As a photographer, you probably want to surround yourself with as much photography as you can. But where do you start? There is so much out there, how do you know what is considered “good art”? And how do you know how much money you’re supposed to spend on a piece?

Yes, it’s daunting. But collecting doesn’t have to be as scary as you expect it to be. With these tips, you can navigate the collecting scene like a pro, and ramp up your at-home collection.

1. Engage with the Art Community

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If you really want to become an expert collector, your best bet is to reach out to others in the collecting community. When you go to art shows, talk to the owners of galleries. They can teach you how they’ve cultivated their eye, and you can learn why they choose some pieces over others. This will help you to understand which pieces are valuable, and what kinds of images are hot-shots in the art world.

Your perception of “good art” should not be completely framed by what the gallerist likes, but these conversations can help guide you into the world. It will make collecting feel less intimidating.

2. Don’t Underestimate Low-Priced Items

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With this in mind, don’t overlook a piece if you don’t see it in a gallery.  If you come across an image that you really love online, for instance, allow yourself to buy it. Collecting is all about understanding what stands out to your eye, and sometimes that’s not what the eyes of the gallery are trained for. Plus, the images that you come across online will be much cheaper- and you don’t have to break the bank to have inspirational art in your home.

If you go on Artstar.com, you can find original pieces by artists that will arrive framed and ready to hang on your wall.  On the site, you can even watch short films about the artwork and the artist behind it.  Sometimes this personal connection is all you need to understand a piece of art.

If you don’t want to go online, and want the authentic feeling of shopping for art in person, you can easily find cheap artwork elsewhere. Thrift stores are filled with unique prints, and bookstores offer a wide variety of photography books that typically sell for 50 to 60 dollars.

3. Trust Your Eye

gallery, photo, art

This is the most important thing to remember. Collecting can be intimidating when you don’t know what you’re looking for.  But it’s important not to search through the lens of what other people might like. Trust your instinct and understand what sticks out to you. Don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t know what kind of art you like. It’s all a learning process, and you just need to keep your eyes open.

Soon enough, you will be able to pick out which images you love, and which ones you can live without.

Collecting isn’t something that you can force yourself to do. With the right mindset and a slight guiding hand, it will kind of just happen to you. One day you’ll just see something that will stick out to you and shock you.  When you can relate to an image, or even when it makes you curious, that’s when you buy it.

Feature Image by rawpixel.com on Unsplash