What is your value proposition?

As an Artist Your Value Proposition Separates Your Work from the Crowd

What is it about your work that makes it deserve a sale? Think about the last time you purchased or supported another artist’s work. Why did you do it? How did it make you feel?  What was the value of the purchase to you?

Consider that buying artwork is not like buying a commodity product like salt or gas.  Art is not purchased because it’s the lowest price or you had a coupon.

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Out of the zillions of available art works and photographs on the market that you could purchase, for some reason this particular piece of artwork compelled you to love it and purchase it.

Some of the factors involved might be:

  • You met the artist face to face
  • You saw a documentary about the artist
  • You read an interesting article about the artist
  • The artwork provoked a strong memory
  • The artwork was the perfect size or color for a space in your home
  • A friend recommend this artist
  • The artist reminds you of a more famous artist that you can’t afford
  • The artwork created a gut reaction
  • The art makes you happy
  • The art makes you think
  • The art sets a mood
  • The art matches your decor
  • The art matches your theme
  • You like the artist positions
  • You like what the art has to say about the world
  • The art is modern, the art is retro
  • The art gives you a positive feeling

etc, etc, etc.

One thing to remember when selling art is people buy or support art for a very different set of reasons than anything else they spend money on.  Not only are they receiving a product for their money but they like to know they are supporting an artist so they can continue to create.

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Support Artists To Support Your Set of Values

If you see work you like, you should support this work, even if you don’t end up owning it, because this artist is creating the kind of beauty you want to see in the world. By helping this artist survive and continue to make work, you’re helping someone change the world in the way you want it to change.

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Your Value Proposition

Your value proposition as an artist sets you apart from your fellow artists and photographers.

VALUE PROPOSITION – (in marketing) an innovation, service, or feature intended to make a company or product attractive to customers.

In an never ending flood of amateur snapshots uploaded daily on social media, a professional level quality and execution.  Consistently, editing, selection and subject choice can be enough to pull your work out of the masses and into the realm of quality worth spending money.

Your followers will come to expect focused images with good composition, free of dust spots, grain and poles sticking out of people’s heads.

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My value proposition as a fine art photographer would go something like this:

Using professional equipment, honed post-processing skills, years of study, effort and passion for my subjects, creativity and a unique vision, I offer a unique and compelling images suitable for display in the finest homes and offices.

Further my collectors come to appreciate my style of clean and uncluttered compositions.  They might also take comfort knowing that my work has been shown in galleries, on book covers and magazines around the world.

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The fact that professional image buyers have selected my work to grace book covers and illustrate magazine articles doesn’t make someone love it, but it does provide affirmation that their choice is a solid one.  After all, if it’s good enough for a book publisher to bet the success of a book launch on, it’s probably good enough to grace a guest room.

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See my portfolio at: https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/

 


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Sell More Art – Understanding Buyer Motivation

Modern Farm House Style Decor https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/farm
Modern Farm House Style Decor
https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/farm

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.

Train photography by Edward M. Fielding
Train photography by Edward M. Fielding http://www.edwardfielding.com

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”

Winter Arrives - Barn wood frame
Winter Arrives by Edward M. Fielding – Barn wood frame http://www.edwardfielding.com

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Making of Canon L Series 500mm F4L IS USM

The Making of a $10K Lens

Making of Canon L Series Lens

Canon Lens Production – Ever wonder why camera equipment costs so much? Much of it hand assembled and the technology required to make optic quality glass requires a lot of steps and a highly control production process.

Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Canon L Series 500mm F4L IS USM
Canon L Series 500mm F4L IS USM

In this series of videos we can see the production of the Canon L Series 500mm f4L IS USM from raw material to final assembly by a technician.  In part one we see the glass being made from the raw material, going through a series of heating and cooling.

” L Series” is Canon’s Premium lens line featuring fluorite lenses. IS refers to Image Stabilzation build into the lens, and USM refers to Ultrasonic Motor drive that makes focusing faster and less noisy than older systems.  L Series lenses have a red band to differentiate them from the standard line of lenses sold by Canon and the larger versions have the white outer bodies.

In part two we see the final lens shaping as the rough lens are ground and polished down to the specified dimensions needed in the final product.

In part three we see the lens technician assemble all of the pieces of the lens.  Its not an assembly line process.   These expensive, high end lenses are built completely by a single trained assembler from the mounting of the lens elements, to the testing and outer shell assembly.

