Fine Art America

Hi all.

As promised in my last blog post, this one is about Fine Art America.

If you read back, you’ll see that I’ve decided to take a 2 pronged attack on promoting (and hopefully selling) my photography.

The first is via micro-stock.  For this I’ll be using Dreamstime (see previous posts).

However, for the pictures I have taken (and will take) which I consider to be worthy of fine art, i.e. I think there is the possibility that someone might like to hang one on their wall, I am now using Fine Art America. Here’s why.

Time Saving

Fine Art America offers me a lot of flexibility.  Firstly it offers many domain names.  The ones that are relevant to me are:

www.fineartamerica.com
www.fineartdownunder.com
www.finearteurope.com
and
www.fraser-mcculloch.artistwebsite.com

If you click on any of the above links, you will find my content.  It is identical.  For example, I could upload a photograph to www.finearteurope.com and it was also appear on all the rest. Effectively this gives me 4 websites in 1.  Actually there are even more.

Why is this important to me?  I am from Edinburgh, Scotland and now live in Port Macquarie, Australia.  My older work is predominantly from Scotland, and mainland Europe but my work going forwards will be predominantly from Australia.  This means I can provide a link that looks relevant to my potential customers.

It is not a personal website.  Is this not a bad thing?

Yes and No in my opinion. 

People like dealing with the little guy, it gives them direct contact with the ‘artist’, but they also want convenience and a good experience.

I have direct experience in being the content controller of a website.  I don’t consider myself a techy (I think that should be techie?), but I know some stuff.  Most of all, I know how much work is involved in getting your website just how you would like it.

Obviously, the finished product is better (in my opinion) but the time it takes you to get it there is massive. Time that could be better spent taking more photographs (the thing that you enjoy!) or promoting your work (which is enjoyable when you get to engage with people that like what you do).

I also benefit from being in the same location as hundreds/thousands of other extremely talented artists. The very same reason the you’ll find 3 car dealers or 3 fast food shops in the same location.  Will someone come looking for a Mercedes and go home with a BMW? Possibly…but it will also work the other way around.

Let me list a few other key benefits for me.

Cost – So far, it has not cost me anything (other than time).  There are premium features but I don’t want or need them (for now)

Edit:  FAA only let you have 25 images online before you have to pay an annual fee (currently $30).  I’ve just reached that number and am happy to pay the $30, but it’s worth noting it as a downside!

Product Options – FAA make their money (actually they’ll often make more than the artist) from offering a variety of different product options i.e. canvas, framed prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, greetings cards etc.

Delivery – Done by FAA

I Set My Pricing – FAA have standard pricing on all their products, but I set the amount I wish to make on each sale.  Is your photograph worth $5, $50, $500?  You decide.  My advice would be to take a look at what other people are charging and set your pricing accordingly.

Other (free) functions I’ve not used yet.
Event Promotion
Press Releases
E-mail Marketing
Facebook Shopping Cart
etc.

Downsides

The big downside for me, is that all of the printing is done out of the US.  While this is fine for users/customers in the US, it is not great for the rest of us.  There is a time lag on your order being fulfilled, and there is the not insignificant issue of delivery costs.

There are 2 things I (in Australia) can do about this.  Wait for FAA to appoint an Australian printer (I would think/hope this is just a matter of time).

Or….have an account with Zenfolio (who do have Australian printers). For me, it is not yet worth the time or money to do this…but it may be worth it for others.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Fraser

ps – If you wanted to become my first FAA customer, here is a link to my work. 😉

Arthurs Seat to the Ochil Hills

Combining Stock Photography and Fine Art

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, but I figure it’s better to only blog when I actually have something to say, rather than because I think I should be blogging.

2 bits of news from me.  Firstly, I sold my 2nd photograph on Dreamstime.  Here’s the pic:

Edinburgh Festival Fireworks

This earned me a whopping $2.87…I’ll let you be the judge of its merits or lack of them.

I was however pleased, it showed me that it is possible – even with all the competition that exists – for me to create a market for my photographs.  But…back in the real world, that is 2 sales in 3 months making me a grand total of $7.21.  Based on my simple calculations, I’ll only have to live to 34,674 to become a millionaire.

Now, it’s not all about the money for me, but it’s not irrelevant.  I also thought about how I would feel if someone bought (what I consider to be) one of my best photographs for $2, and the answer was, not great.

So, I have decided that although I will still keep the Dreamstime account, I will only be uploading images that (I) consider to be stock type images, and not the ones that I consider to have some artistic merit.  I still intend to keep the stock photos exclusive to Dreamstime (for now).


Fine Art to me is simply something that someone may want to hang on their wall, and my chosen route for that will be Fine Art America

This will be the topic of my next post…but must get back to the day job for now.

All the best,
Fraser

Make it Easy

We all have busy lives, therefore if you’re looking to provide a product or service to someone you’ve got to make it easy for them. It’s in your own self-interest and much more convenient for your consumer (genuine win-win). Photography is no different to all businesses in this sense, so you must treat it the same.

How does this apply to me.

As you may already know I have a Google+ page and a stock photography account with Dreamstime. So what is the best way to leverage the strengths that these two established services offer me.

First of all you need to engage with Google Communities. Here are just a few that I’m a member of.

Amazing Places to See
The World of Photography
Seascape Photography

As I write this, between these 3 alone they have more than 750,000 members. I’m actually currently a member of 24 communities (I’ve not done the sums…or ‘the math’).

Second, you shouldn’t join communities just because they have a lot of members. Sure…this is a way to get to a lot of people, but it’s also a way to hack off a lot of people who have no interest in what you’re doing (likewise, you probably have no interest in what they are doing). Join communities in which you have a genuine interest…that way, you’ll enjoy participating (that’s what it’s all about after all).

Next you need to engage with these communities. Comment on other people’s work and thoughts, share their work where you think that it deserves it, and most importantly POST YOUR OWN photographs.

Don’t just spam with all the photos you’ve ever taken of your dog in the back yard. Be your own critic. Does it meet the theme of the community? Would I like it if someone else showed me? Do you consider it to be one of your better/best photos. If the answer to all of these is yes, SHARE SHARE SHARE, the chances are that you’re not alone.

Don’t get too hung up on Likes, Shares etc. some people will like it and not say, others will share other people’s work all day. If someone does take time out to comment or share, thank them. A thank you still goes a long way!

Use hashtags sparingly. I recently posted this photo to a G+ community with the following details
Glenfinnan Reflections, Loch Shiel, Scotland
#visitscotland #scotlandphotography #harrypotter #lochshiel #reflectionphotography #scotlandphotos

Glenfinnan Reflections

Use the +symbol (i.e. +Fraser McCulloch) if you want to share a photo with a particular person.

Finally…and this is the most important one…provide a link to wherever a person should go to buy your photograph should they want to.

Personally, I don’t like to do this direct on the community page, but rather on the photo itself.  Yes, I may get a few less clicks as a result, but I want to be in the sell (not hard sell) business.

I’d be interested to know the techniques you use to Make it Easy for your customers.

Have a great weekend.

Fraser

Make it Personal

It seems the most obvious of things to say about a blog, and the whole point of the blog in the first place, but I can see how it would be very easy to get caught in the trap of just regurgitating what other people have to say.

If I ever do that…please tell me!

So this is my third post.  By the very nature of it, your first post is to noone.  Then somehow someone picks it up and then you have a ‘follower’…and after that it’s supposed to grow (I assume).

I wrote my first post, and noone read it.  You get basic stats from Blogger about page impressions etc. and the only impressions I had had were from me!  🙂  I then worked out how to turn off me and then I had none.  So that was slightly deflating.

As a few days went on I had a few pages impressions, all from the USA (which I know isn’t me…I live in Australia).

Then I mentioned on a Facebook group “Breakfast Stock Club” that I was going to write a blog.  I was slightly concerned that Bonnie Caton – the lady that runs the group – might have not liked someone ‘advertising’ themselves on her page.  How wrong was I.  Bonnie then wrote me a message to say that she’d feature my blog in her newsletter that Friday!  She was as good as her word.

So what you want to know now is what impact it had…get to the point Fraser!

Well on Thursday I’d had a few views.   As of 5 minutes ago I’d had 167 page views, 5 followers (hi Diane, Larry, Nancy, Ashley and Patrice) 3 Google+ adds and 1858 views on my Google+ page.

Don’t worry, I appreciate that these numbers are still extremely small compared to the following of others, but it just shows what a bit of networking, posting, and sharing ideas can achieve in a short space of time in the social networking age.

Next time I’ll talk about keywording tips that’ll save you time (but not that much as I’ve got to go).

Have a good Monday.

Fraser

Making Money from Photography

The title is exciting, the reality is not.

I made $4.34!

Ok ok, so I’m not going to get rich quickly (or at all) but it was incredibly rewarding to have a stranger part with actual cash for a photo that I took.

If you’re interested, this is it:

Perth Skyline

 

So what do you think?  My opinion, it’s clean it’s simple it’s not earth-shattering and it’s not going to make the cover of National Geographic, but it does mean I can change my title from Amateur Photographer to Professional Photographer (albeit a very poorly paid one).

Actually it’s got nothing to do with the title or the money, it’s about the motivation gained from a stranger (not a family member or friend who wants to be nice). 

So…I joined Dreamstime on May 9th 2014, I uploaded approximately 230 photos, I had 171 accepted and on June 3rd 2014 I made a sale.

Now, I’ve no way of knowing whether that is normal, better than normal or worst than normal, but it is my experience, and that’s what I’m here to share.

Hope it’s of interest.


Fraser

Where to Start a Blog

I’ve never written a blog before.  I suppose it’s just a diary that other people read.  That’s weird.

Well here’s mine.

My name’s Fraser McCulloch.  I live in NSW, Australia and I’m 34.  I’m married and have a 2 year old daughter.  Life is great, but tough.

I’m originally from Edinburgh, Scotland but moved to Australia in 2013.  My wife’s an Aussie and I guess that makes our daughter a Scaussie.

When living in Scotland, I did the things that you’re meant to do.  You know, a normal job with a monthly salary.  I did ok, actually I did better than ok, financially, but my heart was never in it.

When we moved to Australia, it was a great opportunity for me to make a change…to do something different…but I didn’t know what.  I said I was open minded, but I didn’t really know what that meant.  Was I going to be a postman???

A year and a bit on, I’m still not sure.  I have been working 6/7 long days a week for a start-up business.  We are making some money but we’re not yet being paid.  It’s been a long year!  I might talk about it at some point, but not today.

My main reason for writing this is that I wanted to talk about photography, or more specifically, my experience of photography. 

Much like everyone else, I have been taking pictures all of my life.  My first camera looked a bit like this.

…I’m old!

I really love it, but for some reason, the creative industries never seemed like a proper job.  It’s taken me 34 years to work out…I don’t want a proper job.

Anyway, about a month ago I finally pulled my finger out and submitted some of my photos to a stock agency.  Some even got accepted.

‘Accepted’ means they are now displayed on their website, not that anyone has bought one.  That’ll be another matter.  So, on here, I’m going to keep track of how it goes (or doesn’t).  If you want to join me for the journey, you’re very welcome.

Cheers,
Fraser 🙂

Capturing moments, just as they are