How to Sell Your Fine Art

Don’t you wish you could sell your fine art as easy as you sold that VIP Beyonce ticket to Claire down the street? Well it behooves me to inform you that it’s completely possible. And we found real tips from real professionals on how to do so. This week at Silber Studios, we have scoured the Bay area for the best of the best in the Fine Art Gallery business. By really digging to find the most esteemed gallery owners, we have found a gold mine (in my humble opinion) of information, to share with YOU on how to sell your own fine art work. It truly can be tough, when trying to sell your own personal work, but let’s see if we can help.

As a photographer myself, I’m constantly asking questions, is it even good enough to sell? How much should I sell it for? Should I sell it framed? What size sells best? Then after all of these questions fill your head, if you’re anything like me, you end up with a headache and you’re questioning yourself as an artist altogether.

Well, STOP. We’ve found some real answers! We’ve spoken with a number of gallery representatives from the Bay area and  put together a ten list of those galleries we chose to work with on this project. So first, we’ll share that with you, linked with their website. Then, the answers to your ever-longing questions. Feast away.

  1. Ansel Adams Gallery - Yosemite Valley, CA
  2. Silicon Valley Contemporary – San Jose, CA
  3. Fraenkel Gallery – San Francisco, CA
  4. Mumm Napa Gallery – Napa Valley, CA
  5. Museums of Los Gatos – Los Gatos, CA
  6. Arthaus Gallery – San Francisco, CA (Rated #1 Gallery in Bay area for 2014!)
  7. 111 Minna Gallery – San Francisco, CA
  8. Hangart Gallery – San Francisco, CA
  9. Scott Nichols Gallery – San Francisco, CA
  10. Wolfe Contemporary Art – San Francisco, CA




After speaking to the galleries, we realized much of the information was the same when it came to sales. Are you shocked? Didn’t think so. Artwork is unlike any other e-commerce product. The same rules don’t apply. You buy a picture because you LIKE it. You don’t buy a skirt JUST because you like it, you buy it because it makes your butt look good and it has a good return policy “just in case.” And the biggest predicament of them all? PRICE. Everyone is looking for a reasonable price in the market.

Depending on the materials used, the time put in, how you made the image, etc, is how you determine your price. Don’t you dare undersell your work. But don’t get fancypants on us and try to sell your 4×6 diptych of two dogs for $500 a pop. Truth is, your work is probably going to be worth more than you’re selling it for, nine times out of ten. Unless you meet Mr. Millionairepants, and in that case, write my name down because I’m going to need you to give it to him. However, that’s not always the case. Sell your work for a price you feel comfortable with. Re-read what I said up there about underselling your work. Go.


Also, list a short anecdote about how and why you took the picture with the image itself. Studies have shown that people are drawn to images that have a story. It’s so important as an artist to know what’s happening in the world around you. Do your research so you know what you’re up against, if you truly want to sell your work consistently.

Stay tuned for part two of How to Sell Your Fine Art!





Images References:

This week in Advancing Your Photography, we sat down with Deanne Fitzmaurice, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer who is based in San Francisco, California. She specializes in journalism stills and motion. Her work has appeared in National Geographic, Time Magazine, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated , Men’s Journal, Newsweek, The Economist, Stern, GEO and numerous other publications. Over the years, she has partnered with many non-profits such as NPR, UCSF, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. She has also created multimedia pieces for NBC, Wharton, ACLU and her corporate clients include Netflix, Target, Avon, and Adobe, to name a few.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.54.58 PMDeanne sat down with Marc Silber and talked about her approach to photography. She says, “When I pick up a camera, I try to make a human connection with my subject, and try to humanize an issue.” A while back she had the opportunity to photograph a soldier from Iraq, who, like so many others, had suffered from numerous injuries. As a result, his life was altered and he and his family were deeply affected. Deanne, being the sensitive photographer that she is, went deep into understanding who this soldier was inside and out. “We had to find a soldier who would let us into his life.” It was at Walter Reid Medical Center where she met Brent Bretz who had lost both legs and medically had much to overcome, while also trying to get his life back together. “By gaining his trust, he felt comfortable letting us in his life.”, she says. “After all, he had to put up with us being there,  we wanted to capture the moments. We wanted to connect and care about the issue. “

When asked if it is better to plan shoots before going on location, Deane says that although it’s important to have a general plan, she notes that one needs to be willing to let things change. “Things don’t go as you expected, and it should be that way. Unexpected things happen and sometimes it’s a blessing while other times it’s a curse.”, she smiles.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 6.56.52 PMWith respect to going Pro, she says anyone can be a pro as long as they are driven. She agrees that it is difficult but if you’ve got the passion then it will happen! “It has to be a part of you. Get up in the morning and think about what you want to photograph for the day. If you just dabble every now and then, you won’t make it. But if you wake up, go read about photography, try new things, subscribe to news on photos, seminars, and constantly educate yourself, little by little you will get there!”, she says. Aside from hard work, she also stresses the importance of networking. Showing your work to various people, attending workshops, and knowing all the important people in the business are ways to make great connections. But above all, Deanne says be passionate!


