Tag Archive for 'wall'

Talking Large Prints on Camera Dojo:

dogologoby Gavin Seim: I recently joined David and Kerry over on the Camera Dojo podcast to talk about making and selling large wall portraits and canvas pieces. I’ve been chatting about this quite a lot these days because it’s become so relevant to my business. Large prints sell and they look spectacular doing it.

Head over to Dojo and check it out. I apologize for in advance my hyperactivity. It was not coffee. I’ve just been very excited about large prints. Once you make and sell a few you’ll probably understand. Also take a peek at my recent article on large prints. Be prepared however. This has been the most hotly discussed topic ever on Pro Photo Show. I’m sticking to my guns because I know from recent experience that large prints sell and make sense. That said there’s no law against disagreeing with me. Enjoy… Gav

Wall Portraits – Why That 8×10 Is Stealing Your Career:

by Gavin Seim: Updated 04/2012:

Have you ever admired classical art hanging in a museum? Maybe Sargent, Bierstadt, Rembrandt? It’s from the painters that we inherited this profession and every photographer should take time to look closer at what they did. You owe it to yourself and your clients to start placing appropriate sized pieces on walls. Photographers have missed much of the furniture quality appeal of their craft. Part of the problem is that they think of themselves as photographers. As camera operators.

We are in a saturated industry that’s in a rut of low grade commodities. But it’s time to change that. Hemingway was not a typist, he was an author. Those that have the skill to make quality wall portraits are not camera operators. They are artisans. Anyone can take pictures, but being a master of photographics is no easier than being a master painter. The mindset we have effects the product we produce. I Am Not a Photographer (see article).

Now it’s not only the fault of digital or too many people with cameras. We’ve trained ourselves and our clients to think small. It’s something that goes back to the early days of the wet plates and small contact prints that we’ve never quite escaped. People walk through our doors thinking in 8×10’s, 5×7’s and wallets. And we encourage them. It’s helping make photography a cheap commodity and it’s time to start changing all that.

Why should an 11×14 hang on the wall? It probably shouldn’t. Chances are the wall is much larger than that. But we’ve fallen into a rut of thinking small is all people want and need. Some tell me that “people won’t want these in my area”. But I’ll be blunt.. If people aren’t buying wall art, it’s because you don’t know how to make and or sell said wall portraits. I live in small town America and have discovered for myself that people love personalized wall art. You simply need to show them the quality and value of a beautiful appropriately sized piece. But first you have to understand the value yourself. Lets look.

120×72 – Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Albert Bierstadt, 1866. Birstadt is one of my favorite Husdon River School pictorialist’s. Amazing work at stunning sizes. Click this one for a large version. It’s amazing.

When you walk into a furniture store are they afraid to show you the larger dining set that fits your room? Do they act like it’s a stupid to buy the Italian leather instead of the cheap import? No. The only reason clients are asking for 8×10’s is because we’ve trained them to. Try showing them a thirty inch framed canvas of their beautiful family and see how they respond. If we do it well, we’re moving towards fine furnishings.

It’s been about 5 years since I first attended Wall Portrait Conference to really learn about all this. I know it can work, because nearly every client I have purchases at least a 24 inch heirloom quality print for their wall (I charge around $600 for those). That’s my smallest wall portrait size. I’ve sold up to 70 inch pieces using these same principles. Not because I’m a hard sell, but because I’m making and showing quality pieces that myself and my clients can really be proud to show.

But rather than simply making my own case, allow history to help. Below are some classical works, listed with their original sizes. We think of these as classics now, but when made, they were often commissions meant to hang on someones wall just like our photographs. Take a few moments to really look at them, then I’ll be back. And if you want to and get inspired in print form, check out some books like Sargent’s Portraits Of The 1890’s, Frederick Church, or J.W. Waterhouse. Or for the lover of pictorials like myself, here’s a stunning book on the Hudson River School era of painting.

46×34, Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts. Rembrandt, 1631. It seems that even 300+ years ago, a wall portrait was a thing of note. Look at the quality of this work. Click for a larger version. Even the catch lights look perfect.


38″x32″ – Gather Rosebuds While Ye May by Waterhouse 1909

The Voyage Of Life, Manhood

80″x52″ The Voyage Of Life, Manhood by Thomas Cole, 1842

Continue reading ‘Wall Portraits – Why That 8×10 Is Stealing Your Career:’

Attend Some Workshops In 2009

I’ve been making a point to attend more workshops and sessions this year. There’s just so much to learn and I owe it to my business, my clients (and you readers) to absorb information. We should all take the time to learn expand and share. Speaking of which I twitter favorite tips while I’m at sessions. You find my twitter feed here. In person workshops just have something more than you can get online.


Last night I attended David Ziser’s Digital WakeUp Call. David is the legendary photographer who writes Digital Pro Talk. He’s also a great salesman and presenter and seeing him in person was a real treat. He talked marketing, workflow, lighting and more. Wow, it was a load of information and tips a short time. Not to mention that the extras you get make the low cost of admission more than worth it and that  there were loads of great door prizes.

I also met some of you listeners there which was super cool. Afterwords David, myself and a few others who had  helped David and his wife LeDawn (what a hard worker she was) with setup lounged around and talked shop for awhile. It was a fun evening.

If you can get to the WakeUp Call don’t miss it. You can get in for $59 if you sign up with promo code ZGSDWC09


Then last week I also attended the legendary Wall Portrait Conference lead by Ken Whitmire. It’s more spendy, but a six day INTENSE workshop focusing on taking your portraits and sales to the next level.

All I can say is WOW. Ken was such a neat old guy, and all week we had great speakers Like Bruce & Josh Husdon, Sam Gardener, and many more, filling our professional quiver with more arrows. Any photographer who’s not selling large portraits from their sessions as a norm needs to attend this conference.

The WP Conference is only once a year. I’m going to try and work out a discount for PPS’ers with Ken, so stay tuned.

I’ll be talking about workshops and all I’m learning more on the podcast, but the bottom line is get out there. Their worth the time and money. There’s even my own 3 day HDR workshop coming this fall where you’ll learn how to use HDR properly, avoid overuse and take images to the next level. Check it out here.

Gavin Seim