5 Steps to a Magazine Feature of You and Your Art

The November 2014 / January 2015 edition of Professional Artist magazine features an article by me titled “Think Before You Leap: Beware of People Who Tell You to Follow Your Passion.”

The editor suggested photos of artists at work to accompany the article and I knew exactly who to contact: ceramic artist Patricia Griffin.

Patricia Griffin in her studio. Photo by Debbie Markham.

Patricia Griffin in her studio. Photo by Debbie Markham.

Patricia is a member of my Art Biz Incubator and I receive her newsletter.

Months ago she sent an email with gorgeous photos of her in the studio. I complimented her on the images and she told me that she had hired a professional photographer to take photos of her in the studio. It showed.

Patricia’s photos were so engaging that they stood out among the hundreds of emails I see from artists. I remembered them even after months had passed. I knew her photos would be appropriate for magazine publication.

Be Magazine-Ready

It’s easy to replicate Patricia’s success, but it requires this 5-step planning process.

1. Hire a photographer.

Patricia didn’t ask a friend to take pictures with an iPhone. She went to an expert who knows how to compose photos and use a real camera.

I have nothing against iPhone photos, but they are rarely appropriate for slick publications.

2. Appear as happy, productive, and successful in your photos.

I have a slide that I like to show at my workshops and events:

No Frumpy Photos sign

The minute you tell the world you’re an artist you are marketing. Everything you share enhances or detracts from your brand.

Plan your staged photos so that you look vibrant, which isn’t the same thing as looking young. Vibrant means that you radiate positive energy.

3. Use your new photos in your emails, on social media, and on your website.

Don’t wait on a magazine publication to use your photos. Start using them immediately!

I first saw Patricia’s photographs in her newsletter and they caught my attention because they were a much higher quality than ones I was used to seeing.

4. Monitor your email.

When a writer is on deadline, they need photos right away. Patricia was reading her email and responded quickly to my request.

She was available and I can’t tell you how crucial this is.

Patricia Griffin featured in Professional Artist magazine.

Patricia Griffin featured in Professional Artist magazine.

5. Be organized.

Within hours Patricia had emailed high-resolution files for the magazine feature. I never asked, but she surely has some kind of system that allowed her to meet our needs immediately.

Need to get organized so you’re ready to respond to requests? See my Organize Your Art Biz online class.

There’s a Payoff

I sent the editors a couple of photos of Patricia. They liked them so much that they contacted her for more photos. They wanted to include her art as well!

Do you have high-quality images of you at work? Feel free to share a link to them in a comment. You never know when I’ll need more!

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45 comments to 5 Steps to a Magazine Feature of You and Your Art

  • Great article Alyson! It’s a sunny day and I’m now inspired to get into my studio to take some quality photos. Luckily for me, my wife is a terrific photographer with pro equipment. But the idea of exuding positive energy for my work/studio images is very infectious to me and can only be so to others when they see them – thanks!!

  • Great article Alyson! I have a couple of photos of me at work in my studio on my website at http://cindygrisdela.com/about.php and http://cindygrisdela.com/workshops.php. Thanks for letting me share!

  • How timely is this article?!? I just hired a photographer to do shots of me working in my studio and shop for my new website. I couldn’t be HAPPIER with the results! Worth every penny!!! Website won’t be running until the first of the year but my business Facebook page has a few of the sneak-peak shots!
    https://www.facebook.com/elizabethandcoart?ref=hl
    Thanks for letting me share and thanks for your consistently great info!!

  • Congrats Alyson on your 10 year anniversary! You are an amazing resource.

    Professional photos are now on my list to do. There are SO many ways they could be used. I’m missing out by not having them. Thanks for the kick-in-the-pants!

  • Alyson, thanks for this insightful post — you hit the nail on the head. And Patricia, thank you for being a part of our latest issue. Your images look great in Alyson’s feature.

    I can’t tell you how appreciative we are when artists such as Patricia can get high-quality imagery to us quickly so that we can meet our tight deadlines.

