Best Places to Find Reference Photos for Artists!

Hi friends! Today I’m going to share my secrets to finding great photos you can use to inspire your next painting!

Here is a list of references from the video! Enjoy!

  1. Your own photos, get in the habit of taking photos when you see something inspiring during your day. It is the best way to create unique art meaningful to you. The phone on your camera will do a great job and is usually on you so it is a perfect option. You can always bring a nicer camera if you are going on a trip or plan to take a serious shot but often inspiration hit when we don’t have our fancy camera on us.
  2. Free commercial use, public domain or creative commons photo-sharing sites. These sites have beautiful professional photos for the taking. These websites are sponsored by the big paid stock photo sites so if you can’t find what you want for free you might consider paying for other options. These first two websites have a collection feature so you can organize the photos you like for future use.
    https://unsplash.com/
    https://www.pexels.com
    https://pixabay.com/
    https://pxhere.com/
    https://morguefile.com/
    https://www.foodiesfeed.com/ (if you like to paint food)

There are many other free stock photo sites online but the above have the best references useful to artists in my humble opinion:) The downside is that other artists may use the same exact photo you do so it’s a good idea to use a few photos to compose a painting so you have a new artwork in the end.

Another option is Wikipedia, not only can you find creative commons photos on nearly every post (check terms of use just in case, I often use a reverse image search if I am unsure of the source and if it is OK to use) and you can research your subject matter at the same time.

  1. Peer to Peer photo-sharing sites. Search facebook for “photos for artists” groups and request to join ones that share photos in a subject matter you like. Be mindful of the rules so you don’t break them and create drama in these groups. Another great option is Paint My Photo where you can share your reference photos as well. Just be sure to abide by the rules of the group. In most cases you need to create an account and join these peer to peer sharing groups and you are expected to share and contribute to the community wherein the stock photo sites you can remain more anonymous. These groups give you the benefit of an art community in addition to the free photos.

Another resource I want to mention (especially f you are not keen on using a computer) is a series of books called “Artist Photo Reference” from North Light Books. I have the complete series now but it took some filling in on amazon as they are all out of print now. They are a wonderful investment and organized by theme. If you get a change to pick these books up I highly recommend them. I hope this was helpful and if you know a great website with photos please share it in the comments!

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Weird Tricks for Getting Exposure for Your Art on Socail Media!

Hi friends! You may think that there is a magic way to game social media to boost your art and craft business. In today’s Art Marketing Vlog I’ll show you how!

Hmmm, that’s probably not what you wanted to hear huh? Truth is, it takes work to build traction on social media and you can’t just hop on and push your products, You need to be yourself and give people value, otherwise why would they follow you. No one wants to be marketed to but everyone wants to connect in a meaningful way. Ask yourself how you can offer value to your followers?

The other advice I would offer is not to spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to be on every social media platform, pick the ones that make sense to your customers. For me it’s YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  I have other accounts but they never took off as well as those and since my time is limited I’d rather do well on a couple platforms and flail on all of them.

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I hope todays video helped you realize that doing well on social media is all about caring about your followers and being yourself. If you want more tips on building a handmade business check out our sponsor Rich Mom Business and their Free Handmade Training course. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Are You Being Paid in Fun? {art marketing vlog}

Hi friends! There is a point in every artists or crafters career that they have to decide if they are going to get a real job or charge enough to make a living or even (gasp) plan for retirement and build wealth. This myth of the “starving artist” bugs me for several reasons. The biggest one is that some people believe that since the job is fun we should not be paid much. Often that feeling comes from the artists and crafters themselves. Let’s discuss this in today’s art marketing vlog:

This video is sponsored by Rich Mom Business and their FREE handmade training course.

The fact that YOU are the only one making YOUR art, that should make it more valuable. Here are some steps to ensure that you charge enough for your work and get paid what you deserve:

  1. Learn how to figure out what you should be paid (materials, hours, overhead, profit)
  2. Stand by this price.
  3. Educate your customer on the value of your work.
  4. Learn the pitfalls of charging less: If you take less for a job than you are going to need to rush to do more work to make up for that, your quality will suffer and your work will end up being worth less. When people know you will work for less they will never pay a fair price.

In many of these art marketing videos I share ways to make and build an art business but you also need to learn to sustain it so you can stay in business. Good luck in your art and craft career and til next time happy crafting!

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How’s That Art Business Going?

Hi friends! Today I have an art marketing vlog for you. It is easy to be dissatisfied with our handmade business and we may feel jealous and compare our business with another artists business. Sometimes we think other artists and crafters are just more lucky and in the worst case it might even make us feel like closing up shop. Don’t until you watch today’s video!

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See, you never know what is really happening behind the scenes in another crafters studio or checkbook for that matter so why speculate. It does no good. What will do you some good is hard work and minding your own business. If you want even more handmade business tips be sure to check out Rich Mom Business’s Free Handmade Training course, whether you are selling on ETSY, craft fairs of you have a dedicated web store she will help you make products that sell, and, this course is free.