Worthy successor to the lauded Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM, the EF 500mm f/4.0L IS II USM Lens features completely redesigned Fluorite optics that deliver sharper images with less chromatic aberration and has a lighter weight thanks to magnesium and titanium construction elements. Because image stabilization technology in super telephoto lenses may inadvertently over-compensate and interfere with composing and framing distant or moving subjects, the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM includes an advanced third Image Stabilization mode (Mode 3) that activates IS only when the shutter button is fully pressed.

This allows users to pan fast-moving subjects and then activate IS only when it is precisely required. Additionally, all three IS modes give the equivalent effect of a shutter speed four stops faster, ideally positioning the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM for professional action photography, from sports to nature. The addition of the Power Focus mode enables smooth focus change when shooting video. Buttons and switches are redesigned for intuitive, deliberate operation, and dust and water sealing keeps the EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM functioning flawlessly in even the most challenging environments.

This Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens will set you back about $9K

OMG my first film single lens reflex camera

OLYMPUS OM SERIES Film Camera

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Back in high school I saved up my money to purchase my very first SLR film camera – the Olympus OM-10.  Remember when cameras were advertised on TV?  Back in the early 80s, New Wave music ruled the airwaves and Olympus was pushing the OM-10 on TV using celebrities. Blondie had hit after hit and super model Cheryl Tiegs played the dumb blond who doesn’t know a lens opening from a broadway opening in this commercial:

The OM-10 was sold as a simple to use, amateur camera. Basically a point and shoot SLR. The original configuration didn’t even come with manual settings as a standard. In order to play around with manual control you would have to purchase and accessory doohickey.

Drooling nerds given the chance to be in the same room with a supermodel just couldn’t take a bad picture with this camera!  Everyone could be a high end fashion model if just given the chance and handed the OM-10.

My OM-10 was a trusty camera that produced good results as I was learning the craft.  I took it off to college and tried my hand at shooting slides for stock agencies.  I’d have to have the slides developed, mark them with my name, put them in plastic sheets and send them off to the stock agency to be never seen again.

I was going along fine until one early spring day at home on break from college I wandered too far on to the lake and fell through some thin ice with camera.  Thankfully I was rescued by some workers that were home working on the house but my camera was toast.

Later I replaced it with Olympus’s upgrade to the OM-10, the OM-G.  The OM-G was a nice refinement of the original OM-10.  It was still a compact, easy to use, affordable SLR but now manual controls were built into the camera.  The controls were simplified and over all the camera became sleeker.

I don’t remember what happened to my original OM-G.  I must have sold it off at a tag sale at some point as digital cameras became the next great thing.  But now my son is in high school and he signed up for a photography course – traditional with film and darkroom processing.  So went on Ebay to see what I could find and lo and behold there was the OM-G with a 50mm 1.8 lens for $68.

So once again, history repeats and we have an OMG in the household!

The Olympus OM System (O = Olympus, M = Maitani) was a line of 35mm single-lens reflex cameras, lenses and accessories sold by Olympus between 1972 and 2002 (some accessories were sold until early 2003).

The system was introduced by Olympus in 1972, more than a decade after Nikon, Canon, and other manufacturers had established their own SLR ranges.

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More vintage camera photographs and artwork

How to price and sell your artwork

How do I price my artwork is one of the top questions asked by beginning artists and is usually followed by how do I sell my artwork.

How to price your artwork

How do you price your paintings and artwork? Artist Stefan Baumann’s YouTube video does a good job explaining how to price your fine art paintings including dealing with galleries and even the IRS.

He recommends that painters start by using a price by square inch method and start with a price of $2 per square inch. The square inch is calculated by multiplying the length by the width. So for example a 16 x 20 inch painting would be 320 square inches. 320 x $2 would give you a base price of $640 for your painting.

Additional costs might include market up on the frame (double the frame price) and gallery fees or extras such as brass name plates.

Stefan also discusses the ethical concerns of price consistency with your gallery prices and the need for your prices to rise over time.

Some other times is to create a pricing strategy and stick to it. Even your favorites should follow the pricing strategy.

Secrets to selling your art:

  1. Have great art (quality)
  2. Have a website
  3. Have a blog (living website that can be updated)
  4. Collect emails and connect info
  5. Have a way to collect money.

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More Resources for pricing and selling your artwork:

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Fine Art America Prints

Fine Art America Prints – When I decided to offer my photography and artwork to the general public as reproductions or prints I looked around at various vendors and settled on Fine Art America.  I’ve ordered prints to display at gallery shows and to display in my own home.

