Tightening a Body of Photographic Work | Jennifer Schwartz | Skillshare

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Tightening a Body of Photographic Work

teacher avatar Jennifer Schwartz

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Trailer for the 10-Course Series, Crusade For Your Art

    • 2. Course 2 Introduction

    • 3. Editing and Sequencing

    • 4. Sizing and Pricing

    • 5. Editioning

    • 6. Project Description

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About This Class

Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers gives you the tools to take your fine art photography career by the reins and thoughtfully and purposefully develop a plan to get you where you want to go.  Learn how to tighten your work, develop your brand, identify goals and a plan for your photography, and strategically launch your project.

In this second of ten courses, you will learn the importance of a good edit and sequence in a photographic project, as well as strategies for editing and sequencing your own work. This class also dives into some of the most challenging decisions photographers face - how to size, price and edition your images.For your class project, you will create a size/price/edition structure for your most recent project or body of work.

Jennifer Schwartz is the creator/director of Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Jennifer owned a fine art photography gallery in Atlanta (Jennifer Schwartz Gallery) for five years, showcasing the work of emerging photographers. She also created the online project, The Ten, and is the co-creator of Flash Powder Projects. In the spring of 2013, she traveled around the country in a 1977 VW bus, engaging audiences with photography. Her book, Crusade For Your Art: Best Practices for Fine Art Photographers was published in March 2014.

Meet Your Teacher

Jennifer Schwartz is the creator/director of Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating demand for art, specifically fine art photography. Jennifer owned a fine art photography gallery in Atlanta (Jennifer Schwartz Gallery) for five years, showcasing the work of emerging photographers. She also created the online project, The Ten, and is the co-creator of Flash Powder Projects.

Jennifer regularly participates in portfolio reviews such as PhotoNOLA, PhotoLucida, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, FotoFest, Medium, Filter and others. She was invited as a curator to the Lishui Photo Festival in Lishui, China in 2011 and travels around the country giving talks, guest-lecturing at universities, leading workshops and hosting photographic retreats with Flash Powder P... See full profile

