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:

Youtube Playbook: A Summary of Its Effectiveness

When John Green started the Youtube Channel “Crash Course”, he never expected to generate over 1.5 billion views, much less over 2 million followers. People around the globe upload videos and build online communities every day. Those who are successful in creating popular channels, become a model for other online communities to emulate in terms of strategy. Youtube offers a valuable “Playbook” that gives you great tips on practices and tactics to build a viewership for your channel. Some points that we found especially useful, and would like to share are:

1. Tent-pole-programming


Tent-pole programming means creating videos that correlate with popular events. From Food Creation to Fashion & Beauty, audiences are looking for holiday/event themed projects all the time. Creating content around specific events is essential to building a solid and faithful audience. For example, a channel for knitting could present great project ideas for Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Surf Channels can teach techniques that a celebrity surfer used to win the recent World Cup Series. The possibilities are numerous and with the help of tent-pole programming, you can connect with your audience further by tying your content to the events that matter to them.

2. Metadata and Thumbnail Optimization:

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 3.48.26 PMEver walked into a bookstore and been intrigued by a book just at the sight of the title? Creating catchy titles and descriptions are the first step to attracting a viewer. Using the keyword suggestion tool on Youtube, try to find a title that is both appealing and likely to get hits, so as to create a show-stopping title. As for thumbnails, an eye-catching image is the way to go. A great visual aid makes your viewer click and watch your video. So, make it attractive to get those viewership numbers up!

3. Channel Page Optimization:

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What also attracts a viewer to a page, is a sense of professionalism. The experience you create for a viewer is what stays and keeps them coming back for more. Channel page optimization is about making your channel a good experience for your audience, making it the go-to destination for both current and potential subscribers.

4. Cross Promotion & Collaboration:


When SNL features a celebrity once a week, two things are happening simultaneously. The show reaches out to fans of the guest celebrity (giving the show the opportunity to gain new followers), while the celebrity has a platform to promote their latest work. It’s a win-win situation, making it a great marketing strategy. Cross promotion & collaboration means working with other creators to cross promote content between channels. The reason why this works is because collaborating with and promoting other creators in the community, is a fantastic way to reach new audiences. Other YouTube creators are a critical part of your community on YouTube. So, create a strategy to cross-promote your content to relevant audiences. Find and reach out to channels with similar audiences for collaborations.

To read the Youtube Playbook in full detail, click here.




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.

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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.

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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!



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.

Erik Johansson is an amazing Photographer and Retoucher. He has some of the most creative photos you’ll ever see. In this TED talk he talks about how he comes up with his concepts and the process of taking an idea and turning it into an amazing image.





If you missed why I’m quoting excerpts from the book Damn Good Advice, by George Lois see my earlier post

George Lois Damn Good Advice

An artist, or advertising man, or anyone involved in a creative industry (or even noncreative professions such as a doctor, lawyer, electrician, factory worker, or president) without an idea, is unarmed. In the graphic arts, when that original idea springs out of a creative’s head and intuitions, the mystical and artful blending (or even juxtaposition) of concept, image, words, and art can lead to magic, where one and one can indeed be three.

But creating ideas without a work ethic to follow through is inconceivable to me

If you don’t burn out at the end of each day, you’re a bum! People watching me work ask me all the time why I’m not burnt out, how  (especially now at my age) I manage to keep going. The fact is, I’m totally burnt out at the end of each day because I’ve given myself totally to my work–mentally, emotionally, physically. When I head home at night I can’t see straight. But I love that feeling of utter depletion: It is an ecstatic sense of having committed myself to the absolute limit. But after recharging at night, I’m ready to go the next morning. Isn’t that what life is all about?


Damn Good Advice a book by George Lois

“Creativity can solve almost any problem—

the creative act,

the defeat of habit by originality,

overcomes everything”

George Lois

Buy the book


I want to introduce you to a book you need to read, if you’re a creative professional, or anyone who wants to lead a creative life (which is you if you’re reading this.) Here’s where the story starts—one of my favorite documentaries is “Art & Copy” (watch on Netflix) and again if your a creative, this is a must see. This film covers the stories of a dozen or so of the most kick-ass advertising folks over the last 50 years, and gets into their approach and style. ‘Nuff said, just watch it.

Featured in the film is George Lois, one of the most influential figures in advertising. I got in touch and asked about his process and he said he had a new book coming out that answers this  fully. So his publicist was kind enough to send me an advance copy, which I tore into and LOVED. They were then also generous in providing us with some excerpts from the book, “DAMN GOOD ADVICE (for people with talent!)” Here’s the first installment. Read each as post them and tell us how you can apply this to your creative endeavor, whatever it may be.—Marc

George Lois Damn Good Advice

My Anti-Slogan: “George, be careful!”

Looking up from my crib on a dark and stormy night, God commanded: “George, be careful.” (I remember it well.) My earliest childhood recollections were punctuated by three words (in Greek) from the lips of my mother, Vasilike Thanasoulis Lois: “George, be careful.” They have been a refrain throughout my life–a sincere admonition from the lips of people who have always meant well but never fathomed my attitude towards life and work. In the act of creativity, being careful guarantees sameness and mediocrity, which means your work will be invisible.

Better to be reckless than careful. Better to be bold than safe. Better to have your work seen and remembered, or you’ve struck out. There is no middle ground.


Damn Good Advice a book by George Lois

“Creativity can solve almost any problem—

the creative act,

the defeat of habit by originality,

overcomes everything”

George Lois

Buy the book

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