Greeting Cards – I just moved into a planned community and at the activity center there were two turnstiles of handmade, photo greeting cards from a couple of the community residents. Beautiful images from the area – lakes, loons, moose, barns etc. But I nearly choked when I saw the prices – $2.50 a card!
Why so cheap? With a typical Chinese-made greeting card from Hallmark selling in the $5 – $7 range why would someone offer their unique, artist handmade cards for so little? It boggles the mind and makes one understand the concept of the starving artist. Surely at the low volume of selling to random condo renters at the activity center, these people can’t be making any money on these greeting cards.
I regularly sell greeting cards on Pixels and Fine Art America with $3 artist profit built in for me the creator. The prices and profit margin drop significantly if you buy a box of 10 or 25 to encourage a larger overall sale. But they don’t approach $2.50 retail price unless you are going to buy several cards.
Artists have to consider how many of a certain item they are going to sell when they price them. Sitting at the kitchen counter making up hundreds of cards and thinking about how much you will make when they sell is one thing but if they take five or ten years to sell through the batch, then what? How long are you going to wait before you make back your time, materials and squeak out a decent profit?
Certainly consider pricing and your competition which is a mass produced card from the supermarket or Hallmark which can be a few dollars at the low end but up to $10 on the high end. And you are selling in reality small versions of your artwork. Hard to sell a nice big print for hundreds of dollars when you are basically giving away the small sizes. And yes, people do frame greeting cards so price accordingly, they are art, not mass produced throwaways.
See all of my images available as fine art prints on paper, canvas, metal and more as well as products such as towels, phone cases, totes, pillows and yes, greeting cards here –http://www.edwardfielding.com
Article on the greeting card market from The Atlantic:
Art Sales – Selling art is a lot like going fishing. You never know what sale might come along but there certainly are ways to increase your success rate. Think about two different Fishermen – Bob and Pablo.
Fisherman Bob sits on the dock near his house all day using the same bait. He picked the location because he didn’t want to invest in a boat and it’s easy. He catches nothing but minnows but at least he got out of the house for the day.
Meanwhile, Fisherman Pablo buys a boat and heads out to the deep end of the lake where the big fish live, he tries various lures until he finds what works, pulls in a boat load of lunkers and invites the neighborhood over for a fish fry.
Selling art is no different. It takes more effort, more investment and more experimentation to figure out what will work best for your art business.
You can sit around for years using the easiest or first sales channel you found waiting for sales to magically appear, perhaps using a bait-less hook or you can study the competitive landscape and various sales channels and figure out which will work best for your art and your promotional efforts.
Whatever sales channel you choose (or multiple), it still requires work to get noticed. You need the right bait – great artwork and you need to drop your line where the fish live. You have to offer different bait or lures for Bass then you would for Trout. You have to make your bait more attractive than the natural alternatives and often you have to make full fish hungry with offers they can’t refuse. You also have to make it easy for the fish or art customer to eat or buy your work. Let’s face it, if you are a fish or a person buying art we all like convenience.
I recently sold a large canvas print of “Champagne Bottle Still Life” which is a black and white fine art photograph of an empty champagne bottle, cork and glasses but there is a whole lot more to this image than these elements. The arrangement, lighting and focal point create the story.
Champagne Bottle Still Life was created early in my re-booted career as a fine art photographer. I uploaded this image to my portfolio back in February 15th, 2013. At the time I was still experimenting with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses, trying to sell enough prints to justify a leap to full frame Canon cameras.
I was studying composition and learning the tricks used by painters to create dynamic composition as well as trying to create stories within the single frame.
If you study the photograph you can see all sorts of composition tricks based on the arrangement of the objects that work to tell the story of the night perhaps of a honeymoon, anniversary or New Year’s Eve party. Which is why I think this image sells well every June during wedding and graduation party season.
In the photograph the sharp focus is centered on the cork and the background of champagne bottle and glasses are allowed to fade from focus into the dark background. Black and white is use to highlight the black of the champagne bottle and the darkness beyond. White highlights contrast the bottle label and champagne glasses while the cork is bathed in a rich light that highlights its fine, soft texture which contrasts against the hard glass surfaces of the bottle and glasses. So you have small but detailed object vs. large but minimal shapes. Black vs. white. Light vs. dark. Hard vs. soft. Textured vs. smooth. The contrasts of objects work to add intrigue and interest to the photograph.
The scene might look natural and random but the placement of each element of this photograph was carefully chosen. The cork is highlighted by being in the plane of focus and place in the bottom third according to the rule of thirds.
The cork is centered in the frame but the wire is placed to the side and slightly behind to bring the eye off center. The other objects are arranged in a zig zag fashion to pull the eye back into the photograph. The viewer is drawn from cork to wire, to bottle opening, to front wine glass and then to the back wine glass.