My Experiences with Fine Art America Prints

I’ve ordered framed and matted prints.  Prints rolled in a tube on rag paper as well as large metal prints.  The quality has always been excellent and if there ever is problem, the 30 day money back guarantee is outstanding.  Fine Art America will replace any problems.

With Fine Art America I can offer prints of any size including non-standard sizes.  If you wish to have these matted and framed locally to save on shipping you can do this, although the matting and framing can get expensive and the options through Fine Art America are very reasonable for a custom framing job.

Standard Sized Prints On Fine Art America

In the past you could often only find non-standard print sizes on Fine Art America.  Recently Fine Art America has added an option of choosing a standard size print from any of the images.  8×10, 11×14 etc.  You can even get a vertical print from an horizontal print or visa versa.  If you want to crop the image differently than the artist offers, you can now do this.

Very Large Prints from Fine Art America

I’ve sold a number of very, very large prints on Fine Art America.  These two image in particular have been ordered at the maximum size of 40 x 60 inches.  That is a huge print!

For some reason the largest prints purchase from my portfolio of fine art photography and artwork always seem to involve guns.

Art Prints

Art Prints

 

Metal Prints from Fine Art America

If you want a large, modern print, one of the least expensive prints you can get are the metal prints.  With a traditional framed and matted print you are paying for a lot of custom work, a lot of labor.  Metal prints are a simpler production, basically printed, trimmed and then a hanging part is added to the back. Less labor intensive so you save money.

The metal prints from Fine Art America are very competitively priced especially since everything needed to hand the prints is included.  Some other places add on hanging accessories to the price.  With Fine Art America its included.  Metal prints offer a clean modern look with the artwork floating on the wall.

office-artwork-7

Shipping metal prints is also less expensive because they don’t weigh as much as a framed image. Any very large print going through the mail will be expensive to ship but you save on weight and metal prints are unlikely to be damaged in shipping.

Fine Art America Prints Quality

I’ve sold over 1,500 pieces of artwork through Fine Art America and have only had an handful of returns for some reason or another (people changed their minds or didn’t like it for some reason or another).  That’s less than 1 percent of returns and the buyers got their money back.  I think that says a lot about the printer that Fine Art America uses.

Selling art: Should I specialize? Or generalize?

A recent question came up on the Fine Art America forum asking if “specializing” is better for selling artwork vs. generalizing.  First off the question confused the idea of style and a niche.

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A niche and style are two different things. One is based on subject, the other is a look.

A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. It is also a small market segment.

A niche give you something to promote. Its easier to find a group to market the niche. The problem comes if your niche is too small. Like all the people who buy a macro lens and start taking bug pictures. Turns out only 10 people in the world want a bug picture in their living room and 9 out of 10 of those already have a macro lens.

While a niche is focusing on a particular subject or theme, style is the aesthetic or a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.  You style might be documentary, it might be black and white with deep depth of field, it might be bold, colorful and graphic, it might dark, somber, and moody.   It might be crowded with lots of detail or minimalist with simple shapes.

In the visual arts, style is a “…distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories.” or “…any distinctive, and therefore recognizable, way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed and made.”

In the end you want to focus your work on your interests.  Subjects and themes that your personal vision of the world draws you too.  From working on capturing your interests, your style will emerge. In the beginning you might try copying past great photographers that you admire but eventually you will stop looking at others work and start producing something uniquely yours.

This video blog from The Art of Photography covers this topic by describing “interpretations” by various photographers.

Work in Series

Anyone serious about a career in the artwork should be thinking in terms of series or in developing a body of work that could fit in a gallery show or book under a specific theme.

If you just want to sell random things then be all over the place. Shotgun approach. Just have lots and lots of images.

Consider that when you look at the recently sold page on Fine Art America it might seem as if buyers are choosing artwork at random but the individual buyer does not pick something at random. They have a deep affinity to the artwork they choose to spend their hard earned money on. The recently sold page shows the results of thousands of individual purchases, not some collective hive mind. The images might appear all over the place because the buyer’s interests are all over the place. You only have to satisfy the need of a single buyer, not all of them.

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Home Sweet Home Airstream

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Airstream travel trailers and touring coaches inspire adventure and help people Live Riveted wherever they go.

Ahh the Silver Bullet – One of my goals in life is to travel around the country with my wife in a vintage Bambi Airstream travel trailer.  I just love the look.  But for now I’ll just have to settle for photographing classic Airstream trailers.  The photograph above features a classic vintage Airstream camper with the words “Home Sweet Home” above it.  Its been popular as a print sold via Fine Art America and Pixels.

