Who are you marketing to? That’s an important question that every photographer who intends to sell their work—be they portraitists or fine art photographers—needs to ask. And the reason why I pose this question? It’s because I’ve noticed that photography marketing can be something of an echo chamber, one that we’re by nature drawn into because that’s where most marketing tactics end up guiding us. We find ourselves marketing photography to other photographers.
Think about it this way: If you produce a book full of fine art photographs, who is going to buy it? The most likely audience will be other photographers who are looking for inspiration or lessons they can learn. If the book ends up in bookstores, it’ll be in the photography section, where the majority of visitors will be themselves, photographers. And if you place it on Amazon or a similar website, you’ll more than likely categorize it under the photography genre, which is something that mainly fellow photographers browse.
And that really is kind of a shame, I think. Of course, fellow photographers should consume each other’s work. That’s how we grow, trade ideas, and learn from each other, after all. But it would be nice to be able to expose our works to a much larger, non-photographer audience.
Except, how can we go about doing that?
I think the main thing that we need to look at is how we can put our work in areas where the general public ventures. This means that if at all possible if we have any say in the decision as to where our photography books should be placed in bookstores, we should ask for them to be placed in the art section where anyone with an interest in art will be browsing. For those of us who do self-publishing, perhaps it’s time to experiment with the genres we choose on Amazon. Can books be placed not only in the photography category but also in other larger relevant categories?
Social media is another venue for us to share. Perhaps it’s time we stray outside of our photography-related Facebook groups and start venturing into other areas where our works can be enjoyed by a broader audience.
If you think about it, there are lots of different places we can show off our photographs. Some of us submit images to photography magazines, so is it possible to submit images to other magazines, too? For example, if you enjoy photographing birds, then keep submitting to photography magazines—but perhaps it’s also worth your while to submit artwork to birding and wildlife publications, too. Or whatever your area of interest is, there are almost certainly non-photographic publications to match, places, that would love to have beautiful and relevant artwork gracing their pages. Depending on the types of photography you do, it may take some inventiveness to venture outside of photographic circles to market to that broader audience. But I think it’s an important effort to make because at the end of the day? Art isn’t just for artists. It’s for everyone.