In a previous post I interviewed Alain Briot about his then-upcoming book, Marketing Fine Art Photography. The book has now been published and is available through book retailers. I got a copy for myself, read it, and thought I’d give it a short review.
Marketing Fine Art Photography has a suggested retail price of $44.95. That’s quite reasonable for a book with 6 parts, 21 chapters, and 313 pages, liberally illustrated with examples of how photographs can be sold as well as samples of Briot’s fine art photography. The major sections of the book break down as follows:
Part 1 – Selling Fine Art Photography is mostly about definining what marketing is, what fine art photography is, what markets are available, and which marketing approach you find most attractive.
Part 2 – What to Sell and Where to Sell It is self- explanatory. Here is where you’ll also find a chapter on how to price your work.
Part 3 – The Fundamental Aspects of Marketing, Salesmanship, and Business describes the skills and attitudes essential to success. For many photographers this part alone will be worth the price of the book.
Part 4 – Selling Your Work at Shows describes everything from why art shows are a valuable sales venue to how to exhibit and sell your work at shows.
Part 5 – Personal Skills reinforces the previous parts by describing the technical, artistic, marketing and personal skills you’ll need for success. It also includes the “25 Most Common Marketing Errors” that photographers make.
Part 6 – Business and Marketing Tools delves into the tools and techniques of marketing, such as special offers, your curriculum vitae, and your Unique Selling Points.
Briot offers practical advice and balanced opinion based on his own hard-won experience and market research. He tells you which methods he finds most effective and which he finds the least. Although he describes the pros and cons of various approaches, such as selling your work in low quantities to a luxury clientele versus selling in high quanties through retail outlets, it’s clear which approach he favors and which he’s found most profitable.
It also becomes clear after reading a few chapters that effective marketing takes a lot of work. For example, Briot emphasizes that you can’t simply upload a selection of your best photos to a website and hope for the best. You have to do whatever it takes to find out where your customers are, then give them compelling reasons to buy your photographs. This takes creative vision as well as a dedication to quality, consistency, customer satisfaction, and follow-through.
One of the reasons Briot has been so successful is that he markets himself and his work full-time. If you’re willing to devote a similar level of dedication, Marketing Fine Art Photography provides an excellent road map. If not, you may find his recommendations daunting.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Briot is a landscape photographer who specializes in the American Southwest. You will see excellent examples of his work throughout the book and valuable insights on how he markets it. What you won’t see are examples of other styles of fine art photography, nor will you find examples of how other photographers have had success with a different style and marketing approach. I mention this not as a criticism but as a simple statement of fact. If you’re into a different style of fine art photography and want to take a different marketing approach than Briot you’ll still find plenty of valuable information; you’ll just have to extrapolate to determine how it applies to you and your work.
In short, as long as there's a market for your work and you're willing to put in the effort to attract it, this book offers a path to reaping the maximum results. Speaking of which, if you're interested in buying a copy, use this link to Amazon's U.S. web site. It will put a few coins in my pocket without costing you a cent more. It might even enable me to buy a book or two myself.