    Happy creating, everyone!

  • Thanks for another great article Alyson! And congratulations on your anniversary.
    What great timing, we are having an Open Studios event on Oahu the next two weekends so I just posted my latest eZine with several photos of me working in my studio:
    http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=4e7b6c3d1422f502df706f7ed&id=48ea5dbd2a&e=37d3125ee1
    Mele Kalikimaka! Patrice
    PS, it was great to actually meet you in Denver in October!

  • Thanks for that, I know you are right. Many of the pictures on one of my sites (have 3!) are not good enough. My problem is I often make to order and cant just get a photographer to come straight to my studio before I deliver the item. I did get these done by a pro as I have kept the sculptures, much better pictures
    http://www.wackyweddingsculptures.co.uk/
    http://www.wackyweddingsculptures.co.uk/sculpture/white-fairy
    http://www.wackyweddingsculptures.co.uk/sculpture/little-fairy
    http://www.wackyweddingsculptures.co.uk/sculpture/love-honour-obey

    I just dont have access to a photographer when making, one at a time items to order.

  • Alyson, thanks for the great post, this is something I must add to my to do list with my art.

  • Allison,

    Since you asked, here is a link to photos of me at work in Italy and Texas:

    http://michaelgillespieart.com/blog/84600/photos-of-me-at-work

    Thank you!
    MG

  • Congratulations on your tenth anniversary! I think I’ve been a follower for most of those years.

    And thank you for the article about having professional photos taken. I’m way overdue for new studio and bio photos.

  • Thanks to everyone for sharing your photos. I not only have photo-envy, but also studio-envy — everyone has such great working spaces!

    So my question is, how do you do great photos in an ugly space? My “studio” is my basement, a space I share with the furnace and washer-dryer and a thriving population of spiders. I do outdoor, site-specific projects, so the artwork often doesn’t look very interesting while still in construction in my basement. Your article inspires me to hire a photographer for my next installation, but that won’t be until next spring. Anything I can do in the mean time?

    Thank you!

    • Linda

      You could get those big folding screens to divide your studio from seeing the other things in the basement, section it off so your work area looks like a room.

      Add a nice area rug over your work area to create a more warm feeling & give it a homey inviting feeling.

      Floor lamps look nice and make dark spaces much brighter and friendly.

      So many things you can implement, just takes imagination. My studio space is in my basement apartment,we never used the living room so that has become my studio space

    • Andrea: A good photographer can help you with that. You don’t need to know how it will happen. You just need to decide.

  • Congratulations, Alyson! 10 years of helping artists is huge, and well appreciated by all of us who follow you. Thanks for all your wisdom and guidance. Your posts have helped me so often!

    This summer I collaborated with a photographer friend on his project “Panorama 365”, which includes panoramic photographs of artists at work in their studios/workplaces. I am a plein air painter so we chose to do mine outside, and I am ecstatic with how it turned out. I am currently using it on my blog masthead. You can also find a link to the photo project under my tab titled “panorama”.

    http://laureldaniel.blogspot.com

    Thanks for letting me share!
    Laurel

  • Alyson – what great fun to see everyone creating their art.

    Laurel I LOVE your masthead.
    Michael I want to get out in the garden and paint where you’re painting.
    What a great idea to paint your floor Patrice – so fun! Good luck with your open studio.
    And Beth, such a fantastic way to create art and beautify the world.
    Andrea I agree with you – Cindy’s studio is to be envied 🙂

    I’ve quite a number of photos (and videos) on my Take an Art Class side but only one showing me at work on my See Froshay’s Art side… guess it’s time to connect with my photographer 🙂 http://www.FroshayFineArt.com

    Thanks for the excellent idea Alyson.

  • Congratulations on the ten year achievement, Alyson!

    About the professional photo, my concern is that it’s pretty expensive, not a small investment, and whether a magazine-related person will ever see your photo is very uncertain. So if we are just getting these photos, in the hope that someone related to a magazine will see it and want to use it, is a bet with a small chance of winning.

