Guide to Collecting & Investing in Art: Where to buy quality fine art? Let's talk about art markets...

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“What is a collector?
It’s an innate trait. We start as children collecting leaves, or stamps or stones and, as we get older, teens collect friends, CDs and, as an adult, it can be anything.”



We are all attracted to art for different reasons. Being an artist myself, my wife and I had the privilege to connect and learn from art professionals, educators and collectors across the world in order to understand the questions and difficulties that come with collecting and investing in art.

And today, I wanted to talk about where you can buy quality fine art - in effect, about the two separate art market segments available in the art industry - primary and secondary art markets.

Primary Art Market

When buying from the primary market, you usually deal with the gallery representing the artist or this artist directly. Artist's reputation, comparable works, labour and material costs and demand are the factors that have a direct influence on prices here.



Galleries may introduce art from the artists directly or represent art pieces from their collections or other art dealers. Well-established gallerists usually have a specific focus, aesthetics and interests. They earn a commission from each piece they sell.


Retailers buy artworks directly from the artist, usually at a significantly discounted rate and then display and sell this piece in their retail shop at the art's full price to make a profit.

Art Advisors

They advise their clients on how to shop for artwork that they are seeking. Once they understand what styles their clients like and within what budget, they then use their network of dealers, galleries and other professionals to negotiate the best price and earn a percentage from the final sale.


Art Dealers

Art Dealers usually go with the flow - they always stay up to date with the latest trends and news of the art industry. These specialists operate in both primary and secondary market and buy art from various sources - auctions, estate sales, other dealers, collectors or even direct from artists. They time the market and resell artworks on the secondary market when the moment is right.

Art Fairs

Art Fairs is one of the best places to buy art. Most of the time, they invite a wide range of professionals - from artists themselves to art dealers and gallerists. Be it Art Basel or a local art fair - they offer people an option to engage on a much deeper level and to see and experience art in their hands.

Directly From Artist

You can buy directly from the artist, both online and face to face. That will give you a chance to build up a relationship with the artist. You can get to know more about their career, practice and technique.


Most if not all of the artists will happily answer any questions and help with any additional issues.

Purchasing directly from artists will allow you to get to know an artist better and therefore get a sense of where they are coming from, their artistic philosophy and the meaning behind the individual photographs or series of their work.

Many artists offer free shipping and a flexible return policy. For example, every print that you buy directly from PHOTOPORTRAYAL is not only signed and certified (to address any concerns you may have) but also comes with a 30 days return guarantee. 

By buying this way, you do not just add unique imagery to your home but also support artists in their career. That can then enable them to create even more art.

Secondary Art Market

The secondary market is usually more focused on the life of the artwork after its first owner sold it. Sellers are most of the time in this game for a profit. However, some collectors may want to publicly sell a portion of their collection to keep their estate sustainable. The main driver for prices on this market is the availability of other pieces from the same artist and demand for their works. Provenance is key when operating in the secondary market as fraudulent transactions and theft are far from unusual there.

Auction Houses

Action Houses only offer for sale art that they think have a very high chance of selling. That is mainly because each sold artwork serves as a source for their commission. Most of the time, they would focus on well-known artists. Alternatively, they would thoroughly review every piece and how well it sold previously at galleries or other auctions. Occasionally, collectors may find some art for bargain prices there, especially for artworks of artists with a beginner auction experience.

buying art from auction house

Online Art Retailers

Online sales are growing not only in the primary market but in the secondary market too. Auction houses have now moved part of their operation online too. One can find some secondary market art even on eBay these days.


Even though museums rarely sell art pieces from their collections, they have a strict deaccessioning process as part of their collection management policy. Most museums would keep this publicly available and transparent. Buying from a museum can always be a decent addition to your existing collection.

Why do we care?

At PHOTOPORTRAYAL, we put understanding the market we operate in at the core of our business. Our focus is limited edition photography prints which are very niche but very popular among collectors.

We follow a very reasonable price tactic, print on high-quality archival paper (using Giclée technique) and safely deliver the artwork to your door.

We understand that aesthetics and emotional attachments are crucial for collectors. Photography that we offer is always atmospheric, magical, and with a bit of a mystery to each piece. Most of them will get you questioning how they were made.


Feel free to explore our store to see more artworks or reach out if you have any questions about my practice or anything else. And I will be happy to connect with you on Instagram(@photoportrayal_studio), Facebook or Pinterest.

Until next time,


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