The Understand Photography Show: Episode 43 - Getting Started Selling Your Art with Joe Parisi

Peggy Farren 2017-07-04

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Here are the show notes for episode #43 of The Understand Photography Show:

Understand Photography General Notes

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Show Notes for Episode #43: Getting Started Selling Your Art

“People want something they’re familiar with. They want to buy an image that reminds them of something they’ve seen, either on vacation or where they live here.”

Episode 43 with Joe Parisi

About Joe
Joe started as an underwater photographer.

After moving to FL he became more interested in landscape and bird photography.

“Get involved!” Shortly after moving to FL he joined the Marco Island Art League and the local photo club.

Sells photos at Art Shows, Exhibitions, and on the Web

- Prints all of his own photos on paper

- Has many of his larger images printed on metal - it sells, people like it, it’s more vibrant, it uses a different kind of ink than what is used on paper or canvas.

- To start with, art shows are a BIG investment: 10x10 tent with sides, mesh art walls, tent weights, booth fee, tables, bins, approximately 15 different framed prints and 15-20 prints matted in sleeves, sets of 5x7 notecards — about $4-$5,000 investment for first show.

- Now commits to 20 shows per year, likes juried shows better.

- Big sellers are bird photography and landscapes, Cape Romero, macro - flowers, fish

- Try to have something for everybody, from $5 notecards up to $550 20”x30” metal prints

“People want something they’re familiar with. They want to buy an image that reminds them of something they’ve seen, either on vacation or where they live here.”

- the reason he doesn’t print or sell a lot of his travel based “street photography”

Photography is a hard sell. Paintings and drawings have an intrinsic value because not everyone can paint or draw. Most people *think* they can take a similar photo so will be less inclined to pay the same as they might for a painting.

Favorite spots for Bird and Wildlife Photography

Tiger Tail beach/lagoon - many wading birds, tern and skimmer colonies, osprey nest from lookout tower
10,000 Islands National Wildlife Preserve, Marsh trail
Venice Rookery
Miami Zoo - no fences to shoot through, just moats
Corkscrew Sanctuary

“Wildlife photography is just like fishing. When you go fishing sometimes you come home with fish, sometimes you come home with bait. You have to be extremely patient and persistent.”

You may come back from a day out with 700 images. Maybe 20 of those are good, but only 1 or 2 may be worth printing.

“Part of your job is to go out there and enjoy the interaction between you and the bird and nature. Then try to instill that same feeling in other people.”

When I’m trying to sell images, I try to educate people about the habits and habitats of the birds or animals.

“The more you teach people about the product, the more they’ll get involved in it and hopefully want to preserve that bird, lion, or elephant.”

Underwater Photography vs. Bird Photography

Underwater is much more difficult.

- you're IN the water with about 40 minutes of air, with a scuba tank, wetsuit, mask, 20 lb. weights around your waist, a flotation device, your camera (lenses can be wide angle, macro, or 50mm) inside a waterproof housing (which makes it buoyant and sometimes more difficult to handle)

- you need skills, learn how to be neutrally buoyant - can’t stir up sand from bottom.

- in deeper water, colors fade so you need strobe lights.

- fish are always moving - you can’t chase them, you need to position yourself well.

Bird photography is easier - you can breathe!

- Same camera, different lenses - 600mm with tele-extender to 800mm

- The bird should take up 75% of your viewfinder - people should be able to tell what kind of bird it is.

- Birds in flight - ned a tripod with a gamble head. Need to learn to lead the birds -PRACTICE!

- The more you learn about the bird’s behaviors, the easier it will be to anticipate the shot.

- Practice photographing anything that moves: cars, kids riding bikes, people dancing, etc.


The more you practice, read, and talk to people, the better photographer you’ll be.

Make sure you know your camera COLD. Your camera work should be INSTINCTUAL so you can focus your attention on your subject.

Travel and plan outings with a “photo buddy” - someone you can bounce ideas off of and learn from, someone that you're not in competition with.

Joe Parisi


See you next week for episode 44!

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