photography

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

11 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks in Your Photography

Many artists sometimes face a lull in their production of new works or continuation of existing works due to a “creative block”. They often will find it difficult to conjure up an idea to work on a new piece or to even finish a piece they’ve already started. Photographers are not immune to the dilemma of a creative block either. You may oftentimes feel like you have photographed everything or you’re just not motivated to even pick up your camera because you feel like you’re out of ideas on what to shoot.

Trying a new perspective.

 

It can feel like the end of the world (or at the very least, your art career) when this occurs, but alas, there is hope! Below are ten tips that have worked for me in the past – both, as an artist and as photographer – to help overcome a creative block and to help get you back on track to create more new and extraordinary images.

 

  1. Assign Yourself a Photo Project. There are numerous books as well as articles on the web that are devoted to daily, weekly and monthly photography project ideas for photographers to aid them in getting their creative juices flowing again.

A few photo project books that have gotten me through some creative blocks.

 

Some examples might be:

 

  • Shooting a monochromatic theme for one week straight. This helps you to become more aware of your surroundings by looking for things that are one specific color.

 

  • Taking a photo walk and shooting with only one prime lens (a 50mm is a good example). This also helps you learn to zoom with your feet and experiment with different angles to capture a subject.

 

  • Shooting one self-portrait a day. Each self-portrait has to be different, which forces you to dig into the deep crevices of your mind to come up with a new way to shoot a portrait of yourself every day for a week, month or even a year.

 

  1. Shooting the Same Subject 100 Different Ways. Lock yourself in a room for an hour or two and assign yourself an object in the room to shoot 100 different ways. You do not necessarily have to restrict yourself to just a room, so long as you do restrict yourself to one object.

Just 5 ways I shot the same subject in a 10 minute period.

 

  1. Photograph Something Previously Captured From a New Perspective. You may feel like you already captured a great image of an object or place, but a good exercise to get the juices flowing again is to photograph something you photographed previously, but from a completely different perspective.

The Colosseum in Rome the traditional way (left) and captured from a different perspective (right).

 

Monet spent much of his life painting the Notre Dame over and over, at different times of the day, with different lighting circumstances and from different perspectives.

The Atomium photographed the typical way (left) and at a different perspective (right).

 

Photographing an object or scene in the same manner can be just as therapeutic and  rewarding and might just be what you need to get through a creative block.

 

  1. Shoot Anything. Take a photo walk and shoot anything, even if it doesn’t interest you. You don’t even need to leave the house, if you choose. Shoot random things around your home. As long as you are shooting something, you are getting your juices flowing and this is a great first step on the road to recovery.

Shoot anything, whether it does or doesn’t interest you.

 

  1. Experiment with new media. Try drawing or painting one of your photographs. I very often will take my charcoal pencils out and draw one of my photographs.

My photograph of the pelican on the pier (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Even if you feel like you can’t draw, attempting to draw or paint a still object or scene from a photograph is a great way to try to beat a creative block.

My photograph of a scene in Eze, France (left) and my drawing from that photograph (right).

 

Flirting with other art mediums can not only assist in getting the creative juices flowing again, but you may find you like practicing in a new type of art!

 

  1. Study the Great Masters and Try to Emulate Their Work Adding Your Own Twist. Research the great masters of photography and study their works as well as other photographers’ works. Try shooting in their style and form, possibly even trying to replicate one of their photographs, but adding your own twist. By emulating the works of photographers that are of interest to you, you find yourself newly inspired and developing and/or practicing new techniques that you didn’t  know before.

 

  1. Look To Magazines, Books and Other Media for Inspiration. Along the lines of studying the masters and other photographers’ works, look through your favorite magazines for inspiration and new ideas. Other forms of art can also be just as inspiring and motivating to cause a boost in your creative juices.

Look through magazines and other media for inspiration.

 

Things such as a good song, a movie, a tv show, a work of art or even a good book can help generate new ideas for things such as still life sets or portrait or fashion sets to create and shoot, destinations for photo walks, interesting lighting techniques and much more.

 

  1. Start an Art Journal. An art journal can be a great tool to start not only for artists, but for photographers as well. Keeping a small notebook with you at all times can come in handy for jotting down that fleeting idea that you might have during the day (or night) that you may forget after 10 minutes otherwise. Art journals can also serve as a place to create sketches of things like wardrobe ideas you would like to shoot, recording lists and descriptions of things and/or places to shoot and much more.

An art journal can be a great tool and record to save you when you goes through those times of a creative block.

 

An art journal can serve as a record of your thoughts and ideas – something you can refer back to during those times when you might have a creative block.

 

  1. Take a Photography Class. There’s nothing more motivating to get you shooting again than taking a photography workshop. Taking a workshop can force you to shoot, to learn new techniques and to share different visions with fellow photography students. A photography class also forces you to produce work in a more structured environment. You might find that the exercises and assignments that a photography instructor might give you helps to open that creative door again.

 

  1. Participate in a Photo Contest. Sometimes a photo contest can be all it takes to get your head back in the creative game when shooting, especially when there is some type of incentive involved.

Competing in a photo contest can help get you motivated to produce, especially when there’s a theme.

 

Many photo contests and competitions are based on a theme, such as “best travel destination” photo or a “show us your pet” photo contest. Since the actual “what” to shoot is already decided for you, it’s only up to you to determine how to shoot it. Any time you pick up your camera, you are allowing yourself a chance to jumpstart your creative juices. Participating in a photo competition can not only get you shooting again, but may also yield you some type of reward!

