Fine Art Marketing; “Do What You Love And Your Work Will Reflect Your Passion”

Sula of began her career in photography in her 20s shooting parties, events, and portraits. At the time, it was not her full-time career because her true artistic passion was shooting macros and landscapes. Sula quips, "Unfortunately, I never got a flower to pay me, so I kept a day job to help pay for my photography and travel habit."

Mountain Magic Silh
All Photos © 2007, Sula Miller, All Rights Reserved

Seven years ago she decided it was time to pursue her dreams of selling her work in the fine art photography field. She liquidated her assets and transitioned from a career as an account executive for a leading postproduction company in Los Angeles to a full-time artiste. Her first stop was Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she co-produced the documentary American Waitress, New Mexico and displayed her first fine art series, "Series 42."

Sula began her pursuit of new venues in Santa Fe by submitting work to galleries within the vicinity. She then drove across the country on a quest to find gallery representation. Her method was to choose a specific town to approach, pick up a local map and list of galleries at the tourist center and literally visit as many as possible. Sula would then inspect the gallery to see if her work would be well suited. She explains, "If they were only showing paintings from `The Masters,' obviously my work would not fit. I also had the problem at the time that my work was not traditional photography. Photo galleries then were still only showing black and white silver gelatin prints, but now giclée prints are more common. I also found that I worked best in a multimedia type of gallery."

Grand Canyon Dawn

As a photo rep, I have always believed that paper products, such as calendars, post cards, and greeting cards are an extension of fine art, as they are not strictly commercial assignments. When I spoke with Sula to get this update on the marketing of her fine art/photo work with galleries, she shared facts about what experience has taught her and about her new and exciting endeavors into these additional areas of fine art.

Shutterbug: How did you go about selecting what your specialty in fine art would be?

Sula: I shoot macros and nature because it is the type of photography I love to do whether or not I get paid. My goal is that my images, although light and lovely, will have an effect of creating a greater appreciation for all of nature from the tiniest flower to the grandest landscape. I recommend that people do what they love and their work will reflect their passion.

SB: How long did your marathon cross-country approach to finding gallery representation take, and was it successful?

Sula: I spent a year on the road traveling through various areas. When I found a gallery that I thought was compatible with my work I would contact the director or owner and make an appointment to show my portfolio. Perseverance was my guide. I must have approached over 300 locations! After a year on the road, my images were represented by a large number of galleries and my geographic coverage was quite broad. These included galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Coconut Grove, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Sedona, Arizona; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Wilmington, North Carolina; Santa Barbara, California; and Long Island, New York.

Pearly Flower

SB: How did you market and maintain your presence in the fine art galleries?

Sula: For marketing my work, press releases were integral. I was sensitive to the fact that press releases had to be of some newsworthy significance to get published; therefore, I usually sent them when opening a new show, when there were multiple shows in several galleries at the same time, or when I was signing on with a new gallery.