Notice also how the background is divided in roughly thirds with two thirds being black and approximately one third being the wood which also includes leading lines heading towards the back, drawing in the viewer.
Westies or more officially West Highlands White Terriers are an adorable breed of dog. Small, smart, loyal, and ferocious, this Scottish breed is all terrier and you won’t forget it if a chipmunk is around.
Here are some highlight photographs from the “Quotable Westie” sessions for the small gift book. Prints are available as well as images printed on tote bags and other products. See the entire portfolio of westie photographs and art work by fine art photographer, Edward M. Fielding by clicking the link below.
Tiki the Westie is a wonderful model who works for kibble. He’ll sit in position under the studio lights until he hears the “ok” and he gets his treat.
A smart dog breed for sure. Knows his name as well as many word commands such as sit, car, ride, walk, dinner, treat, food, tick etc.
Always up for an adventure and places to sniff and explore. Keep this breed on a leash as a random chipmuck can sent them flying off into the woods. And these little dogs are fast on their feet!
The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie is a breed of dog from Scotland with a distinctive white harsh coat with a somewhat soft white undercoat. The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland before the 20th century. Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch, is credited with the creation of the modern breed from his Poltalloch Terrier, but did not want to be known as such.
Westies are often featured In advertising by companies such as Cesar dog food and Scottish whisky Black & White. It is a medium-sized terrier, although with longer legs than other Scottish breeds of terrier. It has a white double coat of fur which fills out the dog’s face, giving it a rounded appearance. The breed can be good with children, but does not always tolerate rough handling. The Westie is an active and intelligent breed, and is social with a high prey drive, as they were once used to hunt rodents.
Behind The Scenes is where you can control your sellers account on FAA an Pixels. It contains your account information, public profile, marketing, stats, sales data, sale balance, pricing, etc.
To find your own “behind the scenes” first log in to your account and then hover over your name in the upper right. A drop down menu will appear and “behind the scenes” will be the second choice. Click on that and you’ll have access to all of the behind the scenes setting to set up your account.
Spend a lot of time in Behind The Scenes and you’ll discover all you need to know about offering your work for sale on FAA and Pixels.
In the real world art pricing is based on an individual artists reputation, skill, past history, career point, show history etc. While many POD sites treat all artists the same and have fixed profit margins (typically low), FAA and Pixels allows the individual artist to set their own profit margin.
This allows a more established artist to sell at higher prices or perhaps allows for a strategy of volume selling with a lower profit margin — in any case the pricing strategy is left to the individual artist.
FAA and Pixels are a middle man between the artist and the various vendors that they use to fulfill the orders. The vendor (the one who actually prints the t-shirt, mug, or art print) gets a cut of the overall price and FAA/Pixels takes their cut for processing the orders and running the website. Then there is the artist’s cut which you determine. Will it be $5 or $500 for a 20×20 inch canvas print?
In the “behind the scenes” area you will have to put in your profit margin that will be added to the vendor cut and FAA/Pixels cut to determine the final price to the buyer.
You can add profit margins for any print size as well as for products such as mugs and phone cases. This is the amount you will receive if the item sells.
If you don’t want to sell a particular print size or a certain product – leave the box completely blank. Don’t put in a “0”. A zero means that it can still sell and you will receive nothing.
Don’t follow the suggested prices from management. They are very low and you can do better.
You can price individual images each time or set up “Default Prices” in “Behind the Scenes”
You can change your prices universally using “Default Prices” and then applying the new prices to some or all of your images.
Is it worthwhile to pay $30 a month for a Premium Account on Fine Art America and Pixels? Yes – if you are serious about running a business selling your artwork on Fine Art America and Pixels. You can set up a free account to test out the system and upload 25 images. A free account is great for seeing how everything works and getting your profile ready, but don’t expect to sell anything. 25 images is a drop in the bucket to the thousands of new images that get uploaded every day on these sites.
The chances of some buyer finding your images with only 25 is like a needle in a haystack. Consider that you will be in this for the long haul and it might take many months if not years to start selling your work. It takes time for your promotional efforts to pay off.
So any way, consider the $30 a cost of doing business that will most likely be paid off with a sale or two if you market your work.
Pixels vs. Fine Art America
Pixels and FAA look awfully similar don’t they? Except for a few logo differences and colors they are virtually the same site although Pixels has more of the product stuff such as mugs and t-shirts whereas Fine Art America sticks to the more traditional art offerings such as canvas prints and framed art. But its the same company, same artists for the most part and same vendors fulfilling the orders.
If you sign up to sell your work with one of them, you will be on the other one too. All of the “behind the scenes” stuff is shared. Make a change to a price or upload a new image on one site and it changes on the other on too.
