Selling & Submitting
Your Photography At Art Shows
By Roy Barker
Everyones most common question - where do I start? Let's just say that you've been taking pictures for a while now and you've received regular feed back from your friends and relations as to how well you take pictures. You may have done a couple of jobs here and there and you customers have commented a number of times about the quality of the shots. Maybe you've even thought about establishing a booth at some of the fairs as well. Art shows can provide a viable way to earn a living doing what you like to do, taking shots.
Lets Look At Some Important Points
Some people make the first few attempts at shows by only going to those close to home but this should be short lived and should only be a stepping stone to a bigger and more frequent attendance. You see there are bigger and better art shows out there that will reward you handsomely if only you can find it in your soul to dismiss the habit of eating a sandwich and reading a book at the standard small fair while people look at your pictures.
I'm talking about the better art shows, I'm talking about the sale of photography as a business, and in approaching it, see that people do art shows on a very professional level for a living to support their families and enjoy some wealth creation while they're at it. The competition can produce some of the best photography you’ve ever seen. But of course you think that you have something of value to contribute. Real photography art which people are waiting in line to purchase.
You need to get these two points right if you’re planning on applying to some of the better art shows. You must understand what other photographers are selling and how they go about displaying their work. Walk through a major show and observe the competition.
Fact#1 - On a business level it’s competition for the money
Fact#2 - on a photographic level it’s the competition for the space in the show.
Why It's Important To Have A Unified Body Of Work
There are TWO reasons;
Fact#1 - Customers hate being confused and will walk rather than ask for clarity due to embarrasment. When you have people standing in your booth thinking about making a purchase, there is a point in time where if they haven’t made up their mind, they walk away.
Fact#2 - The other is the “your booth”. Most application requirements at art shows require that you submit individual slides of your work (about 4 or 5) plus a picture of your display. Now listen carefully - the display slide will look more professional looking if the body of work is unified.
Something to consider carefully is how you will attract someone to your booth, given that they will be walking past many. I suggest that your whole booth become a show stopper. By this I mena thta the them and composition should be interrelated and have exceptional impact.
There's no avoiding it, especially when you're starting up. Printing, mounting, matting and framing all have to be done professionally.
Your materials and labor will become a factor in your selling price, as will competition from your peers. As a generalization, you can’t spend $50 to print, mat and frame a 16x20 if you plan on selling it for $100. But you can if you’re going to sell it for $300. But you can’t sell it for $300 if the other photographers are selling that size for $200.
You will need a source for framing supplies. There are multitudes of companies that sell frames. You can find some in the advertisements in Décor Magazine.
It's best to use non-glare glass with photography. That way customers can be distracted to the photograph from where evre they're standing at my booth and other reflections don't deter purchase. It’s a personal choice and doesn’t work for everyone. Non glare glass costs twice what regular framing glass costs. Fome cor is an acid free backing and mounting board that is widely used in the framing industry. Some photographers base their sizes on the available materials. Because mat board and fore cor are available in 32x40 inch sheets, that 32x40 sheet can be cut to produce four 16x20’s with no waste.
You can also sell unframed picture for sale. This places the framed pictures in a more up-market category and helps justify a higher price. This serves three purposes. It gives you a less expensive item to prepare and sell. It generates money, and it lets you display different images that might not have the same theme as the ones hanging on the display.
The unframed photos can be matted and mounted, just like the framed photographs, and are displayed in clear plastic bags to protect them while people handle them.
Art Show Applications
How to find an art show to start with;
Believe it or not most exhibitors hear about shows from other exhibitors. However her's a short list to start with -
Art Fair Sourcebook, The book is published annually and is an expensive but necessary resource if you’re considering art shows as a profession. It lists the top 300 art shows in the country.
Another is Sunshine Artist Magazine, which is the closest thing there is to a trade magazine in the art show business.
Which are the good Art Shows?
Here's a guide for the best art shows. The first being Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Winter Park Art Show
(Orlando), Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, Old Town Art Show (Chicago), 57th Street (Chicago), Boston Mills
Art Show (Peninsula Ohio), Cherry Creek Art Show (Denver), Madison On the Square (Wisconsin), Central
Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (State College PA), Ann Arbor (four shows to choose from), Uptown
(Minneapolis) Art Show, Longs Park Art Show (Lancaster PA), The Plaza (Kansas City), Saint Louis Art Festival
(Clayton MO), Des Moines Art Festival. there are similar shows in England, Canada, Australia, Scandanavia, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand.
One last tip;
Web Site Promotion - Use your web site URL as your business name on your booth sign. It has been found from experience that web site clients get a substantial increase in traffic after art shows if they promote their web sites properly. Your art show visitors will usually be your biggest online customers.
This article has been supplied courtesy of Roy Barker. Roy often writes and works closely with Profitable Photography Business. If the previous link is inactive, you can paste this one into your browser - profitable-photography.com This site is dedicated to coaching you in starting your own photography business but places a strong emphasis on profitability issues & guidelines. You can also gain many photography resources (some free) from Photography or if this link is inactive, you can copy and paste this link into your browser - profitable-photography.com/resources.php If you seek further guides, articles and news, you can go to Photography Tips or if this link is inactive, you can paste this address in your browser photography-business-tips.com
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