Show your work, show your work, show your work. If there is one common piece of advice voiced by almost every professional photographer whose opinions I respect, it is this. If you want people to appreciate and possibly buy your work, you need to show it. And to paraphrase Rick Sammon, “you never now who may be looking.” I happily came to realize just how true that last statement is, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
I have set up a fan page on Facebook (go ahead and “like” it, you know you want too), I’m on Flickr , and recently I’ve been sharing what I consider some of my best work on 500px. I’ve also been testing the waters over at Google+, though I haven’t really jumping in with both feet yet. And let’s not forget, if you are reading this, my name and images have now reached you!
Most of my efforts have been centered on getting my actual framed work in the public eye, with my biggest effort put forth at the Portsmouth Open Market in Portsmouth, NH. This has also been my most productive outlet for image display. While I have only sold a few prints at these outdoor markets, I have noticed a big jump in image views on my website. I’ve put a business card in the hand of anyone who will take one, and at my second market I was fortunate enough to catch the eye of a local real estate agent who also happens to write a blog. A mention on his blog was also good for a boost in image views! All leading to potential future image sales.
Here is where “you never know who might be looking,” worked out for me. My last market of the season also produced the biggest potential benefit to my beginning photography business. I was approached by a very nice woman asking if I would be interested in creating 8-12 images to decorate the walls of their soon to open dental practice. How cool is that?! For pros who make their living from this kind of thing it may not be a big deal, but for me it is a huge boost to both my ego and potentially my bottom line. To think, my photographs will be seen by every patient and employee who walks into the office.
The most recent success from the results of my shameless self promotion, someone who saw the above image on my fan page, loves it and wants it. They want it on canvas, and they want it big! Social media does work!!
I have also found another good source for potential outlets to show your work, and this goes for almost any type of artist. Craigslist, that’s right, Craigslist. In the community section under “artists,” there are always several people/business owners/galleries looking for artists to display their works. I found the Portsmouth Open Markets this way, and now have my own personal gallery hanging for sale at MusicalArts Hampton, NH location. I’ve seen everything from “Mom n Pop” craft stores to larger office buildings. It’s worth a look in my opinion.
The moral of the story: If you want people to see and hopefully buy your photographs, you have to get out there and show it. It won’t do you any good sitting unseen on your computer. If you insist on waiting for people to find your work by accident, so be it. I’ll be enjoying the fruits of my labor, soaking up every last compliment, and enjoying the increased image sales.