 

  1. Have patience. Creative blocks are not the end of the world. They are just a small bump in the road to becoming a better, more creative photographer. Creative blocks can provide you with opportunities to look at other works and try new techniques granting you continued education, practice and production. Have patience. Don’t look at a creative block as an obstacle, but as part of the creative journey.
Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Social Media and Your Photography

Social Media and Your Photography

Technology advances and new platform creations have brought photographers new ways of sharing their news and their work. Long gone are the days of printing images and having a get together with your friends and family to share photos from your latest trip or requiring you or your client to travel to meet with you to see proofs from a photo shoot. Social media, along with many other software programs and platforms allow everything to be done online from the comfort of anywhere. It also provides a better avenue for attracting new clients and followers because there is no limit to your reach, if you share and/or market using social media in the most optimal way for your business.

Image courtesy of Google

 

While there are more than one hundred social media platforms out there around the world, in this article, I’m going to discuss social media uses for your photography, the top six platforms along with tips and best practices for optimizing your content on those platforms.

 

POTENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA USES FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY

Now that we live in the Age of Social Networking, there are several uses through various social media platforms that you may find useful in engaging users with your photography.

 

To Share Your Work With the World

For the average, for professional photographers, amateur photographers, everyday hobbyists and even non-hobbyists, social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have been major platforms used to share photographs with connections and/or to be found by anyone with an interest in a specific hashtag. People share their everyday moments: where they are, what they’re doing, what they’re eating, things of importance such as objects of affections, pets or their children (not in any particular order…) I generally share retouched images from my latest photo shoots on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – a new image 3-5 times per week. I also share a new travel photograph from my extensive collection of photographs from past travels once a day. It’s a great way to get feedback on your work.

 

To Promote Your Upcoming Exhibitions

Social media platforms are also an excellent tool for promoting any upcoming exhibitions in which you may be participating. Posting an event or a notification of an event on any social media platform works just like a press release, but to a larger audience. As a photographer, artist and a curator, I’ve found posting exhibitions I’m participating in and exhibitions I’m curating drives more traffic to the event in support of my work or the work of the exhibitors I’m representing.

 

To Sell Your Work


Posting a small resolution image of your work regularly can generate interest in someone wanting to purchase a print or to even hire you for a commission. If the goal is to sell your work, it’s a good idea to always include a tagline that your work is for sale and to contact you through direct message in that platform for more information.

 

To Promote Your Brand


In addition to selling prints, social media platforms are a great tool for promoting your brand. While you can create and purchase ads and target those campaigns toward a specific demographic, posting your work very regularly and including some sort of tagline to contact you for your photography services can also help generate leads for you, sometimes without even having to buy ads. I’ve generated several leads through my image posts on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Maintain Client Relationships


Social media platforms are also a good way of communicating with your potential and existing clients since these platforms are where your target clients are already spending a lot of time socializing and networking. Showing you are very regular and active in shooting, showcasing your results from your shoots, updating the public on projects and exhibitions you have coming up, receiving feedback from the general public and if negative criticism – publicly providing a solution can be some of the ways a social media presence can enhance your business.

 

A MAJOR PLAYER ON FOLLOWERS & FANS: FACEBOOK

Facebook is probably the most popular social media platform out there, with Twitter following behind and Instagram creeping up to second place. The Facebook platform has so many features – some useful, others not really – that can make for a robust business platform to connect with existing and potential clients. Your personal Facebook page limits you to no more than 5,000 followers. This is why it is a good idea to create a Facebook Business Page if your goal is to promote (and sell) your work. Facebook Business Pages offer a place to add all your business information, offers and promotions, create events, post updates and comments and add photos organized into albums. For selling your services, you can dabble in Facebook Ads to create campaigns or pay a discretionary sum for a discretionary period of time to boost any important posts you may want to highlight. You have many options for this including targeting specific demographics.

 

Tip #1:  As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to create a Facebook page for your business and keep it separate from your personal Facebook page. Why? Think about it. Do you really want a potential client seeing a photo you were tagged that shows you having a little too much to drink and doing odd things at a party the night before? Or seeing a photo of what you ate last night for dinner in which you make a very snarky remark? Human, yes. Professional, no. Keep personal and business pages and posts separate.

 

Tip #2: Post frequently. Be sure sure to update your status on your personal or business pages often to keep your followers updated and to let them know you are active and always available.

My Facebook page.

Tip#3: Engage your followers. Be humorous (“appropriately” humorous with business pages). End your posts with questions. This will evoke people to make more comments on your posts.

 

Tip #4: Create events on Facebook when you have an upcoming event to promote. Facebook has a great system of “reminders” to your followers and to those who RSVP for your event via the Facebook application.

 

Tip#5: If you are trying to promote your services or sell your work, take advantage of boosting your posts or creating a targeted ad campaign to gain exposure. For as little as a few dollars a day (a budget which is set by you), you can get your posts or ads seen by a specific demographic of your choosing.

 

Recommended Usage: Personal pages to share photos of your personal life with your followers. Business pages to share images from a recent shoot, to communicate news on an events, to create a call to action (via Call Now, Message, Sign Up Today, etc.) for potential new clients, to link people to where they can see more of and purchase your work, and much more.

Ideal Posting Time: Wednesday through Sundays between 9am and 3pm (Around lunchtime and a few hours before making plans for the evening…)

Frequency: 1-2 posts per day.

