Business + Marketing

From Home Studio to Gallery Walls: Tips to Exhibit and Sell

August 10, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

Karolina Skorek is a Polish photographer who lives in Wales and creates fine art portraits in her living room that command an average purchase price of $3,000. She recently spoke with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast about how she made the transition from wedding photography to fine art photography, making 90% of her income from gallery sales.

Skorek is a lifelong learner who is currently pursuing her third master’s degree in arts and mental health. Her first degree was in glass design with an additional project in classical painting. However, Skorek soon realized that her goal of making ten classical paintings in three months was unachievable, and her tutor suggested she switch her project to creating painterly effects in photography.

When Skorek graduated, she followed her parents to the UK. While working part-time as a graphic designer, she decided to also begin shooting weddings. After six years in the wedding industry, Skorek was ready for a change and decided to move into portraits.

[Read: The Home Studio Advantage]

Skorek loves the freedom and flexibility of not having a studio, and she creates 99% of her portraits in her living room, also sometimes shooting in a spare room, her hallway, or anywhere she feels inspired. She says, “For years, I was worried that people would judge me by the space I was shooting from, but no, they judge me by the art I’m doing.”

Skorek takes clients for fine art portraits, but 90% of her income comes from gallery sales. She took a proactive approach to being exhibited, networking at art openings and sending emails out to galleries she is interested in. Skorek shared that for anyone looking to exhibit in galleries, she has found it most effective to send inquiries not from her personal email address but from an alternate one and from the voice of her agent (even though it is her sending and replying to the message!). Skorek has also been approached by galleries on Instagram.

[Read: What Makes an Award-Winning Portrait?]

Currently, Skorek’s art is priced around $3,000 per image with the gallery bearing the cost of production and taking 50% of proceeds. She advises that photographers who wish to command high prices for their pieces should enter awards competitions. Not only are the critiques invaluable for improving your craft, but also Skorek says that an image’s value increases along with the number of badges and awards it has received. Galleries have pricing experts who choose the price for works based on their independent research on the artist and their work. Other factors that can increase valuation include being exhibited in multiple gallery spaces and who the works have been exhibited alongside. For example, Skorek’s images became more valuable after she appeared in a London Gallery alongside works by Rembrandt. 

© The Portrait System

To learn more about Karolina Skorek’s work, visit her on Instagram or YouTube.

The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio.