You Can Sell Your Art for $54,000

How I Sold My First Art Print and How You Can Do the Same Thing

I talk to many artists and creatives, and I hear the same comment very frequently.  “I hate sales and marketing!” or “I feel so sleazy when I try to sell my work”.  I understand that. I have attempted to sell things in my life that I was not passionate about, it is not pretty.  In this article I am going to teach you how You Can Sell Your Art and enjoy doing it.

Let Me Tell You a Story

Iconic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge
Iconic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Let me tell you the story of my most popular work of art.  Many of you know that my most popular image is the Iconic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge.

How did that image come about?

How did I figure out how to sell it?

My Background

Let me step back a little bit first.

I have known much of my life that I am creative, but I wasn’t trained as a creative.

In high school I studied all the technical college prep courses. You know, math, science etc.

All of my friends were on the college prep track.

I had not taken any art classes in high school, and I was basically illiterate.  I had read the cliff notes of “Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens and the only book I had read in it’s entirety was, Truman Capotes “In Cold Blood”  

My First Camera

By this point in my life, I had a little 110 cartridge camera that I use to capture family events and outings. But I wouldn’t call myself a photographer.

College

In college, I was a math major with a full ride Air Force ROTC scholarship. I had a 35 millimeter camera, and I was capturing some beauty and photographing college events. After college my camera went away.

Air Force

When I got in the Air Force, they made me into a meteorologist. I remember that I enjoyed chasing storms and seeing the immense beauty of them.

My wife took a photography class during this time, and I remember being intrigued with the creativity she was experimenting with.

Back to Minnesota

After a four year stint in the Air Force, we returned to Minnesota and the normal world. I use my technical skills to become a software engineer.

The kids started coming along and I bought a “pointed n shoot” camera for my wife so that she could be capturing our growing family. So after that, I stole the camera from her.

Back to Photography

At this point, the internet happened and I could see the amazing things people were creating and displaying in the early world of social media on places like flickr.com.  I knew I wanted to create beauty like they were doing.  I took a community ed. photography class and I realized all the “Real Photographers” were using digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs).  Ok, it must be time to upgrade the camera.

Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Now back to my story on the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge. My youngest brother knew I was getting pretty active in photography, and he thought it would be a great idea for me to photograph the Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge.  He wanted a picture of it for his home.

Capture the Image

He took me out for dinner one spring evening as payment for my first “commission”.

It was a lovely evening, and I was blessed with gorgeous light for sunset.

I spent a couple hours photographing the bridge as sunset was coming on.

Edit the Image

Next it was time to practice my skills of editing photos in photoshop.

I was learning the art of removing distractions, enhancing images, and making them into works of art.

Show My Art to the World

The next part is where all the real magic starts to happen.

You see with my analytical mind, I had figured out how to use social media tools and search engines. I had discovered how to get found online. I could post an article or an image and be on page 1 of the search engine by the next day. Once you start to get found, then people start giving you feedback.  Feedback is what teaches you what people love.

The Stone Arch Bridge image started getting a lot of very positive feedback.

Then My World Changed

Then something happened that completely changed my world.

Someone contacted me asking, “How much I would charge someone to completely rebrand their company using my image”?

I had no idea, so I contacted my brother in law to see if he had any wisdom on the topic.

He recommended that I set up an account on Getty Images, act like a buyer for an image like mine, and to see how much it would cost me to license that image.

My Image Is worth $54,000

I did that, and the query told me It would cost me $54,000 to license an image like that.

What, $54,000???

Right then, the light bulb went off in my head. I knew my images had value.

I knew I could sell them as prints, or I could license them over and over again.

It’s like being a music artist, who recorded a song, and then could license that song over and over again. Basically you get a royalty for what you have created.

Mind Blown!!

After I understood that, I realized I could repeat this process over and over again, and I can help others do the exact same thing.

I did not end up selling the Stone Arch Bridge image for $54,000 to my first client.  We haggled and then decided on a final price that still blew my mind.  But, I have sold or licensed that image hundreds of times and have made way over $54,000 on it.   The main point here is that you have to realize that your art work has way more value then you think it does.

Now Can You Sell Your Art?

When you’re communicating about something you made that you love, and you know other people love it, there is no reason to feel smarmy or sleazy about communicating the value of your creation to the world!!

All you are doing is showing the world what you have.

It is important to communicate your message to the right audience, But you find that audience based on the people that respond very positively to your work.

This does not have to be a difficult scary process.

I find it interesting how many people make this sales process way more difficult than it actually is.

Steps to Sell your Art

The steps in this process are.

  1. Create: Create meaningful beautiful work that you are proud of.
  2. Price Your Art: Figure out how to price your work. Do not under value it. That will destroy you creative energies. (I can help you with this)
  3. Display: Display your best work in an online gallery. (Check out my online gallery as an example: https://wayne-moran.pixels.com/ I can help you with this.)
  4. Create Your Sales Funnel: Use Social Media and email to communicate about your work as far and wide as possible.  Check out: Sales Funnel for Artists
  5. Respond to Feedback: Pay attention to what people say about your work, and display the work that creates the most emotional connection.

I know it may sound a bit overwhelming, but “Rome was not built in a day”, and “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. The most important thing that you can do is get started.  Then commit to taking some action every day.

Conclusion

I hope you find this helpful. There is nothing more rewarding than using your creativity in the best way possible, creating something you love, that moves people, and will outlast you.

If you would like some coaching on your photography or on the sales process, check out “Photography Lessons” for in person one on one mentoring.  If you have any questions, Contact Us.

And until next time, get out and capture the adventure.

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
moran.wayne@gmail.com