Powerful Women in Photography

This week in Advancing Your Photography, we focused on two powerful women in photography: Bambi Cantrell and Anna Kuperberg. Research performed by Kodak a few years ago revealed that 90% of the world’s photographs are purchased by women. To Bambi Cantrell, this is not only an astronomical number but it also provides insight into why women buy photos to begin with. “Women are the keepers of history. They document their lives and the lives of their families through photographs”, she says.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 12.13.46 AM

About 25 years ago, Cantrell began her photography career and she remembers how there were virtually no women in this line. “It was completely a male dominated field because it was deemed “technical” and “scientific.” “These days, women are dominating the field because we are genuinely interested in people, we are very social,” she remarks.

Cantrell, who got her first camera when she was 14, always knew she wanted to be a photographer. In fact, if her parents wanted her to stay out of trouble, all they needed to do was put a photo album in front of her and she could engage herself for hours on end. When Cantrell got married, she had her friend take pictures of her wedding because she had a “nice camera.” Looking back, she now sees the inanity of that statement. “It doesn’t matter what camera you have! Cameras don’t take pictures, people do” she reveals.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 12.24.57 AM

Anna Kuperberg is another fine example of a female photographer who truly understands the essence of the art form. “The job of the photographer is to create a framework that the person is allowed to be”, she says. Although she believes that the photographer’s personality is always present in a photograph, it is the aspect of their personality that resonates. She feels that the expression in their photograph must resonate with the photographer. The way to do this is by being interested, curious and totally tuned in to the moment. “I think of the process in the way a dog looks at a tennis ball. There is this complete focus with regards to where the ball is, and not where they think its going to be.”

To check out this week’s video in Advancing Your Photography, click here. Also, stay tuned for more educational videos in the coming weeks!



Perseverance: Advice for the Aspiring Photographer

Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus)

This week, Advancing Your Photography featured the SF based photographer, Jim Goldstein. As a professional photographer he specializes in outdoor and nature photography. He is in particular, passionate about the environment and is well known for infusing elements of the natural world in his commercial and editorial work.

Interestingly, Jim’s past consists of genetic research and being a web-strategist for San Francisco based tech companies. However, his passion from childhood had remained intact and in the light of the birth of social media sites, Jim caught on and started to share his work with the world. Today he is a well established photographer who produces some of the highest quality photography for both commercial clients and fine art photography collectors.

Guggenheim Museum

Did he become a fantastic photographer over night? When asked what his biggest hurdle was as an up and coming photographer, Jim smiles and says, “To be quite honest, myself!”. He recalled the days when he took his mother’s camera and went to Yosemite to take pictures and then coming home only to find that none of the photos turned out as he had hoped. Did that stop him? Well, almost but it was only through the course of time that the photographer realized that while all the times he thought he had “failed,” he was actually developing other skills in the process.

chinatown-sfSo what about his views on mentally preparing for a shoot? Goldstein says that the number one problem that photographers face is that they don’t change gears quickly, which is totally normal. You can’t always instantly find inspiration at the venue where you are setting up. Yet the key according to Goldstein is that you must free your mind and focus on the task at hand. In fact it’s a good idea to even reacquaint yourself with your equipment, know what you have to work with, and make sure you don’t make basic mistakes during the process. A photographer must know that your image ISN’T just a click away. You must experiment, study subjects, study surroundings, and be completely familiar with the atmosphere that surrounds you.

As for advice for getting better photos, it’s a simple straightforward answer: Enjoy what you do and keep at it! To check out some of his work, Check out Jim Goldstein’s page here. Recently, Jim also published a book on photography and it’s available on InspiredExposure.

Getting Your Photography Groove on

Beatles on Ed Sullivan

The Beatles on Ed Sullivan

Watching the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, I couldn’t help but remember all those images that coincide with the soundtrack of my life that was generated by those 4 amazing artists.

Do you remember Joe Holmes telling me the major inspiration for his photography was born out  of the Beatles’ last concert  in San Francisco at Candlestick park?  I must say this really surprised me: I expected him to tell me it was some sort of fairly conservative element. Instead he said it was the sheer raw enthusiasm that was being generated by the Beatles, plus the over the top frenzy of the moment. He said that even he started screaming at the top of his lungs. Beatle-mania propelled him to find that same ignition of creativity in his own art.