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1. Trailer for the 10-Course Series, Crusade For Your Art: Hi. I'm Jennifer Schwartz on the creator and executive director of Crusade for Art, a nonprofit organization with the mission to educate, inspire and empower photographers to connect new audiences. Start I owned a commercial fine art photography gallery in Atlanta for five years, and I'm working with the photographers both with the gallery and with a nonprofit realize there is really a lack of information out there about how to navigate the fine art photography world. And it can seem pretty intimidating. Trying to figure out how to approach a gallery, how people get their books published. How museum collections acquire where So I wrote this book called Her Savory Our best practices for fine art Photographers. And this 10 core skill share series is gonna roughly follow the form out of the book. And it will talk about basically the ace ese to navigating the fine art photography world. How to edit in sequence your work, how to write an artist statement, how to cement work to a gallery, how to prepare for a portfolio review, how the price, your work, really everything. So I hope that you will join me and have fun and appreciate for your art. Thanks 2. Course 2 Introduction: in this second course in the Chris a pre art Siri's, we're gonna be talking about tightening a body of work at it in sequence how to do it. Why, it's important how a good edit sequence can really enhance a project. And how about at its sequence can hurt a project we're gonna talk about how the size your work, how many different sizes to offer a piece in and what sizes they should be pricing your work, which is really challenging for most photographers. In addition, ing, we're gonna get really into detail about what addition ing iss. Why the addition and when there are times that it's okay to not addition your work, So I hope you'll join me in the second course about tightening a body of work. 3. Editing and Sequencing: one of the most difficult challenges for photographers is to edit their own work. It's nearly impossible for artists be completely objective about their own images. That's why it's really important to seek an experience outside her. They can comment on which images feel like out liars, whether or not the work feels cohesive. What images propel your story and which ones don't whereas you as the photographer, the artist? You can't separate yourself from the context, and that's okay. But when you look at an image, you remember all of the circumstances that came together to create. It may have been the most beautiful day, and your favorite someone was on the radio and you stopped and you made this gorgeous image . And so to you, the photograph is wrapped up in all of those things, and it's hard to take a step back and see how it fits into the larger body of work that you're working on. So seek out some experience. People whose opinions you respect most gallerist in your community will set aside 15 or 20 minutes if you make an appointment ahead of time to come in and look at your work and give you some feedback. You can ask friends and family members what they think, although be warned that that might not be giving you the most critical feedback. A lot of times we put images on Facebook and we get tons of lights, and we think we should become a professional photographer and quit our day job. Well, that could be the case, but it's better to try to get a lot of variety of opinions from people in all different areas of the industry. That can be really tough with you if you need it, and and to give you the direction in the advice that you need so utilize the resource is around you be clear that you're looking for constructive feedback. You're not necessarily seeking an opportunity, but you want help getting your project to the point where you're really ready to get it out there. Second, be as critical as you can when you're looking at your own images. If you have this gut feeling that one of your images isn't working for some reason, you're probably right. It's okay to try to get a second opinion on that, but don't limit yourself, Teoh, saying. I have toe have 15 or 20 images in this portfolio. If you don't have 15 or 20 images yet, then just use the ones that you know are working. If you think about creating on edit for website or for portfolio overview. And let's say you have 13 images that feel really strongly about what you feel like you got a bump it up to 15 to really feel like you have a complete project and you put two images and that you know are very strong. You're gonna spend most of the time in the review discussing with the person you're sending with why those two images aren't working, and you knew from the beginning that they weren't so, really. Focus on creating the strongest body of work. If you don't have a lot of images in it yet, that's fine. Just no. And communicate that this is a work in progress, and these are the images that you feel best represent. Your idea. Once you read it feels tight. The sequence is your next challenge, so sequence can strengthen or can ruin a photographic project. The images feel like they're jumping around, and the viewer feels jarred, moving from one to the next. The story you're trying to tell gets lost, and the photographs won't hit their mark. So simply put the flow just hostile work. You can let the story unfold in a clear and logical way. That makes sense as the viewer moves from one image to the next. Make sure the story you're telling is complete without hiccups that take the viewer off track. So when you think about looking through a photographic project, moving one image to the next, you wanted to have a consistent feel. You wanted to have a flow to it. That isn't jarring, isn't jumping all around. So if you can keep a vibe and a feeling you're building a narrative or an emotional are without disrupting the viewers eyes or emotions, then you know that you're on target. There are a few different ways that you can do that. You can. If you're Project has a narrative, you can use a chronological order. You can tell the story from start to finish, but in addition to considering a logical ordering strategy, you can pay attention to aesthetic qualities of the photograph. Colors and