How to Sell Photos to Fine Art Galleries

How you sell photos to fine galleries depends not only on your ability and expertise as a photographer but also on your ability to network and make connections with other people in the industry. Here is what you need to do to break into this very lucrative area of selling photographs.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Stock Photos
  • Presentation Material
  • Resume
  • Contact Database

Step 1 - Understand: What is Fine Art?

In order to sell your photography, you need to know what it means to have something that could be considered fine art. Don't waste your time putting together an abundance of photos without understanding what this means. In its broadest sense, fine art is any piece of artwork that someone would purchase and mount on their walls in their houses, offices or vacation spots. They are displays of artistic talent and style.

Step 2 - Pick Galleries

Using a phone book or an internet search, find art galleries that are in your local vicinity, and write them down.  Tour all of the galleries to get a sense of the pieces they display and purchase. Some may display very modern works of art; other galleries may focus entirely on sculptures rather than photographs. Pick the galleries that focus more on your expertise. This will ensure that you spend your time wisely and maximize your return.

Step 3 - Contact the Galleries

Find out who the decision-maker is. Contact them on the phone, and meet with them in person. Do whatever you need to start a dialogue, and attempt to make a good impression. It would serve you well to foster a relationship. In the art world, there is a mix of business and pleasure. You need to understand both. This portion of your business depends more on your ability to be social than it does on your photography. Kick up a smile and get involved with the other person.

Show them your photography; specifically the photos that relate to the type of art they display in the gallery.

Step 4 - Offer to Display for Free

Before a gallery will pay for your work of art, they may be much more comfortable with allowing you to display your work and then offer a price for it. They will ask for a percentage of sale for allowing you to show your wares. Once you begin to develop a track record of sales, the art gallery will be much more comfortable with purchasing your art ahead of time, rather than displaying it and waiting for it to sell.

Step 5 - Be Selective

Be selective with the art gallery you choose. Make sure that you display your photographs in a select few places rather than many places. It is always preferable to be exclusive to a couple of venues. This way, you establish your limited presence as a specialist rather than as a generalist. This will help you command a much higher price when you sell your photographs.