pop. For those who are able to reach both ends of the market, they can realize almost perfect price discrimination, to use economic terms. In other words, they are able to sell to the high-end collector market and college students at different prices, thus getting much higher margins across the board.

I can imagine "whoring" yourself (well, your art) out to the lowest bidder might make it harder to get to galleries. But as has been said, galleries want names which are recognized - so if you already have an established clientele, perhaps taking your art upscale is not so far-fetched, after all?

Point being, perhaps it's not so important to worry about which end of the market you reach for while starting out, rather than getting your art to a level where someone wants to spend money on it. And if you play your cards right and can market yourself efficiently, you might be able to reach a wider audience than you initially planned to.
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2009, 06:04:12 PM »
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I was in a camera club before I started to sell photos. I got a lot of leads there about good venues to sell my photos.
How about an art association? Do you have any in your state? I belong to the New Hampshire Artists' association. Through them I've displayed my work in the state's most prestigious art museum. The art association also has galleries and shows of their own.
Most of my sales come from art shows, some are outdoors and that can be a challenge.
Whenever you show your stuff send out press releases to local papers. I've had three articles written about me in the last two years because of the press releases. Here is a link to one,
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.d...89903/-1/news20

Dan
http://www.danbrownphotography.com
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bill proud
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2009, 02:32:03 PM »
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[quote name='feppe' date='Apr 5 2009, 01:46 AM' post='273970']
There seems to be the implicit assumption that you have to pick your market before you start: bulk sales of postcards and lithos vs high-end limited edition fine art prints. Is this a hard and fast rule?

What I'm asking is, is there movement between these two extremes? I know some of the most famous and respected artists in history have started out selling their work on streets to tourists. While some already established artists have started selling lithos to reach a wider audience.


Don't know if it is a rule, but I personally decided that selling large prints was the way to go for me before I went down the road of art sales. I reasoned that there was much more profit made in selling one big print at $650.00, (roughly $450.00 profit after materials and not counting labor to assemble) than selling postcards at a buck each, or whatever price.

This assumption works well when one can sell a substantial volume of $650.00 prints but not so well in a down economy, such as we currently experience. My first quarter has been dismal, and I can only exist since I don't have the overhead of a storefront to maintain. They just hang there until they sell with no new material being added. And of course I am at the end of the universe so have a very small market; humans, sub-humans, Klingons and Zorgs.

best,




   
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2009, 04:57:37 PM »
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Just my two cents, from the other side, in a way. Since we have lots of unused space at the office, we run an art gallery (http://www.datarescue.com/gallery/ambiance/) on the lower floor, mostly temporary exhibits when I am in the mood. What I have learned... Photography is very, very tough. Unless you are very well known, people will buy your pictures either because they have a special interest in what you shot, because they love their aesthetic qualities (but you have a lot of competition from other sources) or, because they want to help you.   The average price for a nicely framed print is around $200-$250 USD, or less if the gallerist hasn't done its job. The average price of art glassware is $500-$600. The average price for a 60x90 painting is around $3000-$4000. The average price for a decent bronze is $5000-$6000. That's for artists I'd describe as well established, but with not a single chance of being remembered 50 years from now.  These average prices tell you a lot about the economics of the game because, the wealthy visitors who visit the galleries aren't going to buy twenty prints for the single reason that they cost 20 times less than a sculpture. They'll get - at most - a couple of pieces of what interest them. About the only positive factor for the photographer is the fact that the guy who just spent $10K on a sculpture might pick a couple of prints as dessert... while the opposite almost never happens ;-)   From the gallery owner point of view, selling twenty prints in a month doesn't cover the expenses, selling a couple of large sculptures, four medium ones and five paintings make a decent monthly turnover.  You'll tell me I am talking about a somewhat generic art gallery, one that doesn't specialize in photography. True, but that type of gallery can survive for long period of times, whereas pure photographic galleries can't generally stand on their own and often have to rely on corporate or governmental sponsorship. You might want to read Michael's piece on setting up/running a photographic art gallery (or was it only in the LLVJ?) for another angle on the issue.

Back to my two cents, tidbits...

