Many people have asked for my impression of Fine Art America (FAA), which I just joined a few weeks ago. So here are my thoughts about Fine Art America and selling your pictures.
I had considered doing the many art shows, flea markets, etc., that we have here in the San Diego area each year. With all the costs involved, e.g., gas, wear & tear, inventory, etc., I decided there had to be a better way. So I looked at all of the print-on-demand online stores and settled on Fine Art America. Zazzle will be my next print-on-demand online store.
After doing that, all I had to do was market myself to my target audience, which is Realtors and home owners. Realtors is a pretty good market, but home owners even more so. For anyone and everyone!
Here’s a secret to marketing to home owners once you have a print-on-demand store set up: Drive your neighborhood and look around. Drive rich neighborhoods and look around. Not saying that your neighborhood might not be a rich neighborhood, too!
While you’re looking around, note what people like.
Do you specialize in car photos? If you see a cool car sitting in the driveway, write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a cool car printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of cars in your Cars Gallery at Fine Art America.
Do you specialize in flora? If you see a house with a ton of roses, or nandinas, or agapanthus, or, or, or…… write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a rose printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of roses in your Rose Gallery at Fine Art America.
Do you specialize in dogs and cats? If you see a house with evidence of a dog or cat, write down the address and send the occupant a postcard with a cool picture of a dog or cat printed on it and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of dogs and cats in your Dog and Cat Galleries at Fine Art America.
Do you specialize in events? When you go to an event, canvass the neighborhoods surrounding the event, writing down addresses, and send a postcard to all the homes with a cool picture of the event and a link to all of your wonderful pictures of events in your Events Gallery at Fine Art America.
Even though we think our homes are private, they can tell us a lot about the people who live there, especially the extraordinarily wealthy because they love their homes, and there’s no other reason to have a 9,300-sf home other than love of material things.
I specialize in Southern California, mostly San Diego. I like to go wandering looking for unique areas, events, and real estate. Several months ago I got lost at the beach in La Jolla and found the La Jolla Beach Mansion, selling most recently in November 2009 for $18.15 million. I took 27 pictures of it. I went home and had Photoshop’s Photomerge function create a panorama of the house. Then I turned it into Photographic Art, which is my specialty. Photographic Art allows me to modify pictures, sometimes substantially, like removing cars, utility wires, other houses, people, the bottom of ugly palm trees which look like telephone poles, etc. Then I use filters, actions, and plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom, PaintShop Pro, PhotoPaint, Photomatix, onOne, Nik, and a few others to make the picture look like it’s not a picture but a painting or something else unique.
Recently I uploaded it to Fine Art America. Then I sent a 5½x8½ postcard to the home. Four days later, someone stocked up on pictures of the house. They bought a 48×38 framed print for $334, the same size canvas print for $306, the same size acrylic print for $235, and the same size metal print for $195. They also bought 50 greeting cards for $78.95. Total: $1,149. My profit: $490. My investment: About $10 for gas, about $1 for printing and postage, and time to take the pictures and play around in the various digital editing programs I have.
Fine Art America does not charge you per item, nor do they take a percentage of your sale (technically). What they have is a base price that covers their costs. Then YOU decide what kind of profit you want on any specific item. Your markup is added to the base price to determine the final cost. You can easily set default prices for everything, and you can easily override default prices for any specific item.
Currently I’m in the process of getting as much stuff uploaded to Fine Art America as possible. Once I do that, then I can do some really serious marketing of events, homes, planes, trains, automobiles, landscapes, zoo animals, dogs and cats, flowers, trees, bushes, etc., etc., etc.
For Realtors, I will be advertising my work as close-of-escrow gifts (I do custom work for specific homes), anniversary gifts, birthdays, births, marriages, etc. The possibilities are endless, and by letting Fine Art America handle the inventory and sales problems, I can focus on what I do best: Photography and Photographic Art.
Fine Art America also sets you up with a web site that is directly linked to them. Mine is at http://1-russel-ray.artistwebsites.com/
Total cost for all the great benefits at Fine Art America? $30 annually. Not a typo. $30 annually. Photo Galleries, web site, sales, inventory, technical help (which is really responsive!), social networking links. On and on and on. $30 annually. Less than $3 a month.
Visit Russel Ray Photos.
Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #01458572
If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!