 

THAT LITTLE BIRD ALWAYS IN YOUR EAR: TWITTER

Twitter reminds me of one of those little tiny birds that moves around really quickly before it takes off and is gone. With a restriction of 140 characters, “tweets” can supply updates to those who may not know of you, your work or your services while also improving your SEO. “Tweets” have a little bit of a shelf-life though considering so many of them are posted within seconds of each other so for those who follow a lot of contributors, tweets can potentially get buried in an hour or less.

My Twitter page.

Tip #1: Tweet often, but also retweet whenever possible as when you promote others, they oftentimes may promote you in return, if your content is good.

 

Tip #2: Be tactful with keywords. Find out Twitter followers care about the most. This may also improve your chance to show up on Google searches as well.

 

Tip #3: Start a conversation and engage in other conversations, especially with the big fish. If you get mentioned somewhere in the big pond, you reap the benefit of more eyes on you.

 

Tip #4: Follow the top professionals in your industry as it helps get your name and brand out there and can help increase engagement.

 

Recommended Usage: For news and announcements of special events like exhibitions, promotions, awards and achievements, etc.; to share your images for feedback; to improve SEO and to push people toward a newsletter sign up or call to action.

Ideal Posting Time: SproutSocial shows that Mondays through Thursdays are the best days of the week to post with the best times being between noon and 3pm.

Frequency: Between 2-3 tweets per day.

 

A PICTURE’S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: INSTAGRAM

Instagram has to be a favorite among photographers as the main substance of Instagram is visuals: images. There’s rare chit chat, like what is found on most other platforms – just images and numerous hashtags linking followers and new potential followers to see your visual creations. Personally, I have managed to attract more business leads through Instagram than through any other social media platform as the images speak for themselves.

My Instagram profile.

 

Tip #1: Post extraordinary images. Meaning… don’t just post anything. Post only your best work as sometimes people who see one of your images go into your profile to see your other images too. Always put your best foot forward.

 

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to use DSLR photos on Instagram! I generally backup all of my images to Dropbox. I have Dropbox installed on my iPhone and download images from my Dropbox to my camera roll which I want to showcase on Instagram. You are not restricted only to square image format either. Instagram will crop the edges of the images but a rectangular format will work too.

 

Tip #3: Hashtag, people-tag and geotag your images. This helps non-followers find your images based on specific tagged keywords.

 

Tip #4: Use the option to concurrently post your images to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, etc. This saves you a step from separately having to post the same image and content on those platforms too.

 

Recommended Usage: For sharing personal photos, thought-provoking images and marketing professional images to personal and business clients.

Ideal Posting Time: SproutSocial shows that Monday through Friday are the best days of the week to post with the best times being 2am, 8am and 5pm.

Frequency: 1-3 times per day

 

IT’S ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW: LINKEDIN

As many of you know, LinkedIn is a great platform for networking for business purposes. Whether you are in the market for a job, an employee or a freelancer, or even for B2B marketing, LinkedIn allows you to post your professional credentials out there for all to see and gives you the tools to meet the people you wish to network with through introductions and direct contact.

My LinkedIn profile.

 

I personally use LinkedIn to showcase all of my well-rounded accomplishments in my IT and legal backgrounds as well as my education and photography backgrounds through posting art and photography events when I have them, but mainly to post references to my educational articles such as the one you are reading now. The platform is heavily sprinkled with all different types of groups to suit whatever interest you want to keep up with and posts for which you might want to read or contribute.

 

Tip #1: Share events related to your industry with others. The more you put yourself out there and give info, the more recognition you gain.

 

Tip #2: Share newsworthy content related to your industry. Whether you write it yourself or you find it somewhere else on the web, the idea here is to share with the community.

 

Recommended Usage: To showcase your professional accomplishments and accolades and to link to your website and portfolios. This is also a great place to build references and contribute your knowledge on your area of expertise either in your own posts or by participating in others’ posts.

Ideal Posting Time: Weekdays as this is mostly when the business crowd checks into LinkedIn. Jobseekers will use this platform on weekends too, if you find a use for that market, such as needing to hire assistants or hair stylists or makeup artists.

Frequency: Once a day is completely sufficient but more will not hurt if you can provide valuable content for others to absorb.

 

THE WORLDWIDE NETWORK: GOOGLE+

Just about anything can be found via Google – including your business, your images and your profile. Having a Google+ page can be beneficial in several ways. Google+ offers a way of better organizing your contacts so that sharing content and images via “Circles” helps you separate what you share with whom. I’ve personally set up several “Circles” to classify my contacts and some contacts fall into more than one Circle. For instance, I have “Family”, “Inner Circle Friends”, “Friends”, “Acquaintances”, “Clients: Models”, “Clients: Headshots”, “Clients: Boudoir”, “Clients: Fashion”, “Clients: Portrait” and so forth and so on. I may want to share specific relevant content with my headshot clients, such as a special headshot session promotion, that I wouldn’t typically share with my boudoir clients, and so forth.

My Google+ profile.

 

Another terrific feature of Google+ is the Google+ Stream, which is similar to Facebook’s newsfeed. Whenever you share something publicly or specifically with another person, it appears in their Google+ Stream where others can see the post and it helps increase your exposure.

 

Google Hangouts is a great tool offered by Google+ that allows you to chat face to face with whomever you wish to chat with that also has a Google+ profile. This is a bonus for more personalized “verbal” communication that email cannot offer. I like to use it to chat with my models or clients prior to a shoot to see what wardrobe they will be bringing with them and to confirm details of a shoot.

 

Lastly, Google+ offers the ability to post images into albums to share publicly or privately with whomever you choose.

