Is There a Secret to Selling Photography as Fine Art?

Selling Fine Art Photography” is the focus of a free educational resource guide from PhotoShelter. The guide’s authors acknowledge that there doesn’t seem to be a single ‘how-to’ formula for selling photography as fine art. But when they asked art-world experts for tips and profiled photographers who are succeeding in the fine-art world, there do seem to be some steps that might increase your odds of success. A lot of the advice focuses on making the best possible work, then focusing on building relationships with people who respond to it.

Part 1 of this guide includes:

  • Six tips to get non-profit galleries to feature your work
  • Six tips to get your work featured online
  • Insights from the owner of fine-art printing business

Part 2 profiles seven photographers who have found their way into the fine art world.

  • Jimmy Williams talks about building a reputation by starting local
  • Greg Marinovich suggests sharing the stories behind your images
  • Brooke Shaden explains why passion is the secret to getting 244,000 Facebook followers
  • James Bouret discusses marketing tactics that can help your work get noticed
  • Pete Carroll emphasizes the need to strive for the best-quality print
  • Matt Suess describes ways to connect with potential buyers
  • Bess Greenberg talks why she founded the 25CPW gallery

“Understand what makes you unique, what story you have to tell, and then refine your skills to try and communicate the message in the clearest way possible,” says Shaden.


In her essay about working with non-profit galleries, Hannah Glasgow of The Center for Fine Art Photography advises photographers to “Be bold and true to yourself” and make work that matters to you. 

Some of the more seasoned photographers observed that gallerists and collectors are interested in images with historical value or themes that stand the test of time.

In other words: It’s impossible to know if that young musician you are photographing today will turn out to be the next Jimi Hendrix or Elvis Presley. So always do you best work and keep good archives.

The guide on “Selling FIne-Art Photography” is part of a collection of free, educational guides that PhotoShelter has developed to help professional photographers and aspiring pros take a more strategic and focused approach to selling their images. Other guides in the PhotoShelter Library offer tips related to sell more sports photography, event photography, portrait photography, wedding photography, and corporate and industrial photography.

With more than 80,000 clients, PhotoShelter is a worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites and sales and marketing tools for photographers.


PhotoShelter Guide: Selling Fine Art Photography

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Guide Suggests Ways to Market Fine Art Photography

PHOTOGRAPHERS. “Selling Fine Art Photography” is the newest e-book released by PhotoShelter. The free 26-page downloadable guide includes interviews with 12 experts who sell fine art photography online and offline. The experts include photographers, gallery owners, online curators, and consultants.

As you read through the guide, you’ll quickly see that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to success–partly because people have different interpretations of what a “fine-art photograph” is. The experts quoted in this guide offer a variety of opinions on what works and what doesn’t in selling photography as fine art and suggest a range of different tactics for getting noticed by online and offline galleries.

For example, Jeffrey Teuton, of the Jen Bekman Gallery in New York City, works closely with the 20×200 online gallery that markets limited-edition prints from a wide range of photographers. He urges fine-art photographers to “Be smart when choosing an online gallery to collaborate with. Many galleries like 20×200 have an exclusivity policy that prevents you from showing your same pieces in other venues. This means that the gallery you pick should have a strong marketing reach that can exposure you to a large network of potential customers.”

He notes that online galleries are receptive to emerging artists: “20×200 is not surprised when an undiscovered photographer comes on board and their work takes off—that’s why they make a point to search for fresh faces.”

The e-book also discusses how to use in-person events and social media to your marketing advantage, and different ways to maximize your website to generate business. This guide provides an in-depth look at how several photographers found their way into the fine art world and determined what can sell and how to price and market their work.

“Fine art is really defined by those who are purchasing,” observes photographer Ken Kaminesky. “You could have one piece that is very close to your heart that the person next to you has no reaction to whatsoever.” He also says that, “If you’re going to have an online presence to sell your fine art, you need to put time and effort into making yourself look good. That may mean hiring a website designer.”

Amanda Bowker, who has worked in some of the nation’s top museums and galleries, urges photographers to stay positive, create work even if it’s not being shown, and be persistent in try to get your art in front of collectors, galleery owners and curators: “Make it clear that you are a hard-working artist who is in it for more than the money. Curators and gallery owners will appreciate your dedication and commitment.”

PhotoShelter CEO Allen Murabayashi describes “Selling Fine Art Photography” as “a very helpful resource for photographers getting started in the fine art business, as well as those experienced pros who want ideas to fine-tune their marketing and sales. We’ve highlighted photographers, curators and other experts who have made smart decisions about ways to build an audience and market their fine art photography.”

Selling Fine Art Photography is part of PhotoShelter’s growing library of free business guides for photographers and freelance creative professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes guides on email marketing, search engine optimization, starting a photography business, social media marketing, and how to sell prints. One of PhotoShelter’s other new books explains how to use “crowdfunding” sites to raise financial support for your next photography project.

PhotoShelter is a leader in portfolio websites and photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers. More than 70,000 photographers worldwide use PhotoShelter to power their success online, with customizable website templates, searchable photo galleries, e-commerce capabilities, and bulletproof image storage.


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