Eventually every professional photographer considers selling his or her work as fine art. I don’t blame them. I have seen prints in my customer’s studios that I would gladly display in the lab, or even in my home. And today the Internet makes it easy to sell fine art online.
However, selling online is the last step in the process. Think of any famous artist: they developed a unique style, created an exciting and desirable “body of work” (an art term), and presented it to influential buyers. The same rules apply to fine art prints.
Even Ansel Adams started by first developing his style over several years, only then displaying and later selling prints from a friend’s studio.
To build your body of work, start by making a commitment to yourself to become a Master Photographer. Becoming a Master is not about the title or the ribbons — it is about honing your craft as an artist. The skills you learn will both improve your fine art prints, and make your photography more valuable to your business.
Once you have a body of work, you need to show it to buyers. Nancy Markoe, faculty lecturer at the Art Business Institute, says the the only proven way is to exhibit at retail art shows and galleries. Although difficult and time-consuming, talking directly to buyers will teach you which colors and themes are sellable, and how much people will pay for your prints.
While the Internet has made it easy to put your photography in front of thousands of customers, the same old rules still apply: it takes years of work and effort to become a successful (and profitable) artist.