Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Big Picture: Taking Your Photography to the Next Level

Welcome to The Big Picture!!

Mission Statement: I'd like to use this blog as a forum for advanced-amateur/semi-professional photographers to share their work and exchange ideas related to the presentation of their photos - whether it be for exhibition or sale, or simply for their living room wall. There are plenty of resources out there to help people take better pictures; this blog is geared toward a business, not a technical, point of view; i.e. you've built up a nice little portfolio of work, what's next?

My name is Eric Ryder and I am a photographer and consultant, by trade. I have a permanent presence in a well-regarded gallery in the Napa Valley and several other venues, as well as my professional website, Portfolio.

Every week, I'll feature a photographer and their work, selected from links posted on this blog, (so visit often and add your link!). As a community we will comment on not only your work, but answer your business-related questions and concerns. You can post your online photo sharing link -- Flickr, PBase, etc -- or photography-based website, as well as a note about your goals in the Comment section of this post.

This blog is not intended for the uber-professional, yet I welcome your insights and encouragement for those who have good material, but need help getting to the next level.

Among the kinds of questions I'd like to address here are:

• What kind of documentation do I need when selling fine art?
• Where can I realistically sell my work?
• What sizes should I start with?
• What materials should I be using?
• What can I do myself, and what should I pay someone else to do?
• How can I save money on materials?
• How do I market my work?
• How much money should I expect to make?
• How much will it cost me to mount and frame my work?
• General tips for getting your work out there.

Personally, I spent close to $10,000 getting started, (not including camera and lenses), selling my work in a few venues. A large amount of it was wasted because I didn’t understand the business. I invested in the wrong frames, mats, glass, etc. In a variation of Murphy’s Law, everything I could do wrong, I did. In spite of my research, I was unable to find the answers to some fairly basic questions. Thus I took forays I shouldn’t have: shortcuts, cheaper materials, paying someone to do the work I could have done myself - if I’d only known how.

This was my dream only a few years ago. Below are pictures of my work in the Blue Heron Gallery in Yountville, CA, where they are currently exhibited and sold.

To summarize: This blog is an attempt to help all photographers out there that want to get their work into the marketplace. The odds are stacked against us unless we can help each other create an online presence and cross-link each other. This will boost our search engine rankings and drive business to our web sites. But, you have to have a good product to offer. This blog aims to help you help yourself, and in the doing so, help us help each other. My book is a starting point, but you may be beyond that and may be ready to link in here already. Post a link in your Comment and add my link - either to ticket2ryder.blogspot.com or to www.ticket2ryder.com - on your site, (if that's an option). I'll post your link to the Links section of this blog, with your permission.

It takes a village! I hope you'll share your own work and stories. Welcome Home!

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