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So, do you get caught up in comparing? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Look what I did today…

Hi friends! I thought I would get a couple of these live shows under my belt before I made a big to-do about it but it was so much fun that I had to share. Last week was the first episode of a 12 week series called Video Entrepreneurs on the Video Creators YouTube channel. It is a panel discussion with 6 full-time youtubers where we discuss the business of YouTube and how to improve our channels. Each week a different creator is in the “hot seat” (my turn is next week) and can ask advice of the others. This series is designed to help other creators improve their channels too. Here is a replay of todays live show:

I hope this helps other creators, if nothing else it might be interesting for anyone wanting to know a little more about what being a full time youtuber is like. It’s kinda crazy that I get to do this for a living, I never expected it when I started my channel almost 6 years ago. I hope you don’t mind this change of content today, I will be back with another Stamp School video tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Art Marketing After the Holidays {art marketing vlog}

Hi friends! For many of us tomorrow is the first day back to work or school after the holiday break. It can be tempting to take some more time off while business is slow but I don’t recommend it. You can use this time for professional development  such as: learn a new type of art, take a business class or begin a large project. This is the time of year I plan summer classes and workshops and undertake large freelance projects. I also like to use my slow time to build my content inventory reserve by filming extra videos and writing extra blog articles that I can publish quickly if things get hectic. That is what I am talking about in today’s Art Marketing vlog! *I filmed this in October by the way… 😀

Video!

This video is sponsored by Rich Mom Business, they have a free handmade training course that can help you design a product line that will sell. Now is the time to be designing products for spring and summer fairs and festivals. Remember that thing I said about “professional development”…

So, you might be wondering how making videos or writing blog articles will really help your bottom line when people are not spending much on art and craft items this time of year. Well, this is where YOU give back to your customers. It is nice to sell a painting or necklace but that should not be the only reason you want people coming to your website. Give people a reason to stop by even if they are not looking to buy. You should be giving value WAY more than asking for a sale. People won’t come to your blog just to be sold to. You want people coming to your blog and pining your posts to Pinterest and sharing them in Facebook because those back links are powerful. Search engines see that, and rank websites based on the amount of traffic and high quality websites linking back to them. You will not get this to happen without offering valuable content to your audience.

What do I write about?

  1. Share your process.
  2. Show photos of your studio or where you create.
  3. Explain why you choose certain paints, beads, paper etc. This could be a weekly series called “My Favorites”
  4. Show them how to make your art. You may think it will cost sales but it will really make them respect you more and make customer realize all the work that goes into your craft.
  5. Haul video: Show people the supplies you bought for your projects and why you chose those particular pieces.
  6. Storage ideas as pertains to your work.
  7. Review a product you just tried.
  8. Collaborate with other artists who may share similar customers (consider crafters who compliment your work instead of competing with it, like a framer and a painter)
  9. Share artwork done by students (if you teach) it will encourage your readers to give it a try, and if you do workshops you may get a boost in enrollment.
  10. Share “behind the scenes” anecdotes, I always looked up to designers in magazines before I started getting published, I thought it was so weird how I had to have Christmas projects done in May to meet the printing deadlines. What quirky stories could you share?
  11. Show how you photograph your art or film your videos.
  12. Write about the difference in quality of the supplies available for your craft.
  13. Share pics from trade shows or craft fairs you attend or snap reference photos to share with your viewers.
  14. Try a different craft and see how you do, if it’s not a success it will be good for a laugh LOL!

There are 2 types of content you should be thinking about writing:

Evergreen: These are not seasonal and can publish any time of year.

Seasonal: These are holiday projects that should run 2 weeks before a holiday or within a certain time frame. Also you can make content inspired by a current trend or cultural phenomenon like I did with my Katniss Wrap free crochet pattern when the second hunger Games Movie came out. When the Great Gatsby movie came out there were lots of jewelry project published on that theme. Did you notice any YouTubers making DIY Star Wars projects lately? There were.

Make sure you post the seasonal content leading up to the events they are tied too and the evergreen content can publish any old time you need something new on your blog. I typically blog daily but if you are new try once or twice a week. You can even write up posts when you have the time and schedule them so you can space them out. You don’t want to post 9 articles in one day and then nothing for 2 months. You want a steady stream of traffic so that when you have something new to sell people will still be looking. The art marketing game is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no “overnight success” and the best way to succeed is to keep showing up!

Hey, if anything else it will force you to be creative everyday instead of binge watching Netflix in your free time.

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PS, another quick tip is to share photos! I was working on a deadline tonight and snapped a quick pic of my desk to share on instagram and I can recycle it here too! I am working on an upcoming class, this opportunity came to me because an editor saw one of my videos (do you see what I am getting at here?)and if I hadn’t posted that particular video I would not have gotten this project. Don’t be afraid to share your crafty knowledge because you think people will not buy your work if they know how you did it, it s the opposite, it builds a connection and opens the doors to so many more opportunities! Ant that is what I call Happy crafting!

Art Marketing Q&A LIVE Tomorrow!

Hi friends! I just wanted to hop in real quick and let you know that I will have a live question and answer session with Renae Christine of Rich Mom Business tomorrow at 1pm ET. If you want to ask a question live you will want to join us on the Youtube Watch Page but you can also watch the stream or replay  in the player below.

YouTube Video Player!

I wish I knew how to change the old dorky photo of me on that thumbnail LOL! I encourage you watch the live Q&A if:

  1. You would like to earn enough from your hobby to pay for supplies.
  2. You would like to earn enough for holiday shopping or a vacation.
  3. You would to earn a full-time income from your handmade business.

Renae and I both make a living from our handmade endeavors.  We have different ways we do this and unique perspectives.  If you are thinking about doing a craft fair or opening an online shop please tune in! We will talk about everything from pricing, to sourcing materials to whether or not “custom” is a good idea. I hope to see you live! Happy Crafting!

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