  • This is a great blog subject. My husband and is a commercial photographer and is going to shoot an Artist’s work in their home tomorrow, along with a headshot. They are crucial on many websites now, whether it is for an avatar or for LinkedIn. In-situ photos and shots of Artists in their studios (and at shows) draw viewers in to real life situations. It puts things into perspective. And with the right lighting and staging, any studio space can look interesting. I have some photos on my website but need to add more! This has inspired me to push to get some more great shots. Thanks!

  • As a full-time performance painter and mum I rarely read emails thoroughly, however, Alyson I fully enjoy your as they are short and sweet and to the point!! Thanks!! I have professional photographers at my gigs a lot so am blessed with high quality pics. It also helps that I do photography too and have access to all my gear when I need to make prints of my work.

    Enjoy my UNIQUE pics on the job with my spinning easel on my website as well as my fan page, http://www.facebook.com/sarahrowandahl ($1 for EVERY “Like” goes to end human-trafficking!!)

  • Liz Crain

    Oh My, Alyson, has it been that long? I barely remember the beginning, I was clueless and in such need – was it 2008? 2009? – but it was pivotal. The things I learned based on your coaching and your book I have begun to live. Loud and Proud. You are a Forever Mentor in my world and I thank you for that and wish you well alwaysa.

  • Ten years? I must have found you early on as well. Thank you Alyson for your kind and firm counsel, without which I would still be standing in my spare bedroom, wondering if I could make it my own space. Once again you’ve shared good advice. I’m off to make an appointment with our local photographer –

  • I’m so happy you went into this business — you’ve helped so many of us over these 10 years! Many congratulations on your anniversary, Alyson.

  • Hello Alyson, I really appreciate your hard work and congratulations on a decade of advancing your knowledge to us. Although I have only been reading your thoughts for a few months I find them so helpful. You have opened up my understanding of what is needed for me to excel in my journey. I have been painting for a little over two years and need so much instruction on how to make my work a profitable one and just the few months of reading your blogs have helped me understand what, why and how to get there. Much thanks to you Alyson.

  • Hi Alyson. A great big congratulations on the celebration of your 10th year as the Art Biz Coach. That truly is something to be proud of. I am a new subscriber to your newsletter and I am excited by every email you send! I am going to sign up for your boot camp in January so I can take my art business and soar to new heights, with your help of course. Next step is finding a photographer and getting those professional photos I’ll be needing. Thanks for giving me a new road to travel as an artist.

  • This is so important! I am a professional photographer as well as a painter, and I don’t know how many times I see great art photographed poorly. Online presence is so important these days and having beautiful photos and a website matter so much. I still use my phone for Instagram and a lot of social media photo updates, but when it comes to my artwork listings I have always taken my pro camera out. Yes, it’s easy bc I already have the camera and the photo knowledge, but if you can’t afford the photos, invest in a better camera (you can even get better photos using your phone with the right lighting), and online research on lighting your art. I can’t tell you how often I think about how to make photos for artists more affordable. Any thoughts on that? My photos can be found at http://www.megangrayarts.com

  • Amy

    Ten years already? I believe I began following your newsletters and taking some of your courses when I lived in North Carolina. I am planning to have some professional shots done after I was so pleased with my new head shot that was taken during the Art Biz Makeover. What a difference!
    Congratulations on your anniversary of helping artists!

  • Thanks for this post, Alyson! This is a great reminder for me to get organized and get some dynamic photos of myself working–I’m terrible about keeping up with that and getting a real photo shoot together. But you’re right–when someone calls or writes and wants photos, we need to have them ready to send ASAP. Thanks for this kick in the pants for the new year. (And I can’t wait for your Jan 8th webinar!)

  • thank you for clever and clear advices)
    I am glad to have a chance to show some of my works.
    please, welcome)
    https://www.facebook.com/guietform
    http://quietform.blogspot.com