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Building Art Career Credentials

by Lori Woodward on 3/24/2010 12:25:49 PM

Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She is also a contributing editor for American Artist's Watercolor and Workshop magazines and she writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik.  Find out how you can be a guest author. 



The Goal: Get Your Work Seen By Collectors


Instead of worrying about building a resume to submit to a gallery, why not aim at the inevitable target -- The eyes of art collectors!

A printed image says it all in an instant. The fastest way to entice the people who matter in your career, your future collectors, is to get your work published. Get it published in periodicals, online or in books, where collectors look to find paintings to fall in love with. Any time you can get your artwork published, you make major strides towards realizing sales.

Don't Ignore "How To" Art Publications

Many artists get their work noticed through "how to" art magazines such as American Artist or The Artists' Magazine. Even though these are not collectors' magazines, many collectors do read them, and it's a mistake to think that aspiring artists are not also collectors. I could give you dozens of examples here (if I had the room) of artists who made the big time by first being published in American Artist, International Artist, or The Artists' Magazine. If their art made the cover, their careers were boosted significantly.

Collectors' Magazines -- It Helps if You Are Already in Galleries

Artists who get their work published in art collectors' magazines: Southwest Art, American Art Collector, Art of the West, etc. are usually already working with galleries. Why is this? It's because these magazines make their money through gallery ads. If an artist whom they want to feature is working with three galleries, each of those galleries will be contacted about putting an ad in the issue where the artist is highlighted. Whereas, art instruction magazines, such as those listed in the previous paragraph, make their money though ads from art supply companies and artists who are giving workshops or selling videos.

Where to Start: Competitions


Of course, as I've said before, the real first step is to build a cohesive, high quality, body of work on archival (lasts forever) materials. But let's say you've done that and are ready to get that work in front of collectors' eyes. The least expensive way to get your work out there and published is by entering art competitions. Personally, I like to enter those that don't require me to ship paintings. Online competitions, and those that art magazines offer, don't require you to ship your paintings across country, pay the entry fee, and then possibly have to ship them home again if they don't sell.

Examples of "virtual" competitions are: Fine Art Views, Raymar, American Artist Cover competition, The Artist Magazine's annual competition, and International Artist Magazine's. None of these shows require that you provide the actual artwork.

Learn to Take Good Photos:

If your work does get selected for publication, you'll need professional, high resolution photos of it. I've seen it happen more than once that an art publication wants a particular artwork for their cover, but the artist never got a great photo of it before it sold. Either invest in good photographic equipment, and learn how to use it, or else hire a professional to photograph your best artwork - just in case you get the chance to have it published.

On Location Shows:

These cost a bit more money and time because if you get into the show, you'll have to frame and ship your entries. Some of these shows are well attended by serious art collectors, others are mostly attended by artists. I do know for a fact that Oil Painters of America shows do sell paintings.  A few of my friends have sold paintings at "Paint America" shows - this show was previously called, "Arts for the Parks". Another worthwhile show is, "Salon International". Then there are invitational shows: Gilcrease Museum, Oyster Mountain Club, Rendezvous, Cowgirl Up!, and others. I don't have all the link info but you can look up requirements for each show on the Web.

Advertising Campaigns

Advertising in collectors' magazines is expensive. Make sure your work is at a professional level before you invest in a sequence of ads. There are artists who have gone on to national recognition in no time because they embarked on serious ad campaigns... putting ads in every issue of one publication. In two cases, artists whom I know personally, were more than ready to advertise, and it cost them about the same amount of money annually as a year of college tuition. One in particular took on substantial financial risk, however, both these artists eventually benefited because they had a recognizable style with top notch paintings.


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Related Posts:

Getting Into Top Galleries

Taking Your Art to an International Level

The Most Powerful Tool for Marketing Your Art (and one secret weapon)


Topics: art marketing | sell art 

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 115 Comments

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Another great article Lori. I'm nowhere near where I want to be in my art career, but I realized a while back that it was going to take a lot of hard work and time to get to where I want to be. I participate in competitions lately and am striving to improve my art all the time. I'm learning to recognize those venues that are worth my time and money also.

I'm also learning that becoming recognized in your own area is important as well. I've recently joined an art club which is opening doors to more shows and competitions locally. Also, I'm booked for my first art show this summer, lasting over a month and am very much looking forward to it!

The extra information you've added in this article is much appreciated and this one's another keeper!

Stacey Cornelius
via fineartviews.com
Nicely done as usual, Lori. Those are great reminders about how many routes artists can take to get their work recognized.

Shows are always a tricky one: you have to know who the primary audience is to get the best return on your investment. It's so helpful to have feedback from someone in the know.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Carole, you've got a good point - showing locally is just as desirable as making a splash nationally.

I intend to write a series of blogs that address selling close to home. In fact, I've always preferred selling to local markets - within a 4 hour drive of my home.

When artists work with local organizations and galleries, they can get started selling more quickly than if they compete on the national level. Sometimes it's good to do a little bit of both.