 

Google+ does offer company pages, and while they are a bit limiting in the sense that you cannot customize a URL for your company page, nor can customers post on your wall, but one highly beneficial feature is that your company page is connected to your personal profile but your profile can remain completely hidden from your company page.

 

Tip #1: Don’t just link to your blog post. Post an image and a teaser portion of your blog post, then include a link to that respective website blog post.

 

Tip #2: Participate on other profile pages and give them a positive boost by giving them a “+1” on their posts. This helps promote engagement.

 

Tip #3: Share the wealth. Share the work of other contributors every once in awhile. It may help lead that user’s followers straight back to your profile too.

 

Recommended Usage: Creating organized contact lists, sharing news and updates through posts, sharing your images and communicating face to face on the web via Google Hangouts.

Ideal Posting Time: SproutSocial claims the best time to post on Google+ is weekday mornings between 9-11am with Wednesdays being the very best day of the week for posting.

Frequency: 1-2 times a day is just fine.

 

FINDING & CREATING INSPIRATION: PINTEREST

Pinterest! I love Pinterest mainly for creating mood boards for my photo shoots. People can create a profile and can share images and/or articles with images through “pins” on their “pinboard” for anyone to find and get inspired by. You can set up as many categories or ways of organizing your pins as you like. For me, I categorize by things like “Boudoir Inspiration”, “Hair Inspiration”, “Makeup Inspiration”, “Set Inspiration”, “Wardrobe Inspiration”, and so forth. When I have a specific shoot, I search through other people’s pinboards for inspirations and add the “pin” to a separate category titled by the name of my shoot.

My Pinterest Page.


Pinboards can be beneficial for photographers who have photo shoots to search for ideas and inspiration and to share mood boards with those ideas/inspirations with their photo shoot team and with their clients.

Recommended Usage: Creating inspirational mood boards for your next photo shoot, sharing “pins” with links to your blog or content and sharing your images with links to your business services.

Ideal Posting Time: SproutSocial says weekends and late at night are the optimal times to pin on Pinterest.

Frequency: There’s no ideal limit to posting here.

 

PRESSED FOR TIME? SCHEDULING POSTS

If you’re a busy professional like me, you don’t have time to think about posting to one to 10 social media platforms each day every week. There are a few amazing options out there that allow you to bulk schedule your posts in advance on multiple platforms using just one tool.

 

Hootsuite: For around $20/month, you can utilize Hootsuite to set up 10 social media profiles for one user to schedule hundreds of posts in advance. It allows you to track real-time analytics, run social sweepstakes and integrate as many RSS feeds as you wish. There’s also a free option, but it allows only 3 social media profiles for one user and 2 RSS feed integrations. There are also more extensive pricing plans and options that un up to $500 and more per month depending on the size of your business and your needs.

Hootsuite post example.

Image courtesy of Hootsuite.com

 

Buffer: Similar to Hootsuite, Buffer is another tool that, for $10/month, allows you 10 social media profiles and to schedule 100 posts per social media profile per month. It also offers a calendar, use of the Pablo image creator and RSS feed integration. There is also a free option here which allows you to set up one profile for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. While the paid option also provides Pinterest profile scheduling, the free version does not. The free version does not include RSS feed integration.

Buffer platform.

Image courtesy of Buffer.com

 

There are also more extensive versions for larger companies that run up to $399/month, but again, it depends on the size of your company and your needs. Link shorteners are provided on all plans. Analytics tools are only available on the larger company plans that start at $99/month.

 

TRACKING PROGRESS

Tracking your social media progress is an article, if not a book, all in and of itself, but know that Google Analytics is a prime way of tracking your company’s reach where you can connect tracking to your website and your social media platforms. It is important to keep up with analyzing your tracking reports to help you learn what works, what doesn’t, when to post, what to post, where your audience is primarily located and much, much more. It can help you develop a more targeted marketing campaign.

 

A FINAL WORD ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA & YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY…

While I sometimes complain that technology and the internet are taking away a lot of personal service and communication between a business and its customers or even between people in general, I do admit that we are blessed to have a medium where we can have a global reach and global impact, a medium where you can share your work and engage with potential and existing clients or average everyday users anywhere in the world instantly. It’s important to share a little to receive a little. Share your images. Provide valuable content. Engage with users and watch your following and your business grow.

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Where to Show and Sell Your Photography

Where to Show and Sell Your Photography

Many photographers first think to themselves, “I want to show my work in a gallery.” However, galleries are not the only venue where one can exhibit and sell their work. There’s numerous other opportunities for getting your work out there for viewers and collectors to see and purchase. I will start with most of the types of venues where I have personally exhibited in or where I might have curated a show and then explore other potential types of venues to show your work. This article is just one chapter excerpt of my upcoming book to be released called, Exhibitions, Marketing, Promotion & Publicity – coming soon to Amazon this month.

 

Galleries

Galleries are a wonderful exhibition experience, especially when it’s your own solo exhibit, but don’t knock group exhibitions in galleries because they too can be excellent exposure – especially for those starting out in exhibiting their work.

I recent group print exhibition in a gallery that I hosted and curated.

 

I’ve curated over a dozen group exhibitions in NYC, both digital and print, and many of the my first time exhibitors have gone on to show in other galleries and spaces, in both solo and group exhibitions. Once you build that confidence to show and talk about your work, as I describe in my upcoming release on Amazon: Exhibitions, Marketing, Promotion & Publicity, you will feel confident enough to apply to show your work anywhere.