You probably know that Ansel Adams was on a career path to be a concert pianist. Then one summer he discovered photography in Yosemite which for him ignited a creative sunburst. He finally had to make the choice between photography and music as his chosen profession, as he put it, you can’t serve two mistresses. He transposed the discipline he had found in his studies of classical music to photography, which is why you see in his work such precision. Over and over he drew from the wellspring of his musical roots—even saying that the negative was the “score” and the print the “performance.”

You find so many photographers whose roots go back to music in some way,  how about Annie Leibovitz for example? Remember she got her start shooting for RollingStone, the first mag centered around modern music. She talks about the importance of music as a key element in her shoots to set the mood she’s looking for or or simply to keep the set in the groove.

I’d love to hear your connection to music and how it’s influenced your work.

Bambi Cantrell is one of the world’s most decorated and sought after professional photographers of our time. She’s been recognized by everyone from Microsoft to American Photo Magazine and was the first woman to be honored with the prestigious “Golden Eye” award from the Russian Federation of Professional Photographers. Clearly she’s got the technical side of her game in order.

But we feel one of the main reasons why she’s shot for The Estee Lauder Family, legendary basketball player Gary Payton, and members of the Royal Family, Dubai, UAE is her ability to really make her subjects comfortable. The ability to connect plays a huge role in getting truly personal shots that make her portraits really resonate.

This interview with Camille Seaman is packed with so much goodness. She talks about using natural lighting in shooting subjects as varied as giant icebergs to TIbetans who don’t use lights indoors at all during the day. More importantly what really struck a chord is how WHO a photographer is plays a central role in their work.

Felix Kunze: Gold Medals and Holy Grails.

Just a beautifully composed shot by Felix Kunze using Nikon's "Holy Grail"


We recently had a chance to catch up with our friend, celebrity portraiture photographer Felix Kunze. This was no small feat as someone who’s highly in demand like Felix is a globetrotter by necessity. He might be found in New York assisting Annie Leibovitz with her work one day and in Europe shooting a fashion campaign for Danish fashion brand Atelier Bogelund-Jensen the next.

Felix recently returned to the UK where he covered the London 2012 Olympics this past summer. Though he was “in the throes of London Fashion week madness”, he was gracious enough to make some time to chat. As always Felix was good for an interesting story (or three.) He told us about some very interesting work he did for the cover story of Nikon Magazine. The two stars of the story were Double Olympic Gold Medalist rower, Pete Reed and Nikon’s 13mm f5.6 lens aka The Holy Grail. Here’s Felix in his own words :

On a cold November morning in 2012, I attempted something that arguably no-one had ever done before.

I was given an assignment to photograph a portraiture session with an extremely wide-angle and rare lens; Nikon’s 13mm f/5.6 rectilinear marvel, often dubbed the ‘Holy Grail of lens design’.In simple terms, this is a wide-angle lens that has almost no distortion, a problem that most wide lenses suffer from. The distortion can cause a kind of warped feeling, as if things in the edge of the image are stretched. This $30,000 behemoth employs some glass to counteract this effect. It is designed for architectural photography and has wide applications in landscape. Proving difficult and expensive to manufacture, only about 350 of them were ever sold. The lens is no longer in production.

It’s unusual to shoot portraiture with a lens such as this, it requires me to be very very close to the subject, not made any easier by my decision to shoot part of the editorial on the rushing river Thames after heavy rain.

We chose to base our shoot in rowing because the long lines of oars, boats and the riverbank would demonstrate the capabilities of the lens.

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Pete Reed (Beijing 2008 & London 2012 in the Coxless Four) was kind enough to undertake this crazy task with us. Pete is a keen photographer himself and was an absolute sport despite the low temperatures and challenging conditions.

It was definitely an unusual shoot – Felix’s full thoughts are expressed in the full article found in the latest issue of Nikon Owner Magazine. Below is the behind the scenes video you can click to watch:

Behind the scenes with Felix Kunze shooting for Nikon Magazine

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  With love in the air we’re bringing you an interview with San Francisco based wedding photographer Anna Kuperberg. Anna’s work has been featured on the cover of Photo Magazine and Professional Photographer. This year she was voted one of the 10 best wedding photographers by American Photo magazine.

Pic of the day:

This picture was taken by the Associated Press’ chief photographer in Pakistan, Muhammed Muheisen. Apparently theres a brouhaha in Pakistan between conservatives boycotting Valentines day and Romantics who are striking back with pink teddy bears and flowers. Story here

How am I celebrating the day with my special lady? By taking her on a group date: Me, her and Bruce Willis in “A Good Day to Die Hard” .

Why be cliche and go with candles when you can really turn up the romance with HUGE EXPLOSIONS ? Apparently CNN agrees with me.

Michael Burnett: How to Shoot Skaters

This video from Tony Hawk’s RIDE youtube channel featuring Michael Burnett is all about composition when shooting skateboarders. One of the most important things to make sure of is that you get both the takeoff and the landing so that the viewers can see a story of how the skater got in the air.

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