Poppy Balser
via fineartviews.com
Lori, Thanks for summation of on-line competitions. I have looked at them as a money making sceme for the magazines, but have never considered how it would save money in shipping if I actually won. This might change my approach. (I have been entering the FAV competition and was lucky enough to make the FAV15 percent!, which blew me away!)

One that did not make your list is Canadian Brushstrokes, which is purely an e-magazine. Is it one that you are familiar with? Do you have any experiences with them? They claim to have a circulation of 65,000.

Aprreciate all your articles,
Poppy

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Lori,

you must get tired of hearing this (ok, maybe you don't) but another excellent article.

One other point I've heard from artist friends is join as many local artist organizations that have local shows as you can afford AND have some time to devote to helping. This gives you the a place to hang out with collectors whenever there are shows, exhibits, demonstrations by nationally know artists etc. I know that many people don't really have access to groups like that but those that do should really think about taking advantage of it.

You never know who you might meet.

Michael

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Lori for this article! I have been entering local, regional and state shows for several years. Since I retired in May '09 from teaching art and drama for 34 years, I am really trying to step out of my comfort zone and enter some national shows. This weekend I will be going to the Southern Watercolor Society reception in Madisonville, Ky.,Cheng Khee Chee juror. I did win an award from the 95 selected from 379 entries from 18 states! I will be receiving signature membership into TnWS (Tennessee Watercolor Society)in Chattanooga in May! I just entered the Watercolor USA in Springfield, Mo. If I get in that show, I will have to ship my work. I have been fortunate to have won awards from many well known jurors. I must admit I keep reaching. I am working hard! I appreciate all the advice you can share!!

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Nah Michael, I never get tired of hearing that. In fact, it's what keeps me writing... helping others means a lot to me.

In fact, I got started selling my work as a result of joining the Nashua Art Association. I met a handful of artists there who did outdoor shows and also galleries, and they made recommendations for me. They also had regular art competitions.

I began doing outdoor art shows within driving range of my house - sold a lot of paintings that way, and picked up my first 2 galleries.




Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Wow!!! Congrats Tuva...! You must be so excited.

Jeannie Breeding
via fineartviews.com
I thoroughly enjoyed this article, Lori! Love your articles as well as your artwork. This article was right on target for me, as it's where I'm trying to head with my art carreer at this point. Keep on writing and painting so we can keep on enjoying both!

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Thanks Lori, great advice as usual.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
OK, one more comment and then I've got to get off. Will check back later...

Jeannie Breeding, who commented above has a feature article in American Artist (I think May issue?) Jeannie, let us know. Also let us know how it helps your career in the long run.


Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Way to go, Tuva! Living in Kentucky, I hope to attend the Southern Watercolor Society's exhibition and see your painting. Congratulations!

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
OK, Lori, didn't want to bore you by repeating it all the time :)

I'm entering some of my first shows in the next coming months. Not sure if I'll make it through the jury process in all or even some but I figure I have to start sometime and for me, some of these "local" organizations are pretty well know nationally.

To add onto my earlier comment, being in NY I'm lucky to have a number of organizations that even if I'm not yet a member still allow me the opportunity to meet and mingle with professional artists who, like yourself, are always willing to give some help. While I'm sure they don't remember me, I've also been able to meet some national notables such as Richard Schmid, John Stobart, Kevin MacPhearson and several others who have given talks and/or demos. They've all been interesting, approachable and friendly and I've learned something from each. I'd highly recommend doing the same to anyone who gets the opportunity. Oh, and I should mention that there were always plenty of collectors around at those events too!

Michael



Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, Congratulations!! By the way, I've been on your site and you should win awards! Great work!

Michael


Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Michael, those are all great artists who have a lot to share. I've learned a few things from Richard Schmid myself. ;-) He's a great mentor.

FYI - just in case anyone has not checked my own blog lately, I've posted what I learned from Richard (with a pic of the painting he was working on) during the last Putney Painters session. I hope to get time to post future tidbits that I learn from him and Nancy Guzik. Yes, I have Richard's permission!

http://loriwords.com/blog/17997/richard-schmid-and-nancy-guzik

Jeannie Breeding
via fineartviews.com
Thanks, Lori. You are correct that it's the May issue of American Artist magazine, which is now on newsstands. It's my first feature article in an art magazine and I feel totally honored to have had the article written! I'm hoping to use the article to help me get into some other galleries. It was so nice to add to my resume on my website as well as give copies of the article to my existing galleries and collectors. I have copies in my studio to show to prospective buyers during our art openings at the studio group. Reading your articles/blogs has been such a great help to me in knowing what steps I should be taking to keep furthering my art career. Your writings have given me the confidence to stick my neck out to market and have helped me in so many ways! Please keep the articles coming and thanks for all of the help you've given to me and other artists!

Sharon Weaver
via fineartviews.com
Thanks for talking about the different magazines and the risks of an ad campaign. I have gotten professional photos taken of a few paintings in the past but it is so expensive that I discontinued doing it. I will rethink that for those paintings that I really love.

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Jeannie,

Congratulations on the article! I don't paint in Watercolors anymore but I may just go get the magazine to read what you had to say!

Michael

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Michael, Jeanie's article is in the regular American Artist issue.