Why do I get so many visitors from the same cities?
If you watch the visitor count in “Behind The Scenes” you see your images being visited by the same cities over and over. Especially if you promote your images on social media such as Twitter. Instantly after Tweeting you’ll see 20 or so hits from these cities.
Are these real people looking at your work? Most likely not. Most of the views are from search engine bots that constantly scan the web for new content and uses these software bots to analysis and index web pages and images. Most of what you see recorded in “behind the scenes” will be these software robots or “bots”. To get real people to see your work you have to stop wasting time looking at “views” and get out there and actively promote and market your artwork. Don’t worry about view counts, worry about attracting buyers. It only takes one view from an active buyer to make a sale or you can get thousands of bot views and not sell.
How and when will I be paid?
If you are fortunate enough to make a sale, you will receive notification via email. You can also check sales in “behind the scenes” under “sales” or under “balance”. Payments are made each month on the 15th via PayPal. But you won’t be paid right away. FAA/PIxels has a 30 day money back guarantee so you have to wait for that period to end. It could be up to two months before you are paid depending on when the order comes in. And the buyer could cancel to order, have used a bad credit card or returned the item. So basically don’t count your chickens until they are in your PayPal account. Fortunately returns are rare but they do happen and they stink!
Recently on the Fine Art America artist forums a member was talking about setting up an art auction site. Other members had a lot of questions about establishing trust, curating the art, and other concerns. Things provided by well established art auction houses.
The “entrepreneur” brushed off these concerns saying “we are the sellers here, not the buyers.”
Sorry folks but if you don’t understand the motivations of the buyer, you are not going to do much selling.
Motivations of the Seller
As an art seller it doesn’t take too much soul searching to understand why you want to sell our art. There are several reasons. The major one being money. You need money to pay for equipment, supplies, food, rent, models, studios space, gas, trips to the dentist etc. Everyone needs money for their time and effort.
The other motivation is a personal satisfaction of knowing that someone else appreciates the work you are producing. Other motivations include career advancement, prestige, reputation, fame, branding and other achievements. But all in all its rather straightforward. You are producing a creative product and need to find buyers who will support your ongoing efforts.
Motivations of the Buyer
Motivations of the buyer can range from wanting to cover a crack on the wall to wanting to make a financial investment. The motivations determine if someone buys art on sale at Walmart, buys from an artist at an art fair or buys at a high end aution and stores the art in a bunker for ten years.
If your method of selling does not match the motivations of the buyer, you are probably not going to sell much art or photography. Let’s some reasons people might want to buy art.
They need a gift for a wedding, graduation, birthday, housewarming etc.
They want to decorate a room.
They want something cheery to greet them in the morning. Something uplifting that will make them laugh or smile.
Something that will remind them of something – a trip, a place, a time, a location.
To impress. They want to impress their friends and co-workers with their good taste. The art enhances the owners self-esteem or self-perceptions of its owners.
To collect. They enjoy collecting art of a certain genre or theme.
To inspire. They want art or photography that will inspire their own work.
To think. They want art that will make them think and question.
To relax. They want art that is calming or relaxing to look at.
As an investment. They want to park their money somewhere and hope it appreciates.
Price. The art was a good deal or it was in their budget.
To make a statement – social or political statements, philosophies, beliefs or values that the art embodies. The art expresses the buyers views.
When it comes down to it “the art we buy is as much about who we are as it is about the artists who create it”
As far as framing photographs and artwork, I’ve typically gone with the traditional looks I see in museums. Natural wood frame with white mat and glass or black metal or wood frame with glass. Nice thing about this type of art framing is that you can group several pieces together on the same wall and they match with the similar frames.
Lately I’ve been ordering some frame less photographs printed on metal for a modern look that floats on the wall. Trendy designers say a white on white framing style is all the rage. I’ve seen a few of my photographs and artwork ordered that way recently but most are either ordered as prints for framing locally or at home or in the traditional style of black frame and white mat.
You can see how the fine art photographs and artwork was ordered. With 100s of framing choices in 100s of styles, colors and matting combinations, the traditional simple wood frame and white mat seems to be the most popular. Perhaps because it is economical or perhaps it matches what the customer already has, plus some of these orders might be gifts.
Classics stand the test of time but trendy homes want to follow the latest looks from furniture to framing. Furniture trends are heading back to Mid Century Modern and frame and molding makers offer matching frames for the trend of Danish and Scandinavian furniture. This video highlights some of the looks possible at your local framing store.
White on White – Designers create dazzling looks with this monochromatic palette – all white doesn’t have to be boring and a burst of color from artwork can take a dull room to a dazzling room!
