Mary Virginia Swanson: Marketing Your Photographs

Saturday and Sunday, April 8–9, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., both days

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York


Conceiving, researching, and creating long-term photographic projects is an enormous accomplishment. Sharing the work with the public is the next step.

Join mentor and educator Mary Virginia Swanson for a two-day workshop that will teach photographers to identify appropriate audiences for specific photographic projects and how to effectively reach them.

Swanson will explore a wide range of venues for photography in public, institutional, and private sectors while focusing strongly on learning to “read” their websites for clues to the demographics they reach. She will also discuss the importance of building, rather than buying, a mailing list with well-researched individuals, frequency of contact, and best practices for communication, whether via direct contact or utilizing social media platforms.

On the first day, Swanson will present an overview of the different types of venues as well as various audiences that extend beyond the fine-art market. The second half of the first day is reserved for participants to present their project statements, images, and a description of their desired audience. Swanson will offer suggestions on what additional information or services they could provide to the public, such as lectures, workshops, or other educational components in order to enhance one’s relationship with their audience. She will also advise participants on various audiences they may not be aware of in order to expand and diversify their reach.

On the second day, participants will present revised project statements and a list of venues they are interested in contacting, and share why they seem likely to be appreciative audiences for their work. Participants will also share their websites with the group while Swanson leads a discussion on what elements can be improved upon for clarity of intention. In the afternoon, she will discuss how to conduct project-specific research to develop a larger audience, establish a targeted mailing list, and discuss the language of funding and site-specific proposals.

Mary Virginia Swanson is an author, educator, and advisor who helps artists find the strength in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner. During her career, she has worked in the fine art, documentary, photojournalism, and licensing arenas, having launched an innovative agency to manage licensing rights for artists called “Swanstock” in 1990, and launching her consulting business in 2000. Swanson coauthored with Darius Himes the acclaimed Publish Your Photography Book: Revised & Updated (2014). Swanson is known for staying current in today’s diverse marketplace for photographs. Her current book project is Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs (2017), a major update to her earlier Business of Photography: Principles and Practices (2008) that will guide photographers through the changes taking place in nearly every aspect of our industry, preparing them for new opportunities in today’s photography-rich culture. She is the recipient of numerous honors including the 2015 Honored Educator Award and the 2015 Insight Award from the Society for Photographic Education, the 2014 Susan Carr Award for Education from the American Society for Media Photographers, and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography. An active contributor to the photography community, Swanson aids numerous organizations in our industry to provide relevant programming and plan for their future. She is based in Tucson, Arizona, and NYC.



Upon completion of this workshop, participants can expect to be able to:

  • clearly define their project in the language of their desired audience
  • establish a targeted mailing list and develop a successful strategy for communication
  • engage their audience with their work via new and varied opportunities (i.e., print sales, exhibitions, public speaking, workshops, and more)
  • identify a diverse range of venues to share their work in public, private, and institutional sectors

How to prepare:

In advance of the workshop, participants will need to:

  • Write a statement about their project in 100 words or less
  • Define the demographic of that project’s targeted audience. Address questions such as, Who would want to see this work? Where can those people be found? If possible, list specific venues
  • Send 10–15 images and the project title to


Tuition for this two-day workshop is $500 and includes lunch and light refreshments for both days.

Currently enrolled students and Aperture Members at the $250 level and above receive a 10% discount on workshop tuition. Please contact for a discount code. Students will need to provide proper documentation of enrollment.



Registration ends on Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Contact with any questions.



Please refer to all information provided regarding individual workshop details and requirements. Registration in any workshop will constitute your agreement to the terms and conditions outlined.

Aperture workshops are intended for adults 18 years or older.

If the workshop includes lunch, attendees are asked to notify Aperture at the time of registration regarding any special dietary requirements. Please contact us at

If participants choose to purchase Aperture publications during the workshop they will receive a 20% discount. Aperture Members of all levels will receive a 30% discount.



Aperture reserves the right to take photographs or videos during the operation of any educational course or part thereof, and to use the resulting photographs and videos for promotional purposes.
        By booking a workshop with Aperture Foundation, participants agree to allow their likenesses to be used for promotional purposes and in media; participants who prefer that their likenesses not be used are asked to identify themselves to Aperture staff.



Aperture workshops must be paid for in advance by credit card, cash, or debit card. All fees are non-refundable if you should choose to withdraw from a workshop less than one month prior to its start date, unless we are able to fill your seat. In the event of a medical emergency, please provide a physician’s note stating the nature of the emergency, and Aperture will issue you a credit that can be applied to future workshops. Aperture reserves the right to cancel any workshop up to one week prior to the start date, in which case a full refund will be issued. A minimum of eight students is required to run a workshop.



Please act responsibly when using any equipment provided by Aperture or when in the presence of books, prints etc. belonging to other participants or the instructor(s). We recommend that refreshments be kept at a safe distance from all such objects.

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