shapes can bridge transitions between images and create a smooth flow that's typically where I where I like to start and end is to make sure that the colors air flowing one to the other. That if one image has lines going this way and the next one does to just naturally allows the viewer to seamlessly flow through the project. One thing that I get asked a lot is whether color and black and white images connects ist in the same portfolio. And while I've seen it done successfully, it's really challenging to do. And in most cases I feel it does disrupt the flow. It really sets the sequence, all array. So you think about looking at a color image and looking at a black and white image. They tend to have a very different emotional tone. So if you're moving through a body of work and you're looking at color, color, color and then a black and white comes up, it tends to jump out at you were vice person in black and white to color, and it can throw the viewer out of the moment. You want the viewer to stay with you. Throughout the project, you're trying to transmit some information to that many want them to stick with you. So if you're images were jumping up and down or back and forth, it can really mess up that flow. So think about the edit. Think about the sequence and next will move on to pricing your work. 4. Sizing and Pricing: most artists have no idea where to begin when they think about sizing pricing. In addition, ing for work. The impulse is to put off this decision until the work is right about to be sold or exhibited. But it's much better to be deliberate and thoughtful. And do you research and confidently make a decision in this class, we're gonna talk about sizing and pricing your work, and then we're gonna have a separate class to just discussed auditioning. When you think about size, the current trend seems to go big and then go bigger. Most people feel that their work looks amazing large, and it usually does. But you want to think about the person who is going to purchase the work and whether they have a wall space to accommodate such a large piece. And if they feel confident enough to buy such a large investment for their home, consider the size that you feel best suits the work if the images are intimate and we're work better in a small size than stay true to your vision and only offer that one size. But think about what you imagine. The ideal size for viewing the work should be. I usually suggest offering an image in two or three sizes. This gives you arranged so you have a large size that might be best for exhibitions or museum acquisitions. But you also have a middle in a smaller size that might be more accessible. Teoh a collector Now, when you think about the sizing and you want to offer two or three sizes, you want to make sure that there's a significant difference in the way that they appear on the wall. So if you're offering, let's say, a 16 by 20 as your middle or small size and then the next size of you offers 20 by 24 that's not gonna have a significant difference in the way that it looks on the wall. So if you think about it from the standpoint of the collector, they're looking at these two pieces. The 20 by 24 is going to be more expensive than the 16 by 20 but they look almost the same on the wall, so they're probably going to go with smaller size, so make sure you skipped at least one paper size in between. Your images energizes that you select and that way, you'll have a broad enough range for the people that want to purchase the work. Determining how the price Your work is complicated and it often feels awkward. You want a value your work, but not price it higher than the market will reasonably there. It's a delicate balance. If you're working with the gallery, they should be able to advise you when you're deciding how to pressure work, consider the following variables. One. What does it cost you to produce the work? This should not be the only factor in determining your pricing, but you want to make sure the costs are covered enough. That leaves you some leftover profit to make the sale worthwhile. Don't price different sizes the same just because your costs may be similar. Number two. If an image is sold, what's the minimum amount you would want to receive? Keep in mind that if you're selling through a gallery, you will receive 50% of the sale prices in most cases. With that in mind, you have to assume you're only gonna receive half of the dollar amount that you set in order to protect the investment for collectors. All of your work needs to be priced consistently, whether you're selling through a gallery and receiving half or if you're selling the work directly and receiving the full sale amount. It's unfair to reputation and the value of your work for one collector to pay full price because they wanted from a gallery and another person to pay half that amount because they purchased it from you directly. You're pricing. Has toe always reflect the gallery price? Even if you're not selling in a gallery right now, you still need to price it as if you might in the future. Number three. How commercially salable is the work? This is a really important question you need to flush out before you go any further and creating your goals for the project. We're gonna talk more later on in the course about the viability of the work in terms of the sale ability. But the more salable it is and what I call rainbows and unicorns, the higher price you might be able to command for it. Think about the market for your photography. If you're photographing Dumpsters, that's gonna be a tougher sell, and you probably will have to price the work lower to account for that number. Four. How are other photographers with similar work at a similar level in their career? Pricing their work again? You have to consider where you are as a photographer, the stage in your career. Experience your sales history or exhibition history because that's going to come into play in terms of how much you can charge for your pieces. Make sure you get out there. Go to galleries, which were showing emerging photographers. Work observed. They're pricing structure's look at other photographers online. Ask people that you might know who are selling work, who are in a similar position, what their pricing structure is. The next is when I talked about before. It's really what feels right, so you have to consider all of the variables about. But at the end of the day, the price just has to feel appropriate and good to you. Don't trust your opinion alone. Now, many photographers tend to undervalue or overvalue their work. So ask if you trusted and experience friends or approach a gallery owner for advice. Tiered pricing could be a great compromise between selecting a price. It seems too low and a price it seems inflated, so it with this model, you let the sales determine the value. So tiered pricing means that the price of an image goes up as it gets closer to selling out . We're gonna talk next about additions, but let's say you decide that for this particular size you're going to print. In addition of 10 that means the person who purchases number one, the first piece out of that addition will pay a lower price. And the person who purchases number 10 it helps you in the end, average out to the amount of money that you think is appropriate for the peace. And it also incentivizes Thebe collector to buy early in your additions. Here's an example of a three size pricing structure that has tiered pricing. It's not based on any particular type of work or body of work. It's just on example to show you how you could structure your tiered pricing. So this one offers three sizes, 16 by 24 24 by 30 and then the largest size, which is 30 40. You'll see that in the 16 by 24 of the smallest size. It's in addition of AIDS starting at 800 then as it goes up, the final print print eight is priced at 1300. Now you can decide how you want to break it up. You can have each image increase in size. You also want to think about how complicated you want to make it for the different galleries of the different places that might be showing your work at one time. And when you put your prices on your website or when the gallery does, it will typically say just the 16 by 24 edition of a starting at 800. And if someone is interested in purchasing that, purchasing the peace, they need to enquire with you or with the gallery to find out where in the addition the print is currently selling. 5. Editioning: While it's true that the old masters didn't addition their prints, its contemporary practice to do so, conditioning guarantees that the image the collector is buying is not infinitely reproducible, and therefore it will hold its value conditioning convey. Be a really controversial subject among photographers, the impulses to want to not addition your work, or to create really large additions because you don't want to limit yourself in terms of the number of prints you can sell of a particularly popular image. The size of the addition, though, impacts the price. So the smaller the addition. It means that fewer images will be made, and it makes each image more valuable. Typically, if you're offering multiple print sizes, the smaller the print size, the larger the addition and the larger the print size in that Siri's the Lord, the smaller the addition. For example, if you're offering photographs from a particular body of work in two sizes, let's say 13 by 19 and 24 by 30 you may decide to create an addition of 10 for the 13 by 19 size and then 24 by 30 size would be in addition of five something smaller to be clear once you set. In addition, for a photograph, you cannot print that image again in any emphasizes. And you shouldn't create a new addition size either. It's an honor system, and your reputation as an artist really depends on it. Do you want to reserve the right to print one or more images for your personal use? You can assign a peas or artists proves to each of the addition sizes. So going back to the example of the 13 by 19 on the 24 by 30 you might say I'm gonna create a new addition of 10 plus two. A piece to artists proves for the first 13 by 19 size and then, in addition of five with one artist proof for the 24 by 30 size. So an artist proof gives you the right to keep an image for yourself, give it away, reserve it for possibly a museum acquisition, and then sometimes artists sell their artists proof. So if you have a particularly popular image and it sells out the addition, you can charge them more money and sell your artists proof for that particular piece in general, for addition, sizes smaller is better so the smaller number of prints that exist in the marketplace, the more valuable the peace will become and the more attractive it will become to a collector. Well, it seems like it might be limiting to you as an artist to create such a limited number in the marketplace. It will create more demand for your pieces, and then it will justify you being able to, so to raise your prices for your next body of work. You want to think about it in terms of the bigger picture. So a few years down the road, when you're working on another project that you're ready to promote, you don't wanna have all of this. These other pieces still left out floating around. So you want to try toe, create small addition sizes, ideally, sell them out and then move on to your next body of work. 6. Project Description: for your class project for the tightening of body of work class, you want to create a size price in addition, ING structure for your current body of work or your most reason body of work. So take the project that you're currently working on, or that maybe you just complete it and determine what you think are the best sizes to exhibit the work and also that might be more accessible or more affordable for someone to purchase and then come up with the structure and decide if you want to do tiered pricing. How many you want to offer in each size and work from there. Do your research and figure out what other people in the similar position are charging for their work and you'll create a slide that will showcase the work. You might want to create one side that will have the different images and then another slide that will talk about the size price. In addition ing for that body of work. If you don't have a body of work that is complete, that's okay, too. You can think about what you are working on or what you might want to work on and just do like we talked about a gut check to figure out what feels right for you and how you feel that your your work will eventually sift out in terms of the marketplace.