5 Reasons People Don’t Buy Art, Demystifying the Process

Senor Cigar

Señor Cigar at www.IndochinePhotography.me

Have you ever thought of buying fine art prints for your home or office? Have you thought about why you haven’t done it? As an Indie-artist (Photographer) I am faced with consumer buying reluctance all the time. I think the best way to overcome that reluctance is with honest, straightforward information. In this post I will address some common concerns, and share with you some reasons I think you might want to consider purchasing prints for your home or office. First the concerns:

1. Insecurity

Many people are unsure about their artistic taste. They are often new to buying art and don’t trust their own judgement, therefore their purchase should be a collaborative effort between themselves, the artist and the gallery. Any artist or gallery should be willing to spend the time required to help buyers make their selection, and if they are unwilling to do so they aren’t worth the buyer’s time or money. Buying art is rarely a one visit process, a buyer wants to know about the artist, the gallery and the image itself.

Unless you’re a professional collector who buys art for yourself or for clients  as an investment, consider art as an aesthetic purchase and trust your instincts. Collectors buying art strictly for investment purposes are primarily concerned with Return on Investment (ROI). Will the art appreciate in value over time and provide the investor with a profit when and if they choose to sell the piece at a later date? Even for experts in the field of fine art this is a crapshoot at best, investing in anything to make a profit is always a gamble from Wall Street to the best art galleries in the world. Will my fine art prints increase in value over time? Who knows. I would certainly never claim that as a guarantee, nor would any reputable artist or gallery. It depends on exposure, notoriety, demand and even the life expectancy of the artist in some cases (many don’t become famous until after they’ve died).

Therefore I would suggest you buy what you like, what appeals to you, what speaks to you. Consider the space where the piece will be hung in your home or office. Look at color, style, size and presentation format. When you buy from Indochine Photography you are in complete control, you select the specific image you want amongst the many offered, you select the size and presentation format. In my virtual store you will see exactly what you are buying before checkout. You can choose from hundreds of frames, mattes, and presentation mediums such as canvas, acrylic or metal prints, or you can choose to buy “prints only” and have them mounted anyway you like, anywhere you likeI am available at any time for consultation, if you have questions you only need to ask. Contact me through my website and I will respond to your questions quickly and honestly. 

2. Assurance

Buyers don’t automatically know if the art being offered for sale is worth what the artist and gallery are charging. Buyers rightfully expect value with their purchase. Buyer assurance only happens when they receive sufficient information to make sound buying decisions. Is the artist and gallery reputable? Is the quality of the art offered high when compared to similar artists? When comparison shopping do the prices seem reasonable and competitive? Is the artist’s work compelling clearly demonstrating perceived value? The buyer should be assured of all these factors before purchasing.

When looking at an artist look at their presence, how they present themselves in the marketplace. Are they professional and do they have gravitas within the art world? Get to know them, their work and their reputation. As Indie-artists most of us have an online presence, so even if you can’t meet us face-to-face in a brick & mortar art gallery you can get to know us through our website. Indochine Photography maintains a fully functional professional website at www.IndochinePhotography.me. Here you will find my biography, my personal story. You will also find stories about how my images come about, and more importantly you will find testimonials on the quality and value of my photography from people who have actually purchased my fine art prints. My professional qualifications include:

  • Over sixty years experience in photography with the past seven years photographing in a professional capacity. 
  • My art has been internationally recognized & awarded by various organizations, curators, critics and peers.
  • I founded my company Indochine Photography in 2009.
  • I’ve printed, exhibited and sold my work at SoHo Galleries, as well as Cafe la Boheme on Avenida Paseo de Montejo, in Merida, Yucatan. I continue to sell my prints worldwide through my online gallery and store at Indochine Photography at www.IndochinePhotography.me.
  • I was the staff photographer for The Yucatan Times newspaper in Mexico (2012) and the official photographer for Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve and Puuc Jaguar Conservation (2012 – 2013).
  • I am a contributing author to Northrup Photo with over 100,000 subscribers worldwide.
  • I am the author of Expat Journal a photography, travel and lifestyle blog founded in 2011 and followed in 125 countries.

3. Money

Some people who would like to buy and collect art simply can’t afford to do so. There are others who think they can’t afford to but could if they chose to do so. There is a difference. There is a misconception that you have to be rich & famous to collect art, or that you have to be an expert. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Fact, some people can’t afford to buy art. Fact, some people “think” they can’t afford to buy art. Which kind of person are you? Fact, the majority of art buyers and collectors are not rich & famous and they are not experts in the fine art field. Most art buyers are everyday people. Beautiful art does not have to necessarily be expensive. New artists offer talented and creative work everyday for very reasonable prices. Will they be the Van Gogh or Ansel Adams of the future? Who knows? Does it really matter? Possibly if you’re buying solely for investment, but if you’re buying simply for pleasure you can enjoy their art without ever worrying if your purchase will appreciate in value. Sometimes the ability to buy art is no more than making it a priority. Pay attention to where your money is goes. Do you spend $5 a day at Starbucks, do you go out to lunch everyday, do you buy items of clothing you really don’t need? Most times buying a piece of fine art isn’t as prohibitive as you might think. If a canvas print or matted & framed print is out of your reach consider buying a “print only” or even a greeting card. It’s a start.

4. Confusion

Customers may not understand a particular artist’s pricing model. Some artist’s don’t understand their model either because there is no rhyme or reason to it. Some artists sell through multiple distribution channels and do not have uniform prices on similar pieces, they confuse the buyer about what the real price and value of their work is. Are their prices fluctuating in ways that seem to have no logic? For instance, how can they price an image four times more when it is only 25% larger than other works in their portfolio?

Pricing at Indochine Photography is logical and consistent. As the presentation size increases so does the price. Price is also predicated on the presentation format. Canvas prints, acrylic prints and metal prints are all priced differently than “prints only.” I have established a set price for each print size within my pricing algorithm. Compare any two prints in my gallery, of the same size, and you will see the same price (different images do not have different prices, prices are based on size and not on subject). When I sell prints in a brick & mortar gallery or cafe the prices are the same as those reflected in my online gallery. All customers in all venues pay the same price.

How did I establish my prices in my pricing algorithm? That’s a fair question and one which I am willing to answer. First I shopped my competition, artists (photographers) exhibiting equal technical skill and artistic ability and charted their prices. Next I determined an average price by factoring in the broad range of prices covered by those artists after first deleting the anomalies (in this case the highest and lowest prices). This established my base (print) price per size and is consistent throughout my gallery, no weird pricing fluctuations. This base price is a “real” price and the value is consistent with my competition. Market and demand always drive price and my pricing algorithm is reviewed annually.

What determines the final cost of your selected fine art print? Another fair question and one which I am also willing to answer. This also answers the unspoken question of how I make my money on any given sale. I do not enjoy the entire price charged as most people might assume, I receive only a percentage of the total price. Here’s how my pricing structure works with its attendant variables:

  • The customer first selects an image from my gallery and then determines what size would be most appropriate for their purchase. This establishes the base price (the cost of the print); I receive most of this cost directly (usually about 90%) but it’s typically the smallest part of the overall price (except when buying a “print only”).
  • Next the customer will select the presentation format, this might be a painter’s canvas print, acrylic print, metal print or a matted & framed print (it might even be a greeting card). Now the choice becomes unique to the customer, and the customer can customize the order any way they choose by selecting frame types and color, matte types and color, gallery wrap options on canvas and so on. Each customized selection will alter the overall price based on the cost of materials. As the customer goes through this process online they will see the actual image and price changes as they occur. This is a free online service with no cost or obligation, the customer is not committed to the order until checkout. I only receive a 10% commission on these ancillary products and services.
  • Finally when the order is complete the customer will be advised of all shipping & handling charges before payment. My gallery is sponsored by Fine Art America (FAA) and they provide excellent products, services and shipping at very competitive prices. I have never had a customer complaint or concern regarding quality or shipping. With 14 fulfilment centers in 5 countries we can ship anywhere in the world, usually within 3-days.

5. Remorse

Post-cognitive dissonance is the fancy way to describe the sense of regret buyers sometimes have after they have made a purchase. There are situations where customers anticipating remorse kill a deal even though part of them really wants to own the artist’s work. Let’s call it pre-cognitive dissonance.

Indochine Photography working with Fine Art America takes the risk out of buying fine art online. Our return policy is very simple:

If you’re not happy with a purchase that you made at Indochine Photography & FineArtAmerica, for any reason at all, you can return it to us within 30 days of the order date. As soon as it arrives, we’ll issue a full refund for the entire purchase price. Please note, Fine Art America does not reimburse the outgoing or return shipping charges unless the return is due to a defect in quality. Fine Art America sells thousands of pieces of artwork each month, all with a 100% money-back guarantee. If you’ve hesitated to purchase artwork online in the past why not give us a try? You have nothing to lose. We take great pride in the fact that 363,793 artists have chosen Fine Art America to fulfill their orders and we look forward to helping you select your next piece.

The above Satisfaction Guarantee is the reason I chose Fine Art America to sponsor my online gallery at Indochine Photography. They’re the biggest and they’re the best. I want my customers to be completely satisfied with each purchase.

Why you might want to consider buying fine art prints and even start a collection, whether modest or grand:

  • Personal Satisfaction. It’s both fun and rewarding. Shopping for that perfect piece of artwork to fill an empty space in your home or office is ultimately satisfying. The search, the sighting and then the capture. It’s like hunting but better. Your trophy isn’t a mounted head on the wall, it’s a man-created piece of beauty and interest.
  • Personal Expression. It’s a way of visually sharing your personality. Your emotions, your vision, and even your philosophy on life can all be expressed visually for everyone to see and comment on. You choose the images that speak to you, that resonate. Art can be an extension and expression of the nobler you.
  • Personal Philanthropy. The buying of art has always been a philanthropic activity. Ever since we’ve had artists we’ve had philanthropists, Patrons-of-the-Arts. Without their generous support, both emotional and financial, artists would literally starve to death–spiritually and physically. Help a starving artist pursue their talent, their art. Help save their life.
  • Personal Investment. The art you buy today might be the masterpieces of the future. Certainly Vincent van Gogh and Ansel Adams never expected their art to sell in the millions of dollars. With investment there is never any guarantee, but art is a form of investment that also provides immediate enjoyment from the beginning. You can enjoy art daily whether it appreciates in financial value or not.
  • Personal Stories. By developing a personal relationship with  an artist, with a gallery, you can invite their stories into your home or office. In doing so those stories become your own. Get to know your artist and their work. Share what you learn with your family and friends. They’ll be interested, and they’ll be interested that you’re interested. I love the personal relationships I have with my customers, they’re valued friends. Visit me today at Indochine Photography at www.indochinePhotography.me.

WB IMG_2747

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Photographer, Writer and World Traveler

Lima, Peru


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