But... I have a current article in the spring Watercolor Issue on painting portraits from photos... OK, I'll stop bragging now and go back to my studio where I'll feel humbled while struggling with my current painting.


Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
OK, so now I guess I'm on the hook to buy both magazines... I'm sure I'll learn something from each of them :)

Christopher Volpe
via fineartviews.com
Another excellent post, Lori. I wonder if you have any additional tips on where to get more info on taking good photos of paintings? I know the basics of good photography, but I'm never really that happy with the results I get (using my wife's perfectly fine Cannon digital camera, not a point and shoot!).

Also, didn't know you were a Nashuan - I live on the NH Seacoast (used to be Portsmouth, now it's Newmarket) and in addition to trying launch a painting career, I teach art history at New Hampshire Institute of Art.

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Lori, this is valuable advice, how does an artist go about getting into one of these magazines? Submit an article or be asked? Our San Clemente Art Association was given a chance to place ads in Southwest Art at a discount rate for the upcoming Paint San Clemente Plein Air competition. It is a big show with $13,000 in prizes, so it brings out the signature artists and collectors of them. I think being asked to be interviewed for an article is the best bet to advance one`s career. But a little advertising can bring an artist to the limelight also, especially in this day and age.

Tuva, congrats on your continuing success, this is your time. You gave to students for decades, now it is your time to shine and build a super art career. Good things are coming your way!

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Ester, artists get into magazines through recommendations, submissions, and now by posting their artwork on the magazines artist forums.

In fact, Daniel Keys got discovered by posting his work on the American Artist online forum: http://artistdaily.com

Somewhere on that forum is a PDF file on how to submit ideas and artwork for articles. For magazines such as American Artist, it helps if you have a great idea (that will catch the attention of artists) as well as good artwork.



Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Esther... I looked at the spelling and then spelled your name wrong anyway. Sorry..

Tom Weinkle
via fineartviews.com
more great advice!

thx

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Question: Has anyone on this blog/forum advertised in art magazines? If you have, was it worth it? How big of an ad and how often did you advertise?



Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Magazine forums . . . Hmm, more food for thought! :-)

Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Lori, I really appreciate your recommendations here. I have decided to enter more online competitions and try to get more visibility. However, I have two very distinct styles of painting, both well received. I'm not sure which style I should go with because once I do, I will likely need to stick with it. There's an upcoming special in Western Collector, with the deadline being the end of this month, and I'm debating that question with myself (and running out of time). Can an artist be successful doing both styles. I know that Nancy Glazier does and also James Reynolds (may he rest in peace) made a dramatic switch from the Western theme to landscapes. I just don't know what to do. I talked to Geoffery Gorman about this and he advised me to stick to one theme, which was my landscapes, but I do love painting the equine subject, that is where my heart truely lies. What are your feelings about this subject?

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Thanks to all for your kind words to me, Michael,my FB friend Esther,Lori, and Judy,. The Watercolor USA will be giving $40,000 in awards. You may download a prospectus but the entry form must be received by March 30. I mailed my form today after one of my artist friends said I should. The entry fee was only $15 for 2 entries. I have my work in several different shows right now so I just sent one. Sometimes it just takes a little encouragement for artists to step up to go beyond your own expectations. It is so nice to find such a great, supportive, artist community with the blogs!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I can't say enough about joining local,regional,state, and national organizations...gradually. As you gain recognition at each level, it is incredible! I went ahead and became a member of SWS. The AWS (American Watercolor Society) just sent me a card to become an associate member until I get accepted. AWS was the only show I did not get accepted into, but when you look at the list posted on the AWS website the artists are so well known. All you can do is enter what you consider strong work. Judi Betts said it took her 20 years to get accepted. (I don't have that long!) Another local artist got in the first time but not since. It is all so subjective. "Art shows are like marriages;we are always surprised by the choices that people make," Frank Webb. My resolution was to be "fearless" this year. So far its going pretty well, no it is going great! Enter those shows!

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Barbara,
It's OK to have two styles if you don't mind having to market each. I just looked at your website, and personally like your equine paintings. They are outstanding and unique.

It seems we artists are always feeling pressure to paint something we don't love as much because we have buyers. It's a choice that ultimately you'll have to make, but my advice (as an artist) is to paint and develop the artwork you love most. Many collectors admire the way something is painted rather than what the subject is.


Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Lori, that`s okay. You should see how many different ways people spell my name, I am used to it.
I was commenting on the Artist Daily forums for awhile but slacked off. I became caught up on Facebook and having fun over there. Time to get back to it.


Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I agree with Lori about the style issue. Although I paint a variety of subject matter, portraits seem to be my favorite.

Carole Rodrigue
via fineartviews.com
Barbar, I love both your equines and landscapes.Your seascapes are just amazing!

Choosing which style is a difficult decision, especially when you just love to paint so many different subjects!

stede Barber
via fineartviews.com
Lori,
Once again you clear the "noise" from so much good information, prioritize, and clarify why, when, and how to go about making progress with marketing and sales. I appreciate your sharing tremendously! Thank you.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Lori, Thank you for pointing us in the right direction again. It is important to pick and choose the right investments toward your future. I am so excited; one of my paintings has been accepted for The Artists Magazine online gallery for the months of July and August. I feel this is a great investment.

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Excellent article Lori. You've provided a lot of info to process. I am particularly drawn to your comments about shows and galleries. You've opened my eyes to some things I've never considered. Thanks for doing that. I may have more questions for you.

Teddy Jackson
via fineartviews.com
Lori:
Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I have a special folder for saving your articles. This one is certainly going straight to the folder for future reference.

I have been very active in local art organizations over the last 5 years. I really enjoy the networking opportunities and have made many wonderful friends. At times, I think I am so involved that I no longer have enough time to paint. However, I truly enjoy teaching classes and feel that I am greatly benefiting from the experience.

Happy Painting, Everyone,
Teddy

Tonya
via fineartviews.com
Thank you for this article Lori. I often wondered about the how to magazines. I need to buy a new camera (lost the last one in the river)and there are always so many advancements every year - I don't know what to look for. Any suggestions?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
I have a Nikon single reflex lens D-90. I do recommend an SLR for taking photos of artwork for publication. There are less expensive model SLRs by Nikon and Cannon. Heard good things about both brands.

Richard Schmid was impressed by Scott Burdick's instructional video on taking photos of artwork. It's especially difficult to get good photos of oil and acrylic paintings on canvas because of the glare and thick paint strokes. Taking photos of watercolors and drawings are much easier.

Here's the link to Scott's video:
http://www.lilipubsorders.com/D-SB2-Photographing-Your-Artwork-by-Scott-Burdick/productinfo/698998767427/

I take the highest resolution jpeg files, and then open them in photoshop and immediately change them to tiff files. Then I adjust the contrast, color and saturation - finally saving them under a different name, so I have access to the original photo.

Should I write a blog on this? I use Photoshop Elements (reasonably priced).


Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
Lori, this is great information. Thank you for the link to Scott's site. A blog on this would be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I personally always find the lighting, etc. to be tricky when trying to photograph any of my paintings.

Tonya
via fineartviews.com
I am good with taking photographs (took a couple semesters in college) and adequate with photoshop (used to be in graphic design). Just wondering about the new cameras, so many advancements every year - it's hard to keep up with it all. What is the highest resolution now days? How many pixels is good and what would be great? Thanks for the info. I will take a look at the video.


Tom Weinkle
via fineartviews.com
Here's what i know, hope it helps everyone:

Film is still the best medium, it holds detail, and can faithfully reproduce color, and density, much better than 99 percent of all digital cameras.... but it is cumbersome, and inefficient. And once your film is scanned to a digital file, the comparison is more difficult. High end digital film scanners used in the graphic arts industry are much better than the digital camera scanning technology. Truth is, Digital cameras work well and are adequate for most of us.

Lighting is important, and i am sure Scott has valuable info.

In terms of lenses, while I won't suggest a brand, I do suggest people consider macro type lenses, or those with what is called flat field focusing. It helps to ensure all areas f your artwork are sharp (assuming is is flat). There are ways to compensate for regular lenses with aperture settings, etc., but a flat field lens helps maintain sharp focus across the entire piece. This is more important as the work gets larger.

You can buy lighting setups for under $500 which will handle most needs. I would also suggest looking into what they call a “whitebal” card, and kodak color strips. You should copy all your work with these types of calibration strips next to the edge of your painting. It helps ensure that you can get close to the actual color, by giving you a standard to match, and others who see the image know what to shoot for. Most competitions don't want them showing, but you can crop a version for that purpose.

In terms of resolution, you want to end up with an image that is 300 dpi at 100 percent of size for archiving purposes. You can use Photoshop to increase resolution, adjust sharpness somewhat, and color, etc. but be careful to be faithful to your work.

Most competitions etc. will give you a max pixel dimensions for digital images, and so, you should shoot a high res version for your files, and make a copy at lower resolution for submission. In terms of megapixel cameras, the higher the better, but cost is often the issue. Buy the best you can afford. Like anything, you must take care at every step. A great camera can shoot bad images if not handled properly.

Good luck.

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Lori, even though I am pretty good with my camera, I think a blog on taking pictures of art is a great idea. We can share so much information that way.
My camera is a Canon EOS, Rebel T1i SLR with 12 megapixels and I purchased a Tamron 18-270mm lens for it. Total investment about $1,600. I`d rather have the $3,000 Canon, but am watching my credit. The lens is 72mm so it can capture big paintings without distortion and I can zoom in. I set my camera to capture in RGB and use Canon`s Digital Photo Professional software to download and adjust, then go to Photoshop to further adjust. I save the files in sRGB for browser compatibility in viewing color profiles.
I am going to look at Scott`s video to learn anything new. I subscribed to Photography magazine for years. I have taken several workshops on producing art giclees and learned so much that way on reproducing. But I am not doing any printing of giclees presently.

Kay Morris
via fineartviews.com
Lori,

It's funny how things work, I posted a question on additional ways to promote ones self today on my blog. Your information is just what I needed. Thank you so much for the additional insight you bring to us. You are inspirational to me and many others. Keep up the great work,

Kay

Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Hi Everyone, I just yesterday read a post in my FaceBook account. An artist friend of mine proudly displayed his artwork for all to see. The woman photographer who shot his artwork images demanded that he post her name for credit of photographing the work. She said "I own part of the copyrights of this artwork" I was appauled by her arrogant and selfish demand. It took away the whole joy of viewing my friend's wonderful artwork. I just wonder what her rights are here. I though an artist keeps his/her copyrights unless they sign them away. This photographer was supposed to be hired to photograph my museum pieces, but I refused her services and took my own photos.

Diane Tasselmyer
via fineartviews.com
thanks Lori,

From reading your blog etc. it is good for us to see how an artist DISTRIBUTES their time.

I've made a list from your article here, but also went to your blog.

I was glad to see how you are writing about how YOU use your time when dealing with all the requests you receive for this and that.

And....you always remind everyone "you have a life too!" we all have to remember that.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I always photograph my work outside on a sunny day in the shade. It is very important for my photographs to be as much like the painting as possible. The only thing that I do on Photo Shop is crop slightly. I never have to make adjustments in the light or saturation. I use the highest resolution in which to have the pictures printed when hard copies are required. I always take my CD with the images to a place that has professional printing. You can set the photo next to the painting and it is just like it. My camera is a Sony brand and it cost about $300. I am very pleased with the results.

Lori Woodward
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Barbara, Many years ago when I had giclee prints done, there was a law at that time (and probably still is) that says if the photographer or printer makes changes to my work with photoshop or in any way - it is a derivative work and carries its own copyright.

Most artists don't know this, but people in the reproduction business usually don't try to sell the repros under their own name - it would just hurt their business with the artists they provide the service for.

When I had the prints made, I set up a contract with the printer to return all copyright of images he produced to me. He happily agreed.


Michael Cardosa
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Lori,
this is probably jumping off into the legal deep end but have you had any experience with engaging a photographer and the work being covered under "work for hire"? Is that possible?

Michael


Lori Woodward
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No, I don't know much about "work for hire" do you, Michael?

When I've written articles for American Artist publications in the past, it was under a work for hire agreement - which means that they own the copyright to the articles. The artist owns the copyright to the images, so I never lose the copyright to my paintings there.

Legal stuff raises my blood pressure to normal levels.


Barbara Gerard-Mitchell
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Tuva, Thank you! I guess we don't have to make photographing our work as complicated as we think. I have been doing photography for a number of years now, and I try to keep photographing my own work as simple as can be. I too use a Sony digital and it works fine. I try to shoot outside in the shade (northern exposure) or sometimes in my studio. Our local "art" photographer where we live is very expensive and I can't afford him. However, if at some point I want him to do Giclee prints for me, then I will have him shoot the images for me. Lori, This is a tricky area that we need to pay attention to. Thanks for your information. I am thinking of having a few Giclee productions done in the near future. I wonder if I should ask the photographer if would return all copyright of images that he produces for me, like you had. Can you send me a copy of that contract? I'm tip toeing through copyright jungle already, being that the painting in mind is of a famous musician that I yet to ask permission from!!

Tom Weinkle
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Michael, your statement is correct. work for hire generally implies that the payor owns the work once it is complete, and paid for. they can do what they want with it short of defamation, etc. Photographers and commercial illustrators generally try to retain rights to the work, and grant “usage”, which can be negotiated. Sometimes clients are willing to let them retain rights, because it lowers the fees. Generally speaking when someone wants the rights, they have to pay much more. Why? because the creator is giving up any rights to earn from it.

Nowadays, creators will also try to work out royalties, etc but it can get expensive to negotiate, and complicated.

There are areas of media, such as packaging and billboards, and point of sale where it is generally accepted that the creator will get royalties, or renewal fees after some period of time if a client is still using the work.

Michael Cardosa
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OK, again, I'm no attorney and my experience with "Work for Hire" is mostly in the high tech area where there are patent issues to deal with when you have contract developers. I did however find this online (http://www.copylaw.com/forms/Workhire.html ) which is a work for hire agreement. I'm putting it hear only as an example. I have no idea of the legality of the form even if it seems to hit on all the points to protect you the artist. I can't urge everyone STRONGLY enough to pass anything like this in front of an attorney or at least discuss it with someone who has had EXTENSIVE experience with something like this. Like someone who has had it challenged AND WON! I know I'd certainly hate to have someone come to me a few years down the road asking me for their share of commissions etc.

Things like this can be a major pain but remember, this falls into the "business" side of things and your selling of your art must be handled like a business. This means protecting yourself as well as not violating anyone else's rights.

Sorry for the preaching but I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression with the information that is included in that form.

Judy Mudd
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Lori, just curious. Why do you immediately change your .jpg photos into tiff format? Is it for publishing or is it easier to adjust in Photoshop? I've used PS and a Nikon D70 for years, but hadn't heard about needing to convert to tiff. I'm still learning all the ins and outs!

Lori Woodward
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Judy, the quick answer is that every time you make a change to a jpeg and save it, the images loses visual information. Do this enough times, and no matter how large your file is (resolution wise) it'll get fuzzy.

If you change the file to a tiff format before you change anything, the image will not compress when you make changes and save it.

Be sure to keep your orginal jpeg by saving the new tiff file under a new name.


Tom Weinkle
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Great points lori.

I am offering a suggestion here, not intended with any arrogance please....

Those of you with slr digitals may have a RAW format to capture images with. This is ideal because you can save the original and make copies with adjustments very easily. Photoshop allows you to import RAW. the beauty of the RAW format is that the file is stored with all your adjustments, so that they are reversible, and transferable to other files. You can then make tifs or jpgs as you need while preserving the original image as captured by your camera. It is also a great way to shoot locations... CANON includes RAW software with their cameras, Nikon probably does too.

tom

just an fyi.

Lori Woodward
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Tom, My husband who is a software engr helped me convert my raw files into jpegs and tiffs for my last article, but he didn't have the software to do it (I think) and it took him a while.

Would you consider submitting a blog to Fine Art Views on how to get started taking photos for art publication? perhaps you could share a bit of what you know about how digital SLRs work.

Remember, most of us are artists and not geeks ;-)
I gotta get offline now - lots on work agenda for me today, but go ahead and submit to Clint if you have the time. I'm not really the person to write much about taking photos.


Helen Horn Musser
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Lori, Thank you for all the great information on making photos for competitions or other ventures we may have. It has been very helpful

Judy Mudd
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Thanks, Lori. That explains why I can remember a few photos that ended up being fuzzy even though shot at high res, large/fine format. Thanks so much.

Helen Horn Musser
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Hi Tom, Thank you for the comments on RAW images. I have an Olympus and the software includes Raw in imaging information. I have not learned to use this yet and did not appreciate the importance of it. Great point

Poppy Balser
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Yes please Tom, tell us more about handling photos if that is not too much to ask!

Lori, thanks for the info on why to change to tiff, I never knew that there was an option to jpegs with their loss of integrity every time I manipulate the image. I have been careful to always work off a copy of the original photo, as a work-around.

The agreement that I have with my printmaker is that the image she shoots is mine to use, but that she trusts and expects that I will not use it to create printed materials to sell. Which I have not and will not do. This is a verbal agreement only. Have I left myself at risk? Does anyone wish to comment or does this venture too far into another area for potential discussion at another time?

Sheryl Knight
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Lori, Thank you for your post on Building Art Career Credentials. I think I needed the encouragement about getting published. It is a difficult thing to do but I know that is where I am at. I actually have had a couple of calls this month from small publications, but it is a start. Your information and advise is so helpful. Thanks so much.

Carol Schmauder
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As always Lori, an informative article with very useful information. This year I would like to try to get something going with my art work and you have given me some ideas of a jump off point. Thank you.

Kay Morris
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Lori and all,

I came across some information on Photographing our paintings from an artist. the information is almost the same as what I do and what some galleries have given as instructions. The site is http://terrymiura.blogspot.com/2010/02/few-tips-on-photographing-artwork.html. Check it out and if you have someonething that is less confusing and more accurate I would love to hear from you. Kay

Tom Weinkle
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Hi Kay,

I think there are some great suggestions in the blog. the most important is that the old adage “quality in quality out” is key.

Many people shoot their work outdoors, and if you balance the light correctly, that will work.

I think there are really two reasons to do copy work outdoors: 1). you don't have studio lights, and 2). the work is larger than the studio lights will accommodate.

The suggestions of color bars, etc. are good.
The reason to use color bars is so that there is a standard by which to adjust your images. We need to use a standard because monitors look different, and printers are different, etc. When using RGB color for imagery, converting it to CMYK for print opens another can of worms. There is something called COLORSYNC which helps deal with the differences between devices.

The advice that you have to be faithful to your work is critical. Most competitions will boot you if there is a big difference between the actual and the digital you submitted for jurying.

I don;t profess to be an expert myself, but I will probably write a blog on this topic in the near future, to present some additional thoughts from my own learnings.

thanks for sharing.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
If an artist sends a high resolution digital image and photo (hard copy) to a national watercolor exhibition competition, I don't understand how the images in the catalog at the exhibition can be too dark or colors over saturated.

Can the printing shop just print the high quality photo and leave the colors alone? Recently when I took digital images of my art work to a printer to have note cards made. I told them not to make any adjustments to the images. They turned out great. The time before they made adjustments and changed the saturation and some of the delicate values were lost. It is so easy to loose the correct values of the original if anything is adjusted.

I still say the best images of my artwork have been taken outside in the natural light. I have heard artists say their image looked better than their painting. Something is wrong when that is said. We have to be true to our work!

Barbara Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Oh, how very true about monitors! I have a great monitor here, no problems. However, when I took a cd of my images to my friend's house and we looked at them on her monitor, the images looked washed out. Her monitor really didn't do the paintings any justice. I'm thinking not to make too many adjustments on color also darkness/lightness. The other things to think about also is using a tripod to keep the image crisp and clear. I used to think I was standing still enough but realized that no matter how much I try, I always move ever so slightly.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Recently a professional artist relayed information from an award winning photographer to always use a tripod when photographing artwork. Lay a level on the top horizontal frame of the easel to make sure the painting is leveled properly. Measure with a tape measure from each side of the camera to the each side of the image. Photograph the artwork with the 1 PM sun shining directly on the image.

Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Good idea Barbara about using the tripod. I've been told that many times, especially by the professional photographer I use when I know I need a perfect image. A good reminder. Thanks.


Sheryl Knight
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I enjoyed reading your article Keith, Jewels at Your Feet. How true it is that we often look beyond to that ultimate goal and what may not be attainable for several years and miss the many things right around us we have to be so thankful for. Setting goals that are attainable are important so we perservere and don't get discouraged.

Barbara Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, That's good information there, I really never thought about leveling the painting and adjusting the camera to that. Also, never heard about taking the picture in full sun. Someone told me to take the picture in the shade on the north side of a building, preferably in the morning. I will try try the taking an image in the sun next time at 1:00 and see how I like it. Thanks for that information.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, I agree with you; I have found natural light outdoors makes the best photos of art work. If you don't take your work to a professional this is your best way. Thank you for reminding us

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
These are all great tips; thank you ladies

Helen Horn Musser
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Barbara, this was news for me too; I will try it

Esther J. Williams
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If you take a shot of an oil painting in full sun, all you will get is a whitewash of sun reflections. Best time is in the morning before the sun gets too bright in the sky and take it in the shade against the direction of the sun rising. I just took a bunch of shots this morning that way. Always use a tripod and position the camera dead center at the painting. Check for tilts by zooming in and lining up the painting`s sides with the camera frame. Adjust the angle of the camera, tighten the tripod and gently push the shutter button. If you have a white balance setting, set it to shade, not sunlight. ISO should be 100 or auto.
There`s so much more to say, but I could be on here forever.

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Well do we have a disagreement about the sun?

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
This discussion has been very helpful. Thanks everyone for taking the time to type in your helpful hints and ideas about taking photos of artwork (without having to spend a fortune).

Looks like I will not be writing the blog on taking photos... I only know enough to get my own taken, and they are usually watercolors which don't cause as many problems as oils.

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
I've gotten excellent results using the north light coming into my studio in the early afternoon with the light coming directly on to the canvas. I use a tripod with a level on it and use a level on the canvas as well with the camera "centered" to the canvas and about 4 - 6 feet away depending on the size of the painting. Had no clue if this was "technically" the correct way to accomplish what I'm after but I'm happy with the results so far.

Esther J. Williams
via fineartviews.com
Oils are reflective, it will mirror the sun and colors will lose saturation. Taking images of oil paintings in the shade without any white or light colored objects nearby, like the side of a house, it will also reflect the light and destroy the correct colors of the painting.

Barbara Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
First of all, I'd like to announce that I'm taking out an ad in the Western Art Collector magazine for the special "horse art" issue coming out in June. This is my first attempt to step out of my comfort zone. They will run two paintings for me, sooooo to be on the safe side, I decided to go to a professional photographer. I am NOT a pro at taking my own pictures, however, I am good enough to put them on my website. This is a special occasion and I think will be worth the money in the long run. In the meantime, its good to hear all the good tips on photographing your artwork outdoors. Actually, I seem to be content with taking them in the morning shade, northside of my house..but will also take a couple shots in the sun to see the difference. Thanks all!

Michael Cardosa
via fineartviews.com
one more thing, I use the timer so as to not shake the camera when I take the picture

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I understand about the reflective nature of the oils. In that case Esther is correct. I have always even taken photos of my watercolor paintings on a sunny day but in the shade. Michael is giving great tips also!

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
I feel like I am building my credentials! If anyone gets a chance please go see the Southern Watercolor 33rd Exhibition (18 states) in Madisonville, Ky now until April 30. This weekend I was humbled to see my own work hanging along side my heroes in watercolor painting: Dean Mitchell,James Brantley,Bill James, Jean Grastorf, Judi Betts and others. Chee, the juror said it was the best show he had ever juried! The Glema Mahr Center of the Arts was a beautiful venue in which to show the 94 paintings from the 379 entries. I also won an award on LET THE LIGHT SHINE THROUGH.
It was the highlight of my career so far...I just had to share with my blog friends!

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Cuddos for Tuva! You are our inspiration for the day. I wish I could be there but, am stuck in Texas for the time being. Congratulations!

Michael Cardosa
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Congratulations Tuva! Just keep on building!

Judy Mudd
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I don't know if someone has already mentioned this, but if you have a choice of lenses, standing back 10-15 ft and using a zoom lens is better than using a standard or wide angle lens. Less distortion. To correct distortion, if anyone uses Photoshop (I have an old 7.0 version) there is a "skew" setting that lets you square up your edges if they are off a little.

Helen Horn Musser
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Thank you Judy, I have used the zoom and wondered if it would be as effective of standing close up. I'm still learning to take my own photos

Barbara Mitchell
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Judy, Thanks! When I did photography (amateur) with my 35mm camera, my best photos were using the zoom lense over the standard. No matter how close or far away they were. Not just for my artwork, but just in general.

Barbara Mitchell
via fineartviews.com
Congrads Tuva, I went to the watercolor link you posted, but couldn't find your painting among the others. Did I miss it somewhere? Nice watercolor selection though! I enjoyed looking at them.

