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.

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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!



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.

How to Take Landscape Photographs Like a Pro

Want your pictures to come out as good as the ones you see in the National Geographic magazine? Going to a scenic venue sometime soon and wish to capture the beauty that surrounds you? Whatever the case may be, here are some tips from award winning photographer, Florian Schulz on how you can capture gorgeous landscapes and make the most of the scenic wonder that surrounds you:

1. Familiarize yourself with when the sun rises and sun sets in your location.

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Certain times of the day can really cramp your style when photographing on location. If you are looking to shoot on location with just the right amount of light, then you would do well to figure out when the sun rises and sets and the intensity of light during the course of the day in your designated location. Whether you get yourself a topographic map or use your gps system to do so, acquainting yourself with the exact time frame between sunrise and sunset is extremely helpful in your goal of capturing a fantastic landscape image.

2. Find something unique in your setting that grasps your attention.

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This seems fairly straightforward and yet this is a technique often missed. When on location for a shoot, it isn’t quite enough to just take a pretty picture of what is in front of you. Making your image stand out requires a sense of individuality in the photograph. This could be anything from a reflection of the mountain in the back to an ancient rock covered in moss. So go ahead and take the time to find something unique that catches your eye, which will then lead you into the overall image.

3. Take the time to ACTUALLY study what it is you are trying to capture.


As wise men/women have so often said, observe your surroundings thoroughly! This could range from observing the way animals congregate, eat, and rest. Watch how the wind blows in the trees direction and take note of that direction. Watch the sunlight hit that lake and notice the color it creates in doing so. Take time to know and understand your surroundings. Schulz suggests taking days or even weeks to do this, if you have the time.

4. Think about the story connecting with the image you wish to capture.


There is a reason why images like the “Afghan Girl” from National Geographic Magazine stays etched in the minds of those that come across that photograph. There is a story behind those big green eyes and it is THAT very gaze captured by Steve McCurry, that describes the essence of this tip. Investing time to produce an image that tells a story is what ultimately resonates with people. So next time you take a photograph, ask yourself why you are taking a particular photograph and what you are trying to convey through your image.

To understand in fuller detail each of these points covered, click here to check out Marc Silber’s interview of Florian Schulz. Also check out Florian’s books with more of his outstanding photography.



Rock & sport photography tips from Michael Zagaris

Michael Zagaris is a legendary rock and sports photographer heaving captured iconic photographs of rock stars — from Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, the Rolling stones, the Who and on and on. He then went on to become the team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers with images of Joe Montana and Bill Walsh to today’s team. Michael passes along his tips and advice for how he gets inside the world he is photographing. Watch and listen then go out and try what he tells you, to advance your own photography


In the latest video from Silber Studios, Marc goes behind the scenes with photographer Bob Holmes at the Hess Collection in Napa Valley. Holmes, a three-time Travel Photographer of the Year, takes Marc on a tour of the incredible gallery while offering tips for lighting, framing, and finding punctuation points in your photographs.

“Know your equipment.” The saying might seem obvious at first, but listen to the way Bob explains the importance of a photographer’s familiarity with his camera and you’ll have a new-found appreciation for your equipment. Watch as he shows Marc actual examples during an impromptu photo shoot at one of the world’s most prestigious wineries.

Holmes is an internationally revered travel photographer whose images have appeared in Time Magazine, National Geographic, and The New York Times. Check out other interviews we’ve done with Bob to help improve your photography, and be sure to check out more of his work at Robert

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.


What would you suggest if we just want to get better sports shots of the friends and family?

You know, two of the things that I would suggest are that. One: clean. That is my biggest thing that I am looking for in an Image is make your background clean. Clean up those backgrounds, make the image, the personal subject pop out of the frame. So think of yourself as a director and you are placing people on the screen. So you are the person who gets to place them there you get to pick the screen. So when you are shooting your photos clean up those backgrounds, nothing to distract what is going on so you can focus right on that subject.

Any final tips for our viewers who just want to get better photographs?

You know the one of the biggest things that I think the imagers struggle with is taking their off full automatic. You know I would say learn that camera. Put it on semi-automatic, your time value, your actual priority, learn how those functions work. And the biggest most important thing that I think now is that you can shoot ‘raw’. Sure it is an intimidating thing you get these huge files you have to manage them. But it’s like having a negative. It’s like having a fujichrome velvia and you get to print that image whatever way you want. When I see students work who had gone from jpeg to raw during one class session. It’s amazing, and they come back and say “I will never shoot jpeg againî. So that would be the biggest tip I have for everybody-’Shoot raw’.


To see more of John’s work click here


Karl Taylor Explains The 4 Main Types of Light

There isn’t just one type of light. There are 4 main types, and Karl Taylor does a great job of explaining them in this video about the various types of light.

Knowing the type of light that you’re dealing with can change the way you shoot the scene. He also has great tips on how to shoot with natural light using a reflector. This 10 minute video can completely change the way you see light.

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