The trailer in the photo was captured on the streets of Bozeman, Montana and seems to be a bit weathered and need of a little TLC but it makes for a facinating black and white photo subject with all of those nicks and dings.  The font is something called Air Conditioning and hearkens back to the days of futuristic type on appliances made of real metal and heavy motors.

I have a bit of a series on Airstream Trailers:

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An American iconic brand – the Airstream travel trailer floating off the Earth and into the great blue summer sky!

Airstream is a brand of luxury recreational vehicle manufactured in Jackson Center, Ohio, USA. It is currently a division of Thor Industries. The company, which now employs fewer than 400, is the oldest in the industry. Airstream trailers are easily recognized by the distinctive shape of their rounded aluminum bodies. This shape dates back to the 1930s and is based on designs created by Hawley Bowlus. Bowlus was the chief designer of Charles Lindbergh’s aircraft, the Spirit of St. Louis.

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Art Prints

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See more Airstream and trailer art at www.edwardfielding.com

NEW! Vintage Airstream “Home Sweet Home” throw pillows by Edward M. Fielding 

Airstream Pillow
Airstream Pillow

Cell phone cases, throw pillows, beach blankets, coffee mugs and art prints are available with this great vintage Airstream design!

This vintage Airstream was photographed by Edward M. Fielding on the streets of Bozeman, Mt.

Tractor Photography Season

A favorite photography subject: Tractors

Tractor photography season is here, at least that’s how I see it.  I live in a rural area of New Hampshire near the Vermont boarder and one thing we have plenty of is tractors and nice old vintage tractors.  These are not museum pieces although we have those also on display at the Tunbridge World’s Fair and the Cornish County Fair and other places around the area.  Clubs dedicated to restoring and preserving old tractors.

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Sell Art Online

 

But beyond the museum pieces we have a lot of great old farm equipment in use in the hay fields and pastures around the region.  Beautiful old beasts, some in great shape, others coaxed into working condition with a squirt of oil and a kick to the carburetor.

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I’ve come to know several of these great old farm machines as they move around the neighborhood plowing this field one week and another the next week.  Some of the old Ford machines have nice rounded bonnets that remind me of art deco styling in their blue and white two tone paint jobs.  The John Deere’s sport their famous green and yellow colors while the MF’s wear a coat of red paint.  No to be confused by the really one machines covered in rust.

 

Newer machines seem to be eye popping orange or bright red or that green/yellow combination.  One thing you can tell by looking in the yard of a local farmer is the brand loyality.  These beasts of the fields seem to last forever and if they ever are retired usually they are added to the line up in the back 40 or out by the utility barn.  Maybe they’ll be scavenged for parts or be restored at some later date if there is any time left after a busy day working the farm but one thing seems for certain, its tough to get a loyal customer to switch brands, at least by the look of things.

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More Tractor Photography Here

 

Fine Art Photography on Display

This short video highlights selections of my fine art photography offerings shown on display in homes and offices.

Fine Art Photography

The video shows large metal prints and framed artwork suitable for making an impact in a living room or office environment.  Sizes from small to large as well as various framing styles from metal prints to framed and matted gallery style artwork is available.  You can customize your order with paper, matt and frame choices or order prints rolled in a tube to be framed by yourself or at a local frame shop.

Here are links to the fine art photography examples shown in the video.

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Classic neon sign outside of O’Rourke’s Diner a landmark on the North End of Middletown, Connecticut’s main street. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding
The diner was established in 1941 by John O’Rourke, who later brought the 1946 Mountain View diner car that anchored the diner’s distinctive appearance into Middletown.

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About the image: Here the delicate and innocent flower is represented in white while the background of rough, old wood is allowed to go dark. The background is a find from a local barn restoration company. They tell me that it is a raccoon stretcher used to skin raccoon. Just one of the many interesting things the barn company finds when salvaging old barns in New Hampshire and Vermont. The wood has wonderfully deep cracks and is shaped kind of like a small ironing board. You can see nail marks in it from where the held down the animal. Nice huh? And you thought it was all just about a pretty flower.

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A pair of classic Adirondack chairs on the shore of Mirror Lake in the town of Lake Placid, NY in the heart of the Adirondack park in New York state.

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A yellow lifeguard tower stands watching over an empty beach on Maui, Hawaii.

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The famous surfboard fence just off the Road to Hana on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Photography Hawaii born photographer Edward M. Fielding

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