Saturday, December 06, 2008

And I Become a Professional Photographer

And I mean that in the most basic sense.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was invited to put up some of my photographs as filler for a coffee shop art gallery. That opportunity has blossomed somewhat, with fun results. My pictures have been displayed for over a week and since hanging them, I have learned a couple of valuable lessons.

On the day that I was to hang my pictures, a couple of cool things happened. First, one of my pics sold before I even hung it. A guy that used to be one of my biggest customers at Costco bumped into me at the coffee shop, saw one picture in particular, and paid me $40 for it on the spot. Thus, I entered the world of professional photography! This happened at a very opportune time because the people that were orchestrating the whole showing were there and took note that this guy that was a last minute invite was selling his work before they were even getting to the wall. A few minutes later I was told that I needed to raise my prices and that my photos were of a caliber that could get me more money than I was asking. I was also invited to become a permanent member of the artistic co-op and was told that as long as I could supply pieces, my pictures would be at every showing that was lined up for the group. Sweet!

The next cool thing that happened came about ten minutes later. Other photographers are shown in this shop and I was particularly impressed by one man who is a local professional photographer and was showing several very cool pictures. As it turns out, he was in the shop at the same time I was and one of the show's organizers knew him and introduced the two of us. He was a nice guy and gave me several pointers that I have started utilizing in my work. In my opinion, when you are looking at a picture, you should not be seeing a signature from the photographer because you are to be looking at a photo, not a signature. As it turns out, people are more likely to buy a work if it is numbered and signed. So from here on out, I am to get my pictures printed with borders so I can write the title on them and sign them. Numbering is optional but when people think they are getting something that is limited, they are more likely to pay more for it. Things I never thought of!

I am also learning the importance of framing. A good matching frame can sell the photo sometimes faster than the quality of the pic itself. This was the case for my first picture that sold. The frame matched it very well and added to the picture.

Notice how I said, "first picture that was sold", that is because I sold another one this morning to a lady who is also in my co-op. It was one that I took at Ben and Kristy's rehearsal picnic that has been getting attention and today it was snagged.

I am guessing two more of my pictures will sell, possibly three. There are three out of the ten that are hanging now that people speak highly of. If I sell one more picture, I will have paid for the printing and framing of all of the pictures and then a little bit of profit. Not too bad for a hobby.

One other related thing to note. It is a very weird thing to sit in a coffee shop and listen to people talk about your pictures when they do not know you are there listening. So far, it has been an ego boost. I wish someone would come in and bad mouth some of the pics because I would like to hear their criticism. Most of the criticism I get on my pics comes from friends and family and sometimes I wonder how much they sugar-coat the advice they give me.

Anywho, I am getting some recognition now and it feels pretty good. It is kind of funny but it's a pretty good feeling. Oh, if you want to see the pics and live near Boise, the pictures are hanging at Dawson's coffee shop on 8th St. and Bannock and will be there until the end of December.


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