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January 25th, 2011

Marketing for Fine Art Photographers

Posted by Matt Bailey

An interview with Mary Virginia Swanson, creative consultant on making and marketing art. Written for our friends at APA National.

MB:  First of all, thank you for taking the time to add your insight and expertise on this subject for the rest of us to benefit from. As we’ve discussed in the past, I started out as a fine art photographer in the late eighties, well before the internet gave artists access to a global marketplace.  I’ve seen first hand how commercial photographers have gone from shipping physical portfolios from agency to agency as their primary form of promotion to circulating links to a wide distribution list with a well designed email campaign.  How have you seen the world of promotion and commerce change for the fine art photographer over the last 10-15 years?

MVS:  Today, introducing your work to new audiences or keeping in touch with those whom you’ve met should be consistent in brand identity and intention whether it is in print or via email.  Depending on the market segment you are targeting, using social media such as Facebook and Twitter may be appropriate.  Regardless, your website should be the anchor of your marketing, featuring a tight edit of images, and a clear message, with simple navigation.

Portfolio review events have evolved in recent years to become an important  forum for artists ranging from FotoFest’s “Meeting Place”, a component of its biennial festivals (est. 1986 in Houston, Texas), to nearly 20 events per year available to photographers in the US alone.  Some are juried, such as Review Santa Fe, others are regional in focus, and still others offer meetings with a range of international curators, gallery directors, photo editors, publishers and more.  Some events now offer opportunities to meet with industry professionals in one market segment, others, with a broad cross-section.  I encourage anyone considering attending a portfolio review event to weigh the price, the value of potential contacts and the opportunity they will or will not have to meet with reviewers who are a priority to them at this time in their career path.   These events offer an opportunity to gather together with their peers and to begin professional relationships; whether participants work to grow the relationships they begin at review events is up to them.

Posted in Marketing / Matt Bailey / Q and A

By Jamie Rose, Director of Momenta Workshops

Trust me when I say this: I know how busy you are!  There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the week between client relations, editing, post production, invoicing and photographing. However, even the busiest photographers will agree, you still need to make time for professional development. The easiest and most fun way to accomplish this is to get involved with your professional community.

Be a Joiner

Joining a photographic organization can provide you with many professional resources you don’t get by working in isolation. You will have access to other photographers, editors and multimedia producers in your area. You can find mentors, editors, assistants and even job opportunities. Many professional groups have a vast array of educational and learning opportunities normally free or discounted for members. As a former board member of the WHNPA: White House News Photographers Association and the current President of WPOW: Women Photojournalists of Washington, joining a professional organization is a great way to develop your network, expand your leadership skills and meet other passionate photographers.

Think Big!

You can start by getting involved in large international organizations like NPPAAPAASMPASPP and PPA which provide regional groups, seminars, workshops and learning experiences for photographers from all parts of the country and the world. These groups are great for finding resources for projects you are working on, getting discounts on gear and insurance or even having access to job listings.

Think Globally, Act Locally

Local chapters of these organizations are also a great way to increase your business presence in your hometown. For example, ASPP DC-South is very active in Washington, DC and offers seminars, lectures and membership slideshow events. City- or region-based organizations in your region are another great asset. In many cases, the dues are smaller and the networks are easier to navigate for new photographers. WHNPA , for example, is open to regionally based photographers in Washington but offer wonderful networking opportunities, members-only contests and grants, and local event-based support like Inauguration resources.


Consider starting your own group or organization. You can create a LinkedIn or Facebook group, like the Maryland Photographer Ladies. Help it grow by offering opportunities to group members. WPOW started as a small group of local female photojournalists who wanted to gather quarterly to share their work, encourage young photojournalists and learn from each other’s experience. Today, the organization has grown into a nonprofit with over 200 members and offers exhibits, mentorship, workshops and educational opportunities for its members.

Take the Lead

After you’ve been a member for a while, consider joining a committee. If you are really ambitious, take the plunge by running for an officer position or heading a committee. You will expand your leadership skills and be seen as a leader by your peers. No matter whether you choose a large or small organization or to create your own, you won’t regret the free time spent on this part of your career. Once you start getting involved, you’ll be amazed at the great experiences, great friends and great connections you will make!

For more suggestions or questions about starting your own organization, please feel free to contact Jamie Rose directly at

Photo courtesy Allison Shelley and WPOW. At a WPOW (Women Photojournalists of Washington) quarterly meeting. Left to right: Karen Kasmauski, Juana Arias, Mary Calvert, Annie Griffiths-Best, Aude Guericci and Barbara L. Salisbury discuss how to balance work and family successfully.

November 9th, 2010

What is Branding?

Posted by Michelle Loretta

Many people think that branding is a logo, a website, and some stationery.  In actuality, branding is the feeling that people have when they come into contact with your business.  It is a combination of your company’s mission statement, core values, principles, philosophies, and reputation.  Your branding identity – the logo, website, etc. – is the imagery that represents your brand.  Branding identity can have a very powerful impact on the emotion of your customers and potential customers.

First Things First

When we are defining our company’s branding identity, we often create a design based on our preferences.  We like red and such our identity becomes a red logo.  Or, the trend color is turquoise and the website becomes turquoise.  The problem with creating branding identity based on these preferences is that it is built on the surface of a business.  This type of identity doesn’t represent what runs deep in our business.

Building Your Brand

Want to build a strong brand that best represents your business?  Sit down and define the following:

  • What is your mission statement?
  • Who are you?  What is your business about?
  • What are you values and your company’s values?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What is your specialty?

From here, work to define the identity that will draw people to your company.  Powerful identity will work to link the customer’s eye with your business inside and out.

Go Beyond Branding Identity

Branding is so much more than your logo, website, and stationery.  It is in the way you answer the phone, the way you dress for a meeting, the way you present your porfolio.  Branding that is carried through all aspects of your business will create a consistent experience for your customer.  It is this consistent experience that makes your brand strong.  These factors are what makes a brand become instantly recognizable and highly valuable.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on mission statements, values, and branding.

September 16th, 2010

Selling Relationships

Posted by Michelle Loretta

It’s hard to pass up on buying new gear, new equipment.  There is always something cool and cutting edge out there.  And, we feel compelled to keep up with our competition.  We hope this will improve our work, give us something unique to offer the client.  So, we purchase and run with it…. Only for a few months… Until the next big thing.

Guess what?

The client could care less.  Sure – they want quality and they want delivery.  But ultimately, there is only ONE thing the client cares about: YOU!

The client wants to know that you are listening and want to meet his or her needs.

The client wants a RELATIONSHIP.

We all want this.  We all want to know that whomever we hire for whatever we need is listening to what we say.  We take our car to the mechanic.  Do we care what tool he is using to fix the thinga-majigger?  Nope.  All we care about is that he is listening to our needs.  We care that he is trustworthy and dependable and is quoting us a fair price for the work done.  We want to know that he is looking out for our best interest.  I had a mechanic like this when I lived in LA.  I still dream of driving my broken down car 3000 miles cross-country just to have John do the repairs.  Why?  Because I know he listened to me.  And, I trusted him.  And, I liked the guy.  I wanted (and still want) to do business with John.

When you stop to think about this, the client’s needs are quite simple.  The client wants a relationship with YOU.  Sure, your work will impress him.  You bet that she’ll want to know you can deliver.  But ultimately this all boils down to WHO YOU ARE.  Are you listening to him?  Are you helping them?  Are you kind?  Are you trustworthy?  Are you fun?

We are in the business of selling relationship, nothing more.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on sales to the wedding and event industries.


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