8 Ways to Market Personal Work to Art Buyers
Question: How can I make my personal work work for me - as in how do I market it to attract clients?
We believe that it is often personal work that attracts creatives and the assignment work that sells the client. Because of this, we encourage our photographers to shoot personally as often as they can.
There are many different ways to market your personal work. Here are some things to think about when deciding how to do so:
1. Consider a Blog
Blogs are great ways to share work that doesn’t necessarily fit within your current strategy or vision for your work. They provide an opportunity for you to share the story behind the image and engage the viewer on a different level. They also allow you to be more casual with your work and experiment without the confines of any current perceptions of your work.
© Andy Anderson
2. Add a Personal Work Section to Your Site
Creatives are always seeking inspiration and a personal work section on your website would be the natural place for them to search for it.
3. Print a Personal Work Portfolio
If you have a large enough body of work, you can print a portfolio that showcases your work. Use the portfolio as a reason to reach out to clients and other creatives you would like to have as clients.
4. Create a “Coffee Table” Book as a Promotional Piece
This is a great way to share your work without the need for individual appointments. It could get expensive, but if you are very-targeted with the list that you send them to, you can control the costs. Creatives hold onto these books for quite some time when they are relevant to them.
© Kevin Twomey
5. Create a Unique Mailer
Similar to the coffee table book, a unique mailer allows you to showcase your body of work and add a personal flare to it that will help you to stand out. You can also keep costs manageable by sending it to a very-targeted audience.
6. Keep the Series Going
Do you have a body of work that people like and often talk about? Do they call you and ask you for prints? Do you see your mailers hanging on their walls, or do people often tell you that they have seen that image or series before? If they do, it would be worth considering how you can continue the series. Looking for ways to evolve the idea will help keep the viewer’s attention. Hunter Freeman has been taking photographs of astronauts in everyday life situations for the last ten years. People still ask for prints and wonder what is coming next.
© Hunter Freeman
7. Submit Photographs to Contests and Websites that Share New Work
It is always nice to be recognized for your hard work. There are countless contests available to enter. And, websites such as PDN’s PhotoServe allow photographers to submit their new work for consideration on their website. Having someone else brag about your work is always a great thing.
8. Share the Work of Others
I know this might sound counter-intuitive to marketing yourself, but it could be a powerful secret weapon. If you are active in social media, the idea of sharing someone else’s work can bring attention to yourself. Not only does it show your appreciation for the craft, but it may motivate someone else to share your work as well.
© Richard Schultz
We hear all the time that the to-do list of a professional photographer is long - and personal work is often at the bottom of the list. We encourage our photographers to make shooting personal projects a priority. Not only does it provide them with more work to share with their clients and prospects, but it also allows them to explore their creativity. And doing so often leads to great things.
Heather Elder represents 9 commercial photographers, hosts an industry blog and stock inspiration site as well as consults with a variety of photographers nationwide. She graduated from Boston University and started her career at an advertising agency on the east coast where she worked as an account executive. It was while working on the Polaroid account that she realized her interest in photography. She left the ad agency to become an agent and producer for a Boston based photographer where she used her agency background to develop her own business style. Heather Elder Represents
1. Enhancing Commercial Assignments With Personal Work
2. Dialogues Podcast: Creativity Pushes the Envelope
3. Why Shooting Personal Work Will Grow Your Photography Business