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7 Art Collecting Tips for Beginners From a Fine Art Photographer

Above: In the studio ‘Seashell Still-life’ adds dimension to a blank wall. In the kitchen I lean a small framed ‘Audrey’ to add a pop of vibrancy to a hard working space.

How to Start Collecting Art

Rarely a home will feel complete without the addition of art. It always makes me a little flat when I visit homes which have no art on the walls, it feels like there is something missing.

I believe the art that we collect becomes an expression of us. It’s a way to connect us to ourselves and to the people who we invite into our homes. Art can become conversation pieces and it can also become the backdrops to our everyday lives and the memories we create.

The best art-collecting advice I have learned along the way is if you love it, you’ll find a place for it.

Creating an art collection is an incredibly personal project. It’s something to be added to over a lifetime. Perhaps it’s to mark milestones; a special birthday or anniversary, or if you just find a piece that you simply must have.

To help guide you, here are some tips to consider when you start your own art collection.

Above: At home with a pair of companion prints, or what I call a ‘Power Couple’, which are a pair of prints which are installed side by side, or near each other to create maximum impact. This is the ‘Australian Summer’ and ‘Afternoon Sun’ Power Couple.

1. It Must Be Limited Edition

Above: Signing and numbering a large-sized ‘Eucalyptus‘ print for a collector’s home in Victoria. All of my prints are limited editions.

One of the most precious parts of collecting artwork is knowing that yours is unique. When you’re looking for artwork make sure any photographic prints are limited edition. That means that there is only a certain number of them in existence. You also want it to be signed and numbered by the artist.

All of my limited edition prints are made locally in Australia and signed and numbered by me in my Brisbane studio.

2. Trust What You Are Drawn To

Above: The living room of my island home with my personal art collection including a framed extra large ‘Australian Summer‘ print and a framed small ‘Byron Bay Salt Haze‘ print.

Trust what you are naturally drawn to. Those are the artworks that make you feel good and are an expression of yourself and what you value. It’s ok to have a mix of art in your collection, some of the best homes I’ve photographed have a mix of subjects and mediums.

Paintings and photographic prints help tell the story of you.

My biggest tip is to not chase trends when selecting a subject matter. Your home is more than trends, your home is your sanctuary, it’s personal and it’s about heart, so allow yourself to follow your heart when it comes to making decisions about art for your home. As I say, if you love it, you will find a place for it.

3. A Bigger Print Gives You Effortless Impact

Left: This extra large ‘Australian Summer‘ print will be framed and installed in a home in northern New South Wales. Right: An extra large framed ‘Australian Summer‘ print installed on Stradbroke Island sets the tone for the entire home.

My number one tip is to buy the largest-scale artwork which you can afford. The scale is the most important element when it comes to collecting and introducing artfulness into your home.

One large piece creates much more impact than smaller pieces on a wall. So always remember, the bigger the print, the bigger the impact.

4. The Best Way to Frame Your Art

Above: When you order framing with your print it’s framed by my local art framer with the highest quality materials and traditional techniques. The framed piece is then sent to you in a sturdy wooden travel box with tracking. The print featured here is a medium ‘Dawn‘.

Framing is an art in itself and it’s easy to go wrong. There are so many decisions to be made to elevate and finish your new photographic print.

This is why I offer a framing service ‘add-on’ with all of my limited edition prints. Choose ‘Framed’ when you select the print you would like to order and I will take care of the rest.

For all the information on my signature framing style (with complimentary worldwide shipping) ) click here.

5. Repetition Also Creates Impact

Above: Framing a favourite box set of prints called ‘Nostalgia‘ at home.

If you are new to collecting art and you are on a budget look for affordable options. That might be a smaller-scale artwork or a box set of signed prints that help you achieve an instant collection.

Repetition is your friend when it comes to smaller prints, it’s the repetition of the frames and the repeated small scale which helps create an immediate impression and an eye-catching rhythm on your walls.

Start small and look for artists who offer paying by installments with Afterpay (I do).

6. Connect With a Consultant

Left: I love consulting with collectors about which prints to add to their collection next. This one is a medium ‘Wild Horses‘ print selected for a family with a home in country New South Wales. Right: A medium framed ‘Wild Horses‘ print in my cottage dining room.

I find it so helpful to be able to ‘talk the talk’ with an expert who understands both art and also interior style. I offer this complimentary service to all of my collectors who would like personalised help to select their perfect prints.

Find out more here.

7. Use Artful Language

Left: In my studio signing and numbering a medium ‘Dawn‘ print for a couple on the Sunshine Coast. Right: A framed medium ‘Dawn‘ in my studio entry.

When you start using the correct language and terms to describe photographic art a certain confidence will grow.

This was one of the first things I was taught when studying to become a professional photographer. Photographs are not called pics, piccies, snaps or even photos. They are called photographs, they are collectible, they are limited edition and they are precious. Always respect the medium when talking about photographs and you will find yourself becoming more confident around art.

8. Start Here

Above: In my studio signing and numbering a large ‘Howqua Track‘ before sending it to its new Sydney home, a couple with family ties to the country. I also have this sized print in my personal art collection, it’s perfect above a sofa.

For the new collector, I recommend these iconic pieces that suit every type of interior.

I hope these tips have helped you gain the confidence you need to start your own art collection. It is an incredible thing to bring more beauty into your life and is guaranteed to bring you joy.

It’s always my immense honour when I sign my prints before sending them to their new homes. To know that the collector shares my love of beauty in the everyday makes me feel like we’re part of a community of like-minded people.

Discover your perfect prints here.

P.S. In case you need it, choose Afterpay at checkout to pay in installments.

KARA’ S FAVOURITES

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