Judy Mudd
via fineartviews.com
Yes, Barbara, they tend not to have the curved distortion at the edges when you use a zoom.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Barbara,
The Southern Watercolor Society does not have the 2010 33rd Exhibition on their website yet.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Congratulations Tuva! And thanks for sharing the good news. Let us know when the show is up online. Can we see the painting on your website?

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Lori,
Thanks...yes, "Let the Light Shine Through" is on my main page. It also was accepted into the TnWS (Tennessee Watercolor Society) to be held in Chattanooga, May 22-June 14. George James, juror selected 70 paintings from 214 entries. I will receive Signature Membership into TnWS! TnWS only has their exhibition every 2 years!

Spencer Meagher
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, That is awesome. I live about 120 miles from Madisonville. Perhaps it will work out where I can get down to see the show.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Spencer,
I do hope you get to see the real Southern Watercolor Exhibition! You will not be sorry! I didn't want to leave the exhibition! There were so many fine paintings and painters represented from 18 states. Chee, the juror, "identified paintings that had competent craftsmanship, exciting composition, refreshing contents, innovative process, imaginative power, aesthetic impact and a pioneering spirit, which contributed to an artist's unique vision and left deep and a long lasting impression after repeated viewing." I like that description of how he came about his decisions.

Since Lori's article is about building our credentials, I thought that description might make us all ask which of those qualities fits our own work. I know the judging of art is subjective, but it helps to know how our art is evaluated! Chee's four C's are: Craftsmanship, Content, Composition and creativity.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Great tip Judy about zooming in on the painting when photographing artwork (10-15feet away). I didn't know that!

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
You are welcome; you've worked very hard to see this day and now it is all paying off. I hope we will all take from your example and stick to our work religiously

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Thanks again Helen!
As artists we just have to keep setting small goals and just keep increasing our reach even though it seems silly at the time to even dream that dream. You just have to keep thinking "the best is yet to come." There was a painting at the SWS show of a huge, beautiful cupcake realistically painted on a whole sheet of watercolor paper. IT WAS HUGE! It had the colorful sprinkles, white icing, and a cherry on top! It was a diabetics nightmare/dream! As my artist/friend and I were driving home, she remarked we just have to keep reaching for that cupcake! It was silly I know, but I just can't get that cupcake out of my mind because it represented our goals being reached!

Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, I have seen some of those cupcake paintings and they look good enough to eat. I am going to keep reaching as you said for the next cupcake

Carol Schmauder
via fineartviews.com
Barbara, the zoom lens on a 35mm is great. I had a portrait lens for my 35mm that was very helpful. I should dig out the old camera and give it a shot again.

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Go to this link to see the Giant Cupcake that I was talking about!
http://www.ricdentinger.com/g4_1.php


Helen Horn Musser
via fineartviews.com
Tuva, Ric's cupcake is lucious looking. Wonderful!

Kay Morris
via fineartviews.com
Tuva,

I just looked at your website and I was just blown away buy such wonderful talent. And that Cupcake - I want to order a dozen!

Anyway Congratulation Tuva, I know I will be seeing your work in many galleries, and articles being written about you. Fantastic!!!!

KAY

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Kay,
Thanks so much...wow, what a great comment!

Carol Schmauder
via fineartviews.com
Curiosity sent me to look at the cupcake--wow!

Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Hi Tuva, I really liked your comments about Chee, the juror for the wc show. The quote of what he looks for and his four Cs...craftsmanship, content, composition, and creativity. Those are great to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing with us. Sheryl

Tuva Stephens
via fineartviews.com
Thanks, Sheryl,
I think pretty highly of him because I have received 2 different awards in 2 different shows. He was influential in making me realize an artist must know and capture the essence of the subject and so much more!

Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Congratulations Tuva on your awards. That's great!

Karen Blackwood
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Lori, I love the advice you give and I'm just starting to actively look for ways to get published. Perhaps you would know the best way to submit to Artist Magazine or one like it for an article? Or do they approach the artists who are in the competitions? Also, off topic, I noticed on your web site that you are in NH! I grew up in Nashua and know the area well! Thanks again for the guidance.

Lori Woodward
via fineartviews.com
Karen,

The best way is to enter their competitions. I think that's where Magazine editors look first.

Daniel Keys' work got noticed when he started posting his paintings in the American Artist online forum's gallery section. Some of the editors noticed how good the work was.

You have to join to upload your artwork there. But if you even get a honorable mention in a national competition, your work gets noticed.

Many artists enter competitions year after year before they get an award or noticed, so don't get discouraged if nothing happens right away. However, if you never get noticed, it's time to re-evaluate your artwork. It needs to be remarkable to get "remarked about".


Sheryl Knight
via fineartviews.com
Hi Lori,
I was reading your comments to Karen re. American Artist online forum. I tried to find it and was not able to, just a place to subscribe to the magazine. I do not have that subscription and was wondering if I need it to enter any competitions like you suggested, or is it only online. I currently only subscribe to Southwest Art. I have done several others in the past but not American Artist. Is this one you strongly recomment. Thanks for all your help. Sheryl










 

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