ArtSmarts 101

David Duplessie. ©Tim AndersonThe Journey Begins…

How often have you as a creative person been plagued by indecision? By insecurity? By fear? ArtSmarts 101 is here to help you with all these enigmas that can almost (if we let them) stop you in your tracks and make learning and/or advancing in your chosen creative endeavor seemingly impossible.

Whether you are a painter, photographer, sculptor, doodler, or you spend your time building birdhouses, this blog may offer just what you need to take the next step(s).

Join me on a journey of discovery. For this first entry, let’s look at what it takes to build a successful photography career. As will happen with many of these posts they will be aimed at the creative process, without regard to the genre. Just edit the descriptive word to what it is you do (sculpture, painting, fabric arts, etc.).

Let’s do it!

After mentoring a wide range of photographers during the last few years I have come up with a compilation of what I think it takes to become a successful photographer in today’s photography marketplace.

You can choose to mix-and-match, but for the most part all the items on this list are pretty much necessary.
• A talent-based body of work ready to sell. (this means a defined visual approach around a specific subject with enough samples to build trust in potential clients.)
• A database of appropriate contacts (and a smaller more researched group of contacts for in person visits)
• 4-5 different marketing/sales channels including direct sales, social media: Facebook, newsletter, other
• Marketing materials that are visually branded to move the visual message forward business cards, flyers, sign-up sheets
• Perseverance: Whatever you do, do it consistently
• Patience (allowing for a 2-4 year timeline before seeing consistent, quantifiable results)

Quality Counts!

Once you decide that being a successful photographer is the path you want to follow, of course the primary thing you MUST have is quality images, not just in your opinion.
• Ask for opinions from a variety of people, not only photographers, but other artists as well.
• OK. Now that you know your work is good, what do you want to do with it?

Sell? Admire? Make your best friend jealous?
• Start building a data-base (email list) for future use
• Site or no site? This is a no-brainer. If you want to do something “real” with your work, you have to have a website, not Pinterest or Instagram or anything other than a real site.
• To build or not to build? In a past life if you were a programmer, then go ahead and brush up on your HTML and build your own site. If not, then a template-based site may be the ticket. It’s what I use.
• Shopping cart or PayPal?
• Join a peer group, one that resonates with you and your work and will offer positive insight on you work.
•  Work together to organize a group show at someone’s house…
• Subscribe to ALL the newsletters you can that focus on the information you want.

Read, read, read, read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you notice there was no mention of equipment? It all begins above the shoulders!

Plan the work, work the plan! ArtSmarts is here for you!