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Tip of the Month

Art Print Scams for
Hungry Photographers

February 2010


A few weeks ago our office received a phone call from a representative of a company that dealt with marketing artists' works. Generally, I assume these types of calls are going to be scams but .... you never know. I wasn't home, but accepted the return call a few days later.

At that point, the owner of the gallery told me that he had seen my images on our web site and felt that we would be perfect for representation in their sales line. That sounded reasonable, and appealed to my ego.

I was informed that there was a jury judging, and if I made it through that I'd be accepted. That very day I was told that my stuff was so spectacular that I was exempted from being juried -- I was accepted!

Well, I didn't initially bite, and I put off giving my new contact a definite commitment. In a phone conversation I learned that the normal fee for being represented by the gallery was $300 or more dollars, but as the days passed various discounts were passed on to me with all sorts of perks.

This made me suspicious, and I also questioned why, if my work was so good and they'd be making money by marketing my images, I needed to pay an entry fee. So I took a final step and asked them to supply me with the names and examples of folks they represent.

I checked those web sites and after a GOOGLE search I was able to contact all of their references. To their credit, everyone of those I contacted responded to my question -- Is .... worth belonging to? -- and everyone said no way! One guy called and said if they were saying he was one of their successful artists he couldn't wait for the checks he's never seen. Another said he made some money, but barely enough to cover his investment, and he wouldn't recommend them. Another, an excellent pastel artist, responded by saying that they made their money from saps like me who pay them a fee, hoping to be represented, and do nothing more.

While I was doing that research my contact -- or sales representative -- called our office over six times one evening. We had someone at our house watching our cats and they picked up the phone twice but didn't answer, and the guy actually took me to task on that on a later answering machine message. Meanwhile, he scared the heck out of the kid answering the phone!

The next day I wrote to him and reprimanded him for the harassing phone calls. His reply -- the most telling of them all -- was so filled with misspellings and grammatical errors that I could see that I was dealing with a guy just selling on commission, and willing to lie and rip off any gullible fool he could.

So, if you get a phone call about your great work, and some gallery wants to represent you for selling your pictures at trade shows, etc., do your homework. I'm sure there are legitimate galleries out there, but this one -- complete with a very fancy web site -- was a genuine rip-off. Beware!


Previous Tips, July 2009 onward

Hungry Vultures ruin vehicles in the Everglades
Use a Short Lens for Depth of Field

Get Professional Help!

Mini-Molar Bag
Access America Trip Insurance
Bogen Base for Macro Work

Archived Tips of the Month
prior to July 2009
Most of my original Tips of the Month for the last several
years are available through this link. The 'look' is from my
original web site, although if I ever have enough time I might redo these pages to match the new web site But that's not a high priority.