 

Working With Galleries

To work with a gallery, it’s important to many visit gallery openings, not only to network, but to view what types of work each gallery subscribes to showing. Meet with the curator and/or gallery owner, be polite, ask questions, express interest and if they are interested in hearing more about your work, talk about your work. More often than not, you will need to make an appointment to do this sometime after the opening reception you are attending.

Always have your iPad or mobile phone with your portfolio filed away on it as you never know who you might end up meeting at someone else’s gallery opening.

Once you obtain your own exhibition opportunity, be it group or solo, it’s important to follow a few key tips listed below.

 

Prompt Responses

Coordination with a curator and/or gallery owner is extremely important. Be sure to answer your emails and phone message in a timely manner. Gallery owners want to know that you remember you have a show. They may have questions or need further information or to provide you with more information about the exhibition, your pieces and/or the space.

 

Have Examples of Your  Work Ready

When a curator or gallery owner requests images of your work – send them ASAP. You do not want to chance not being included in promotional materials, and as a result, not having your work reviewed by the media.

A promotional postcard from a recent exhibition I curated.

 

As a curator and host of many group exhibitions, I personally create and distribute a lot of promotional materials including postcards with images of exhibitor works, images on our website to stir up interest, emails to my distribution list and press releases that go out to all of of my contacts in the art world as well as newspapers and magazines. I am astonished how I have to pester exhibitors sometimes about getting example images to me for promotional materials, enough so to almost exclude them from a show.

 

Have Your Work “Ready to Hang”

Never expect a gallery to prepare your work for you. You must always prepare and have your work “gallery-ready”, which means framing your pieces and stinging them up on the back with wires and eye-hooks, etc. Sometimes a gallery will have their own hooks for walls to hang pieces on a wall.

OOK Professional Picture Hanging Hooks

Image courtesy of Home Depot

 

The last gallery I worked with required and used specific hooks, called OOK Professional Picture Hanging Hooks because they make the least amount of damage to walls and can usually be pushed into a wall without used a hammer (except for plaster walls…) Be sure to ask if hooks are included and if not, ask if they mind you using these particular hooks or if they have a preference in ways to affix your work to their walls.

 

Identify Your Work and Provide an Inventory List

Be sure to mark each piece of your work with the title, medium and size of the artwork or photograph. For photography, I also like to include where the photograph was taken and if at an art fair or such where you can include a print bin of loose matted prints, the price as well. All of this can be put on a label on the back of your work.

One of my old gallery inventories…

 

It’s also important to give an inventory to the gallery so that they may price your work. This is typically due when you deliver the work to be hung.

 

Respect a Gallery’s Marketing

A gallery will send out their own marketing literature and such with their own logo, etc. Never send out any marketing material of your own using the gallery’s information or logo without obtaining their permission first. I prefer to do this in writing to cover my backside.

 

Stay Out of the Sales Process

If a gallery is dealing with selling your work, do not interfere in the sales process when a sale is made. That is the job of the gallery. You will eventually receive a commission check by the date agreed upon in writing.

 

Don’t Your Burn Bridges

If you do not get along with a curator or gallery owner, do not be rude or disrespectful. Just remove your work at the end of the exhibition as agreed upon and bring your arrangement to an end in a highly professional manner. You do not want to burn any bridges as curators and gallery owners tend to be well connected and you don’t want prevent yourself from receiving good referrals in the future.

 

Digital Galleries

Digital galleries are an amazing opportunity to get some exposure, but selling your work may be a little bit tougher. It can be done though. You definitely need to be there to talk with random viewers about your work and steer them toward a sale. I’ve had several exhibitors sell work during a digital exhibition. The great thing about digital shows is that you do not have to spend a lot on upfront costs as you only need to fulfill upon the order coming in.

A digital gallery opening reception exhibition I hosted and curated a few years back.

 

If nothing else, a digital exhibition will help you to get your name and your work out there for the public to see. Remember anytime there is an opportunity to exhibit, do it. The more you get out there, the more you ARE out there.

 

Pop-Up Galleries

On galleries, sometimes there are things called “pop-up” galleries where a curator might create an exhibition space in a public space or an empty business space.

A pop-up gallery show by Dacia Gallery I did a few years back called “Art on Broadway”.

 

It’s good to do your research on the web for potential opportunities to get included in exhibitions in pop-up galleries in your area by finding out requirements, which may be posted on websites or by calling the event coordinator or curator listed for the pop-up space.

Dacia Gallery’s “Art on Broadway” exhibition.

 

Museums

In Florida, I had the opportunity to have one of my photographs hang for about 6-8 weeks in the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. It was quite an honor to have my work hanging in a museum. While opportunity came to me through a call-to-artists notice, I remember there were still a bunch of requirements to go through to get into this museum at the time. It was quite worth it in the end though. Check in with smaller local museums in your area and find out the requirements for submissions. For more installations, there is usually a proposal involved that you must submit. What to include in the proposal varies from museum to museum.

My street photograph submission into the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts.

 

Libraries

Getting on as many artist organization lists as possible can sometimes land you showing your work in some unexpected places. I once had the opportunity to show a piece in a large local library in Clearwater, Florida having gotten a call-to-artist notice from a local art organization’s list I had put my name on a year prior. While it wasn’t an opportunity to sell my work, it did give me some good exposure in that town.

 

Hotel Art and Wine Events

A very unique type of venue I was invited to show and sell my work at on three occasions was at a hotel’s art and wine party. The Quorum Hotel in Tampa, Florida used to organize a weekly solo exhibition in their hotel lobby for local artists to rotate setting up and showing and selling their work at no charge. The hotel would offer up free wine and hors d’oeuvres for about an hour and a half to two hours while the chosen artist would invite a bunch of guests to their solo exhibition to show and sell their work. Not only did artists get to earn the business of people they knew or who were on their business lists, but this was a very busy business hotel so we also received the opportunity to sell to global business folks passing through as well. The hotel did not ask for commission for any works sold. Their primary goal was to offer something different to their guests while boosting hotel and hotel bar business.

I was invited three times for a solo exhibit to show and sell my artwork and photography in a busy hotel lobby in Tampa, Florida.

 

I sold a majority of the 120+ images in my first year of exhibiting through the three exhibitions I had at this venue and made a lot of money in the process. Whether a hotel offers this type of event or not, speak with local hotels in your area and suggest the idea to them. It would not only benefit bar’s business within the hotel, but their hotel as a whole.

 

Morning Markets and Street Fairs

 

Morning Markets

Morning markets are a fun seasonal way to show your work and supplement your income. You can do this by offering different options of your work at different price points, such as framed or unframed and matted or at different sizes, or even offering limited edition prints. Pitching a tent  and/or setting up a table to sell your artwork and/or prints is generally a matter of a few simple factors: what you’re selling (some markets tend to limit the number of vendors per category of items they are selling), how much space you are looking for, how long you would like to rent space for and the fee for renting space. Check with the morning market management to find out the criteria for setting up a space within the market and the prices for doing so. Should you find you cannot get into a market venue due to too many vendors all selling photography or art, get on the waiting list. Vendors tend to turn over every quarter.

For a season, I pitched two tents and sold a lot of my work at a Saturday Morning Market in Ybor City, Florida

 

Street Fairs

Street fairs are a bit similar to morning markets in that people come together with tables and tents and sell things like jewelry, clothing, food and even art and photography.

At a street fair on the Upper West Side in NYC.

 

Major Art & Photography Events and Expos

There are many major art and photography events that happen in many areas around the world, you just need to listen closely and consistently keep your finger on the pulse of the art world. A couple of well-known events just in NYC are, Photoville and AIPAD’s Annual Event, The Photography Show.

 

Photoville

Logo courtesy of the Photoville website.

 

Photoville is an annual 10-day event that takes place at Brooklyn Bridge Park where exhibitions, workshops and artist talks are held in containers. There’s typically also food, alcohol and other beverages available for purchase too. For Photoville you have to a submit a proposal well in advance before you even go through the curatorial process and there’s a very large fee attached to getting involved in Photoville. The payoff, however, is that Photoville is a pretty big deal every year. Companies such as Instagram, National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME Magazine and the Pulitzer Center among many others are curatorial partners at this event. If nothing more, it is a great opportunity for exposure, but the bonus is that you can sell your work there as well.

 

The Photography Show by AIPAD

The Photography Show, which is put together by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), now takes place on Pier 94 in New York City. They work with 115 galleries from around the world to find installations for their event. With four new sections – Salon, Gallery, Positions, and Discovery – the Show will offer work from both AIPAD members and new exhibitors, as well as younger galleries, and book dealers and publishers.

The Photography Show at AIPAD

Photo courtesy of the AIPAD website.

 

Local Community Centers

Sometimes your local community centers will not only facilitate workshops to teach artistic endeavors, but they may sometimes also hold artistic events, such as solo and group exhibitions in their building. Subscribe to local community center event calendar and inquire about potential opportunities to show your work in your local community centers. There may be requirements such as some type of membership, but if you can gain a solo or group exhibition opportunity out of it, sometimes it can be worth it to join.

 

Local Art Organizations

My entire art and photography career began through monthly competitions with the Tampa Regional Artists at the Old Hyde Park Art Center in Tampa, Florida. For a $5 per piece fee, I was able to hang my work in their center, located in a very expensive area of the city. It would include being able to hang my work there for a month, the opportunity for my work to sell (the gallery sitter’s fee was included…), an opening reception complete with snacks and drinks, a listing in their monthly newsletter plus I was included in a monthly competition wherein I would compete against artists of other mediums such as oils and acrylic painters, mixed media artists and sculptors for cash prizes varying between $50-150 per month and ribbon awards.

My first image to ever win an award happened at TRA.

 

Not only did I win several awards and sell many pieces there, it was a big gateway to finding other opportunities, making sales in other venues and it, along with another similar organization that I worked with became my first two regular writing assignments as I became a contributing writer for their monthly newsletters, writing on art and interviewing and writing about other artists.

Do a little research on the web to find out all of the local art organizations in your area and check into what they offer, weigh the benefits of submitting work with that organization and find out the requirements for submission should you wish to proceed with submitting work through that organization.

 

Consignment

Another way of show and selling your work is through consignment to shops, restaurants, bars or other establishments. Consignment means that you pay the establishment a specified amount for the sale of your work after the work is sold.

 

Shops

Sometimes small shops will allow you to hang your work on consignment on their shop’s wall space in exchange for a flat rate or a small percentage of the sale price as a type of commission. This is a good opportunity to reach buyers because, hey, folks are already in the shop to buy something, so you already have a better chance of selling your piece than if it were hanging in a bar  or restaurant.

 

Restaurants, Bars & Coffee Shops

Like shops, hanging your work in local restaurants, bars and even coffee shops for exhibition and sale is usually done on consignment (unless your work isn’t for sale and in that case a discretionary fee for doing so may or may not be imposed by the establishment…) These are pretty good places to at least get your work seen. I say “at least” as these are not the best places to actually sell your work because, unless you are specifically having an exhibition opening at one of these types of venues, most people are there to do something other than purchasing something for their home, such as to consume food and beverages.

I once had a wonderful opportunity to fill an entire Brooklyn bar with my artwork.

 

Check with these types of establishments, especially those who are known to exhibit the works of local artists, to see what the requirements are to hang and sell your work on their wall space. Even if these aren’t the best place to actually sell your work, remember, exposure is key, and can lead to sales later down the road.

 

Online

 

Your Own Website

If you are in the photography service industry, it’s a “must” to have your own website to show your portfolio, to list more information about your services and/or to have an appointment booking system. While there are many web tools out there to show, sell and even fulfill your work that you produce for sale, it’s also definitely invaluable to have your own website, if for nothing else, than to just have a more personalized web presence.

My fashion and portrait website with links to my photography and artwork for sale.

 

You can put your artist biography and resume on the website – making it a lot easier for gallery owners and/or potential buyers to view your background. It’s also a great place to either show samples of your work with a link to another website/platform for sales and fulfillment or to contain all of your works for sale and actually sell/fulfill orders yourself. My website for fashion and portrait work also contains a link to my personal work for sale, which includes photography on Fine Art America and paintings through my own shopping cart.

 

Sell on eBay

If you’re a painter, yes, eBay is an option to sell your work. It’s a great tool as you can actually use the auction feature to have potential buyers bid against each other for your work. This can work for fine art photography as well.

 

Fine Art America

I stumbled across a great web tool for artists and photographers several years ago, a website called FineArtAmerica.com, which offers a place for one to upload their images, set prices for prints and any novelty items which people could buy with a specific image on it, plus the website offers fulfillment services.

My Fine Art America page.

 

In addition, you can list any events you might have, register for contests and many other different options on the backend that help to sell and promote your work. My favorite thing is when I get my weekly newsletter on Sundays and I get to see stats of how many views I had to certain images of mine and where in the world the last view came from. More often than not, I get a lot of views from potential buyers abroad.

 

Etsy and Zazzle

Etsy can be a good place to upload your work for sale as many people know of its existence and as a place to go for niche items. Websites like Zazzle allow you to upload your work, set your prices and allow people to affix your images not only to postcards and stationery for purchase, but also to novelty items such as pillows and playing cards.

Some products that can be customizable at Zazzle.

 

Other Online Outlets

There are certain so many other online outlets these days where you show and/or sell your work such as Smugmug, 500px, Tumblr and Zenfolio and more.

 

Now That You Have The “Where”…

If you take your mind off of getting into a gallery, the possibilities on where to show your work is endless. You may not sell your work in some types of venues, but exposure can be just as important as it can lead to the sale of your work later down the road. As a “creative”, get creative! Where have you shown or sold your work?

 

This article is just one chapter excerpt of my upcoming book to be released called, Exhibitions, Marketing, Promotion & Publicity – coming soon to Amazon this month. You may click on the link above to request more information.

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments
Spotlight on Art Start

Spotlight on Art Start

In March 2016, I organized, hosted and curated a group exhibition for my photography group, NYC Digital Photography Workshops at the Caelum Gallery near the The High Line in the Meatpacking District and I decided to create an optional “entry fee ticket” to collect money to support a local nonprofit organization.

Chromatic Visions exhibition on March 12, 2016

Image courtesy of Caelum Gallery

 

The Arts tend to be a bit of a neglected area in the way of support. It took me only a moment to figure out who I wanted to be the beneficiary of 100% of the optional entry fee ticket proceeds. I invited an organization called Art Start to not only receive the proceeds from any optional ticket sales, but to also use two (2) six-foot walls in the gallery for the organization to hang two of their largest pieces on exhibit.

Creating confidence in underprivileged youth.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

I recently had the pleasure of formally sitting down with Art Start’s Co-Executive Director, Hannah Immerman, to ask her a few questions on the organization, to shred some light on what it does, its programs and its exhibits.

 

What is Art Start?

Art Start provides a creative outlet for homeless and court-involved youth.

Image courtesy of Art Start

DMW: What is Art Start?

HI: Art Start is a New York City based nonprofit that engages homeless and court-involved youth in the creative process.

 

DMW: How did the idea of Art Start come about?

HI: Over the past 25 years we have engaged over 23,000 NYC youth. We currently provide programing in 4 out of the 5 boroughs, in 10 different locations. The purpose of it all is to use the creative process to achieve personal development. Our workshops are student centered and consistent. Through the creative projects we focus on the process and not the finished result.

 

Art Start has become a nationally recognized organization that uses creative art programs to nurture at-risk children that currently live in shelters, on the streets, are involved in court cases and are living with parents in crisis. Well-known figures and celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey, Alexander Wang and Former President Bill Clinton have given high praise to Art Start’s program for kids.

 

The Art Start Community

Art Start works with underserved youth that currently live in shelters, on the streets,

are involved in court cases and are living with parents in crisis.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How many people do you typically help in a year?

HI: Last year we served over 700 youths.

 

DMW: What is the age range for these youths that you typically work with?

HI: We serve youth and young adults, ages 5-21.


Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What other organizations do you work with?

HI: We work with YOSOS, Urban Art Beat and a network of nonprofits that run the shelters.

