Another Photography Profit Center… Decor Art

With scenics, a major thrust is to make viewers “wish they were there.” Choose a view or subject you would like to look at 365 days a year. If you don’t like the view or subject, chances are your customers won’t either. Keep in mind that most buyers of Décor Art enjoy pictures of pleasant subjects because they find in your pictures an ‘escape’ from the routine of everyday chores. That’s why for this purpose it’s important to take your scenics without people in them. Your viewers would like to imagine themselves strolling through the meadow or along the beach. They consider recognizable ‘people’ in your picture as an intrusion of their own quietude and privacy. In addition, if people are included in Décor Art pictures, this can ‘date’ the picture due to the style of clothes, hairstyle, etc.

Nature close-ups are always a sure-seller. They rarely become out-dated: dandelion seeds, insects, birds, leaves, etc.

Art Décor buyers tend to buy easily recognizable subjects. For example, an antique windmill would consistently sell better than a modern wind generator. Keep your Art Décor simplified by isolating your subjects. (Feature only one at a time…rather than a group of something.)

Animals are always a popular subject — usually wild ones; but also pets, domestic animals, dogs, cats, and horses.

Dramatic Landscapes are good bets, in all seasons, and especially with approaching storm clouds, complete with lightning.

Another area of Photo Décor that is growing: abstracts. Abstracts
are finding favor for use in waiting rooms, attorneys’ offices, professional buildings — as well as homes.

Sports scenes lend themselves to game rooms and family playrooms; portraits (exotic or interesting faces) to legal suites; erotic subjects to private clubs; industrial craftlabs scenes to manufacturing company offices.
It goes without saying — your pictures should be well composed, visually exciting, and of high technical quality.

SOME POINTERS: Prices depend on whether you sell by volume, individually, or large format, to corporate clients. At art fairs, individual buyers will pay about $45 (11×14) and $30 (8×10). Before you decide on your own price, see what local department stores are getting.

Limited editions of prints are another issue. You can demand a higher fee. And, of course, if you keep a couple such prints for the grandchildren, your grandchildren just might become heirs to a very valuable print. What to charge for limited editions? Keep the professional artist in mind who once said, “If you are going to price your watercolor at $15, you’ll find a $15 buyer. If you price it at $75 dollars, you’ll find a $75 buyer. And if you price it at $850 — you’ll find a $850 buyer. Just takes time.” Current going rate for a 16×20 (color) décor photograph is between $75 and $150. PRINTLETTER (Zurich) lists international going rates as reported by galleries. Some samples: Eugene Smith: $750; Ben Shahn: $1500; George Silk: $1500; Aaron Siskin: $1200; Howard Sochurek: $950. Nice tidy sums?

B&W or Color? B&W prints sell well as Décor Art, and particularly so if they are sepia toned. Color, however, has the edge over B&W. Shoot in transparencies rather than negative–for these three reasons:

1) You can project them effectively when you are demonstrating your subjects to a potential client;

2.) Processing lab technology can handle transparencies cheaper and more accurately than negs;

3.) As a stock photographer you’ll also want to market your color through regular publishing channels –and most publishing markets require high-resolution digital images or transparencies.

Size – If you sell your prints on a single sales basis, you’ll find the larger print (16×20) with higher fees will result in more year-end profit than trying to market larger numbers of the smaller prints (11×14 or 8×10) with the lower fees. On the other hand, if you go to multiple sales with smaller prints, and aim for the volume market in high traffic areas such as art and craft fairs or shopping malls, you will be equally successful with the smaller-sized prints.

Production. Resin-coated papers make B&W production on your own, very easy. Color production is usually best accomplished by a lab such as . Shop around. In New York, for example, an 11×14 costs $46 and a 16×20, $95. Quality is superb and the delivery is one day.

Frames. Framing or matting your prints definitely enhances appearance and saleability. Dry mounting materials and hinge mats are available everywhere. And finally, try making frames on your own. How-to series are often featured in photo and hobby and craft magazines. Consult the web for ideas and sources.

Promotion is the key to your selling success. If you’ve sold a series of prints to one bank in town, let the other banks know about your Décor Art. Work for ways and places to exhibit your pictures often. Offer your services as a guest speaker or local TV talk show guest. Produce a website displaying your work; sell prints on e-Bay, produce brochures, flyers, or catalogs of your work.

Government agencies often buy groups of Décor Art. Check out the “Art for Buildings” program in your state.

Rohn Engh, veteran stock photographer and best-selling author of “Sell & ReSell Your Photos” and “,” has helped scores of photographers launch their careers. For access to great information on making money from pictures you like to take, and to receive this free

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