When you are lucky enough to have people asking for the chance to buy prints of your work, you will need to contemplate how you will make, and deliver the final product.
Of course you’ll need the finest-quality print you can afford. Assuming you’ve charged enough money to your patron, you should consider having a professional museum-quality print made by a print house. If you don’t have the budget for that, just put as much money, time and effort as you can to make the print. After all, it is YOUR work and people paying for it will display it. This process deserves your full attention and your best effort.
Most photographers can figure out the aforementioned steps. But in my consulting practice, I work with many photographers and few actually get the delivery piece right. So I am going to try to show you how I go about it, in the hopes that it will put you on the right track.
When I ship out a print, I include a delivery packet with the image. This includes a blind-embossed presentation folder, which has a cutout for my business cards and pockets that I can use to include several documents. These documents are VERY important. In some states, the law requires you to identify signed and numbered prints and to inform the buyer of that standing.
This is also a chance to build after-the-sale, value. You want your patron to feel good about their purchase so this folder helps in that regard too.
What to include?
Let’s start with a thank you card. Your local paper shop, printer, or card shop will have blank note paper with fine-quality matching envelopes. If you can afford it, personalize the cards with your logo or other message. Either way, this should be hand-written, not typed on a computer.
I always include my Artist’s Statement in every delivery packet. If you’d like to read mine, check it out at scottbourne.com. You should have your own artist statement. You should write it yourself and it should come from your heart. You can find lots of examples online, but if you just copy them, you won’t find long-term success. Art requires you to give of yourself. Simply write down what you feel about your art and your Artist’s Statement will be great.
You can also see my Artist’s Statement here:
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY
Each signed and numbered print should include a Certificate of Authenticity. This is a legal document that conveys to the patron the providence of the piece by way of certifying that you are the maker and it is ____ of _______ prints.
If you click the link below, you can find a copy of my COFA. Please note that you are free to copy this and any of the additional documents I provide here, but I make no warranty that these documents will satisfy the laws in your local jurisdiction. If you have questions about them please contact a licensed attorney.
FINE ART CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Each packet should contain a document that explains how to care for the art. Some art is more fade-resistant than others, but at a minimum, most should be displayed away from direct sunlight. This document explains that process to the patron and also conveys the notion that there is genuine value in the art that is worth caring for.
Again – feel free to use mine, but note that I deliver on canvas – your mileage may vary.
PRINT DISPLAY SUGGESTIONS
This document works in tandem with the Fine Art Care Instructions to reinforce proper placement of the art and also details the best type of lighting for illuminating fine art.
The last document in the folder is my guarantee. You have to stand behind your work when you are selling prints and this document gives the patron peace of mind.
Cotton Inspection Gloves
To cap off my packet, I include a pair of cotton print inspection gloves. I instruct my patrons to wear these gloves when handling their art. It helps keep the art clean and again instills the notion that this is valuable.
I also sell art books. I always include the material mentioned above, plus I always dress the book up with a silk bookmark and a form-fitting protection box. And yes gloves are always included.
If you don’t value your work, how can you expect anyone else to? Treat each print/book as if it were gold and treat each patron the same way. Make the delivery of the product as special as the pictures and you’ll have a long career.