Images that are mass-produced as ‘wall art’ or posters for use in décor differ from fine art in that the images are not signed prints or original art. The business of wall art is complex and involves multiple publishers, distributors and online retailers as well as direct distribution to consumers through department stores, box stores and poster shops. Creating images for this market can be more profitable for photographers than trying to build a reputation as a fine artist although the two are certainly not mutually exclusive.
The best sellers follow predictable and conservative themes. Scenes that evoke peacefulness or relaxation are on the bestseller lists. Images of deserted tropical beaches with turquoise water lapping at the shore vie with landscapes of Tuscany for top locations in poster and framed art. Why? Think of a mass produced visual product for the consumer to hang on the wall. The art becomes a window to where they wish to be or suggests a mood or feeling. Individuals select images as extensions of themselves or maybe only to match the couch.Themes extend to the location of the dwelling or hobbies. Décor for beach or summer places include a still life of shells, close-ups of sailboats or the ever-popular lighthouse. Colors are usually light and emphasize the colors of the beach environment: white and blue.
A ski lodge or resort in a mountain locale might use images of ice skaters or moody mountain images. A hotel where I have stayed in LA is decorated with copies of vintage images of Hollywood landmarks. Restaurants use themed images that match their menu specialties so that images of Mexican landmarks or people are purchased for the wall décor at the spot where you sip your margarita if you are so inclined. One sub-speciality of the genre is art for kids rooms. Most appropriate for this group are illustrations of cartoony like animals and plants in pastel colors.
Isolated landscapes that bring to mind the peace of the countryside are substitutes for actually being there and evoke a sense of well being. There are w specialist art consultants to aid decorators in selecting prints and posters for modern health care facilities.
Generally the more ‘painterly’ a photograph is, the better suited it will be for décor art. Floral prints are a standard favorite but the image needs to be dramatic like the one here by Davidd2xs to make the grade in a huge field of flower images
The good news if images are licensed for posters or retail framed décor, the publisher usually wants an all rights license. The competition is stiff and just like fashions in furniture and clothing, interior décor goes in and out of style. Since décor photography is more often as not purchased to match the furniture or style of the home or office, it pays to keep up to date on color trends.
Illustrations and paintings are more popular than photographs in the wall décor marketplace. Among best current best sellers are abstracts with some of the same themes such as Ng’s abstract of two flowers. Tasteful nudes in b&w that resemble classic nude paintings are well-liked in this market. Currently and for the past couple of years colored x-rays of flowers have been the best selling images on most sites that sell framed art. You can see samples of that photographer’s work here
Remove framed art on the walls of a room that you photograph. Replace it with framed pieces of your own work and be certain to send in a property release for the art.