10 Tips for White on White Style
Start with a white room as a blank slate
Use white in your modern or traditional kitchen
White and your favorite metals are a timeless combination
Don’t shy away from white upholstery
Let a piece of artwork take center stage among white – One of the greatest assets of working with the color white is the ability to showcase your own personality and style in your interiors, without having to compete with the color on the walls, furniture and decor. If you love artwork, sculptural pieces, or any elements that command attention, consider displaying it on an all-white wall, over an all-white fireplace mantle or over your all-white bed. All eyes will go right to your one-of-a-kind artwork without you having to try!
Choose the best shade of white for your decor
Layer tone-on-tone whites for a warmer room
White can make your interiors versatile all year around
Bring color into your room to highlight white bathroom features
Organizing your collection of artwork and fine art photographs takes planning and thought to acheive the style you are looking for – these books can help you arrange and display your photography collection.
Decorating With Pictures by Stephanie Hoppen
Inspires the reader to go beyond conventions when selecting and hanging pictures–to plunge in and create stylish rooms with character. Ms. Hoppen gives tips on how to get started, illustrates the many possibilities for displaying pictures, and addresses specific questions of hanging, mounting, and framing, providing practical and aesthetic guidance. A directory of sources and a glossary complete the book.
At Home with Pictures: Arranging & Displaying Photos, Artwork & Collections by Paige Gilchrist
Pair pictures with the perfect mats, use inventive hanging techniques, try out different wall arrangements, and play with combinations of color. Uncertain of what to put up rather than how to do it? Then feast upon the innovative suggestions for creating themed displays, or assembling still lifes that blend pictures with everything from wooden sculptures to childhood memorabilia. Broaden your definition of a “picture” to include such fabulous things as antique game boards, painted china plates, or a key collection. With these ideas as a springboard, home-sweet-home will look more beautiful than ever.
How to Hang a Picture: And Other Essential Lessons for the Stylish Home by Jay Sacher
Like tying a Windsor knot or brewing a perfect cup of coffee, knowing how to hang art on your wall is a hallmark of everyday style and nuts-and-bolts know-how. The where, what, and whys of hanging art are an overlooked, under-appreciated line of inquiry. Most of us simply wing it with a quick eyeball and a swing of the hammer. How hard can it be? we think. What can go wrong? The answer, of course, is plenty: crumbling plaster, ruined antique laths, mismatched art hung too-close together, or a poorly-mounted photograph warping in its frame. But beyond the technical mishaps, there is a more essential lesson to be learned: The skill and consideration with which you decorate your home makes an aesthetic statement about the world you inhabit-and more importantly, when it’s done right, it very clearly looks a whole lot better.
Slim and stylish, How to Hang a Picture: And Other Essential Lessons for a Stylish Home is a user-friendly guidebook that details everything you need to know about hanging, framing, decorating and displaying art. If Strunk & White’s Elements of Style was crossed with a no-nonsense how-to manual, you will have captured the tone and immediacy of How to Hang a Picture: simple rules and essential information presented with charm and intelligence.
The Complete Photo Guide to Framing and Displaying Artwork: 500 Full-Color How-to Photos by Vivian Carli Kistler
Step-by-step color photos for all areas of matting and framing; the information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. This book includes top-notch instructions for archival framing—the correct methods and materials for preserving photos and artwork for posterity. The author also provides inspiration and helpful examples to show people how to display their artwork using basic design principles in a manner that is easily grasped. There are important techniques to follow for success—even the basic mechanics of hanging a picture.
Available as a print rolled in a tube for custom local framing or framed by our experts in one of hundreds of framing and matting combinations or as a canvas, acrylic, metal or wood print, “Old Typewriter Black And White Low Key Fine Art Photography” by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding makes a stunning statement in your home or office.
Bring your print to life with hundreds of different frame and mat combinations. Our framed prints are assembled, packaged, and shipped by our expert framing staff and delivered “ready to hang” with pre-attached hanging wire, mounting hooks, and nails.
The concept of a typewriter dates back at least to 1714, when Englishman Henry Mill filed a vaguely-worded patent for “an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another.”
But the first typewriter proven to have worked was built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri in 1808 for his blind friend Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano; unfortunately, we do not know what the machine looked like, but we do have specimens of letters written by the Countess on it. (For details, see Michael Adler’s excellent 1973 book The Writing Machine. Carey Wallace’s 2010 novel The Blind Contessa’s New Machine is based on the relationship between the Countess and Turri.)
Typewriters of this type were the word processors of the day and were found in every office and every up scale home. Today some writers and novelists still prefer to type out their books and letters using these reliable old mechanical machines with keys and ribbons of ink.
The photograph by Edward M. Fielding gives this old workhouse plenty of drama and weight using low key photography techniques in the studio.
Low-key lighting is a style of lighting for photography, film or television. It is a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Low key light accentuates the contours of the subject by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast.