It isn’t hard to tell from my website that I intend to sell prints of my work. It is my art, and I want to share it in the best way possible through having it be on the wall. While I have sold some prints in the past, I have noticed a trend in what people will pay for with my own work and others as well. Unless you are a prestigious art collector this likely includes you as well!
Most art buyers don’t know!
Most people going out to buy a print don’t have much experience purchasing art. They aren’t collectors with a backlog of originals and prints in archival storage. Art collectors know how to look for merit in their purchases beyond it being something they innately enjoy. That is perfectly fine. Not everybody needs to or should purchase art because they intend to make money from it appreciating in value. Art can be just something nice you want to fill a spot on the wall!
What they end up with.
It is predictable to some extent though what an inexperienced art buyer will gravitate towards. One of the things most commonly purchased is of an iconic location they have been to, a spot near home, or something along those lines. It is comfortable and known to this type of person and it is more likely to end up on the wall because of that. There is a connection to the place, but not necessarily the art.
A likely combination with the location is decent to good light, and what I mean by this is a sunset or sunrise catching the clouds in a scene. This is what photographers call the “golden hour” because of the way it is conducive to nice images. The way you can go wrong here is if the color is overwhelming as a distraction covering up less than stellar composition, bad processing, or anything truly unique image.
There is one other direction an inexperienced art buyer will go is with a subject matter they like. It could be a barn, starry night sky, or animal that they have an experience interacting with in the past. It doesn’t have to be anything specific. There isn’t an innate issue with this practice or any of the others if careful. It is good to buy things you like, including art. Nobody that hates horses should have a print of a stallion on their wall. The problem is when the subject of the art blurs your perception of the art on its own in a void. Is it really good art or is it just art of something you like?
Let's wrap this up.
Most people don’t know much about the art they will buy. This has always been the case and will continue to be. There is a good reason why certain online stores sell cheap posters and other forms of art by the truckload! So, the real reason why I am talking about this right now is three-fold: to vent (obvious), to encourage less experienced art buyers to do their research, and to tell you why I do my art.
Why it doesn’t matter. (to me...)
The more I shoot, the more heavily my art tends to represent my own vision. I do landscape photography as something that is self-fulfilling first and secondly as a business. My goal is to create photographs that are my expression of a location, subject, or idea and not the other way around. I don’t want to be known as another photographer that takes photos of iconic locations for the sake of just selling them.