- $300 per month? Come on! How can you hope to interest any third party if your stated goal is $300 per month? Aim higher, much higher. Don't get me wrong: it's perfectly OK to be happy with $300, but then you are totally on your own because you aren't going to get anyone on your boat. In fact, if you can't aim higher, at first, having a $0 goal might be a better strategy (more about this later).
- network, network, socialize: during our last exhibition, a very talented, but commercially unsuccessful, photographer -he as published four books, all of them sponsored by some EU or provincial fund- came to the vernissage and chatted with me. We went up to my office where he was clever enough to flatter my ego with some nice, but not overly so, comments about my own pictures (cough, cough, cough, I am not even proud of them). The result? I offered him the free use of our rooms for special events between exhibits and introduced him to a gallerist who was planning an exhibition of carnival masks and was looking for some spice (he'll display pictures of masks). Again, don't go begging around for space, time: just be yourself and talk about your work to everyone, but don't be obnoxious. If you're a genuinely nice guy, it will pay off.  And don't despair if you are a snobbish idiot, I am sure they have an audience as well ;-)
- persistence: that's especially important for painters, a bit less for sculptors if they work noble stuff such as marble or bronze and that also plays a role for photographers. People will definitely buy stuff from people they feel  will still be around after a few years and more. Why is that so? The art buyers are just standard people and they want two things: 1) money 2) to be right, clever, etc... If a budding thirty something artist survives, as an artist, for half a century, you can be sure his works will see their market value increase. The heartless investor will be happy. He who focuses on ROI wants you to survive and will only be convinced you have a chance if you have been around for a while already. (Note: dying young in spectacular fashion is also an option, but make sure you have a deserving family before walking that path). But the same is valid for the disinterested noble, art buyers. They don't want money. They want to be the among the first to recognize your talent. You wouldn't be helping them - in fact, you would be hurting them, if you folded right after they bought stuff from you. That's why they will also wait a while before showing their support.
- piggyback: jump on every opportunity to show and promote your work. Furniture shops (I have bought art stuff there), deco stores, restaurants, web sites, painting/sculpture exhibitions. Do it for free (the $0 goal strategy I talked about above) - it will pay back after a while if you have talent.  Don't spam though. It isn't well received...
- "international recognition": almost always pays. Say you are a garden dwarfs photographer. Find out about events dedicated to garden dwarfs anywhere in the world (although Paris, London, New York still have the edge... but they are big and have suburbs.). Send free prints for exhibition at the event. In return, ask someone to send you pictures of your work being exhibited. You are now an "internationally respected" photographer. Add the line to your resume. No one will really bother to check the _significance_ of your achievement: they have lives too.
- training: you certainly know more about photography than your lawyer, doctor, local rotary or lions' club president. Train them. For free at first, or for "exhibition rights" on their premises. Now, you aren't only internationally recognized (see above), but you have suddenly become an internationally recognized educator ;-)
- the net: if you have the technical skills, a virtually free gallery with an unlimited audience. If you don't have the skills, still a relatively cheap option compared to a brick and mortar gallery. Best choice at this point if you can only do one thing imho.

and, above all,

- aim for perfection: almost every artist, photographer, painter, sculptor... that I have met aimed for technical perfection in the framework of his vision . It's a very long topic, and I have been outrageously long already.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 05:26:17 PM by PierreVandevenne » Logged
luong
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2009, 02:13:06 PM »
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Quote from: enlightphoto
If you opt for the high-end, you will experience the 'art-snobbery', but that is OK, there have been a few landscape photographers that have cracked that market and make big dollars.

Do you mean the New-York/LA contemporary art world ? I think it is a tough nut to crack for any nature landscape photographer. I can think only of a few names (Jem Southam, Olaf Otto Becker). Who else ?

There has been two suggestions that I'd like to caution against: (a) opening your own gallery ( selling mass-market products (such as notecards). Both are extremely tough businesses, and probably not a good idea for someone getting started unless you already have a foothold there (like owning a retail space).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2009, 02:13:25 PM by luong » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2009, 07:49:50 PM »
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Quote from: Longbeach
Not the gallery route, but I've been selling my photos at a local year-round farmer's market for the past two years. I made $1,000/day on two separate occasions but some days I'm lucky to sell a few notecards. Now I'm thinking of contacting dentists and lawyer's offices, as I've noticed I've sold a fair bit to these occupations and they might enjoy hanging a piece or two in their waiting room for a few months, free of charge, in exchange for passing on my contact info should someone be interested.

I have had my photos in several doctor's offices and what I found out was they just wanted good art for free to cover their unadorned walls. In my case, it was a total waste of time. I've had better luck with interior decorators, however.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2009, 01:07:35 PM »
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Quote from: JohnBrew
I have had my photos in several doctor's offices and what I found out was they just wanted good art for free to cover their unadorned walls. In my case, it was a total waste of time. I've had better luck with interior decorators, however.

Banks, investment offices, upscale recreation area offices and bars - places where you're going to be seen by people who'd be interested.
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