In its few months of existence, Retired and Inspired has landed us a big assignment, generated three large bids, solidified scores of portfolio showings, and produced many new Web leads and contacts.
If you have a passion for what you do and want to share your images with a broad range of people, you can have the best of both worlds if you combine the passion of your creativity with the awesome power of marketing.
Rick Souders is owner of Souders Studios (www.SoudersStudios.com), an award-winning food-and-beverage studio located in Denver, Colorado. The studio shoots for major brands around the globe, with Souders frequently traveling to lecture on photography, creativity, and the power of self-promotion and branding.
Multipurpose Ad and Fine Art Images Create Leads
Commercial Images Draw Fresh Eyes in Gallery Setting
by John Sealander
As a commercial photographer who also exhibits fine art photography in galleries, I have often wondered if I could somehow combine these two activities in a way that would effectively increase my studio revenues, while helping me gain wider exposure for my gallery shows.
After a couple of years of experimentation, it’s become clear that the two specialties have many points in common. In fact, almost any commercial photographer can benefit from recognizing and exploiting those images that can reside just as comfortably in a fine art gallery as they do in your customer’s annual report.
Not all images can lead a dual life, but many can. These days, whenever a project is complete, I review all the images for possible inclusion in future gallery shows. I make sure to invite my commercial customers to all gallery openings and put them on the mailing list to receive promotional postcards and invitations from the galleries. Whenever the subject matter is appropriate, I try to include selected commercial photos in my gallery shows.
Clients love it. They are often amazed at how beautiful the photo from their magazine ad looks when they see it in a gallery setting, carefully reproduced as a large-scale, archival giclée print. In many cases, after seeing the gallery images, they will order additional pigment-ink giclée prints to hang in their own offices.
For example, the photo of the three flags at sunset began its life as the visual for a full-page magazine ad. It was then included in a gallery show that ran for three months at a small Dallas museum. After the show concluded, the client purchased additional framed prints for their corporate and branch offices. By including the image in a gallery show, the total revenue it generated more than tripled.
The process works in reverse, too. I now use catalogs from gallery shows and postcard mailers as portfolio pieces when prospecting for new assignments. There are occasions when art directors want to use a gallery image in their ad concepts. It’s similar to buying stock photography, but much more exclusive.
Clients now often ask me if they can hang my gallery images in their businesses between shows. This has become a great marketing tool, resulting in additional business for the studio at little or no additional cost. I now have photos hanging in restaurants, retail establishments, and corporate conference rooms all over town. The extra exposure has resulted in interesting new assignments and actually reduces my storage costs for the framed photos.
The idea of merging fine art and commercial photography seems to be a win-win proposition for everyone. Clients like the idea of their visuals being elevated to the status of “art.” By multipurposing images, the studio has been able to increase total revenues by almost 20 percent. And the galleries seem happy, too.
If you have a good client and select the right images, commercial photography can definitely be showcased as art.
John Sealander of Sealander & Company (www.sealander.com), in Dallas, Texas, has developed award-winning images for ad agencies and popular brands for more than 35 years. In 1990, he started Sealander & Company, a production company and photography studio. He has worked as an architectural designer for Fred Bassetti in Seattle, produced documentary films for PBS, shot commercial photography for True Redd’s “Great Shooting Gallery” in Dallas, and taught writing courses at SMU’s Academy of Visual Communication.
Rebuilding a Portrait Business in a New Town
Portrait Gallery in Children’s Store Turns Corner for New Business
by Katie Garlock
In October 2003, I sold my Ohio portrait studio—lock, stock, and cameras—and my husband and I relocated to northern Virginia. After a year of working in an office, I knew I belonged back behind the camera full-time. I had to earn a living with no studio, backgrounds, or props, in an area with more than 150 photographers listed in the Yellow Pages.