 

Art Start partners with nonprofits such as the Covenant House, Inwood House, Volunteers of America, Bronxworks, SoBro and Sheltering Arms Safe Horizons.

 

The Services Art-Start Provides

Art Start’s Music Programs

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What types of programs do you offer?

HI: Art Start offers creative arts workshops that take place on-site in partnering homeless shelters as well as secure and non-secure detention centers. We also offer mentoring, portfolio development, coursework sponsorship and professional development opportunities in our Emerging Artists Program.

 

DMW: What types of workshops do you offer?

HI: We offer workshops in visual arts, music, dance, theater, Food Justice/cooking, gardening and music production.

Teaching the youth: photography.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How long are the workshops?

HI: They are typically 60-90 minutes.

 

DMW: How do you go about working with the Homeless Youth Outreach?

HI: We partner with family shelters and shelters for young mothers. We bring in staff and volunteers who facilitate different types of creative projects each week.

 

DMW: How do you go about working with the Youth Offender Outreach?

HI: We partner with secure detention facilities, non secure detention facilities as well as alternative sentencing programs and provide weekly creative workshops.

The Family Portrait Project

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: Do you go to these facilities to provide your services?

HI: Yes, we provide almost all of our workshops on-site to make it as accessible as possible to the youth.

 

DMW: Tell me more about the Emerging Artists Program.

HI: We work with about 10 youth per year. The youth sometimes are recruited from our other programs or they are referred by partnering organizations. The program is for about 6 months. We sponsor coursework for youth (art classes, voice lessons, music production courses, photography and more…) We partner youth with a mentor, meet weekly, visit creative industries, go on cultural outings and work on professional development skills.

 

DMW: That sounds amazing. Have you ever considered developing a program for homeless or offender adults? Possibly an emerging artist program for adults?

HI: Our focus is on youth but we do engage parents in the shelters with monthly family nights.

 

Art Start provides an outlet for creative youths who are struggling and lack resources to provide them with opportunities for their inner artistic being and help them to see and feel a bright and creative future through participation in the arts and music.

 

Its Projects and Exhibitions


The Seaport Culture District Project

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: What are some of the projects Art Start has done with these youth programs?

HI: In 2012 we started an annual photography project that engages the youth and families from our various programs. The Family Portrait Project presents the images, voices and stories of NYC families experiencing homelessness. The The Portrait Project offers homeless and court-involved teenagers the opportunity to create empowering dreams of their future and show the world how they want to be seen. With support from world-class photographers, retouchers and stylists, those visions come to life in a large-format photographic print.

 

DMW: What is this year’s project?

HI: This year, we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and with an event in May. It will also be the opening exhibition of the 2017 Portrait Project. The project features 10 of our youth from the Emerging Artists Program and Homeless Youth outreach Program. Participating photographers include: Chris Randall, Matt Hoyle, Natalie Brasington, Zach Stertz, Andrew Eccles, Heidi Gutman, Mary Ellen Matthews and David Johnson. For the fourth year, Fast Ashleys Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn returns to The Portrait Project as a presenting sponsor of photo equipment and studio space for the shoot locations. DCOY Studios also returns as a sponsor, donating all digital retouching for the project. This year, Canon joins the project as the exclusive printing sponsor, making the public exhibition and book possible for this project.


“Fleur” Print by Natalie Brasington

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: Where have you exhibited in the past?

HI: It is helpful when spaces are donated of course but we had been lucky to exhibit in our building on 26th street which is a great place to be. Full of artists and galleries. We have also exhibited the projects at the High Line Loft in the West Chelsea Arts Building.

 

DMW: Where can people see the works completed through these programs on exhibit?

HI: Many of the images are can be found on our website and we are working on a complete online gallery. A few of the prints and one of the books can be purchased on our website. Our goal is to have the photo projects travel the city and country. We have been fortunate to have some of the images exhibited in group shows around NYC.

 

In 2015, Art Start proudly participated in the Seaport Culture District, which was presented by the Howard Hughes Corporation, with support from the engineering firm, Arup, whereas Art Start present The Portrait Project as outdoor light-and-sound installation in Cannon’s Walk at the South Street Seaport.

 

Funding and How You Can Get Involved

Funding through these great sponsors is not enough. Let’s keep a good thing going.

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

DMW: How are you funded to be able to provide all of these wonderful programs?

HI: We received government funding from the city and state, corporate donations, fees for service, individual donations, foundations and community giving.

 

DMW: How can people contribute to this worthy cause?

HI: Donate! Becoming a monthly donor is especially helpful because it is reliable, consistent support. We also have a great peer to peer fundraising platform that allows people to Crowdfund for their birthday party, events, etc.

 

You can help support Art Start by your generous monetary donation of any amount and/or your donation of time by volunteering! Photographers and Artists, this is a great organization to get involved with as they are doing great things for the youth in our community. Art Start workshops are approximately 1.5 hours long and are located in Bushwick Brooklyn, South Bronx, and Harlem. Workshops for kids age 5-21 include visual arts, music, dance, theatre, photography, gardening, and music recording.   

Image courtesy of Art Start

 

You can also hold fundraisers to help raise money for the organization. Work in a large company? Scheduled for a marathon? Art Start will help you create a fundraising page to help support their organization.

 

You’ve Got This!

Folks, Art Start has a great idea that should be spread like wildfire around the country. They are helping to shape our youth for the better. Imagine growing the organization to other cities around the country? Give them a helping hand with a donation, by volunteering and/or by fundraising. You’ve got this!

Posted by Dawn Wayand in Workshop, 0 comments