Selling & Submitting Your Photography At Art Shows

Starting Out

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 embarrassment. 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 that the them and composition should be interrelated and have exceptional impact.

Image Preparation

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 16×20 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 D├ęcor 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 32×40 inch sheets, that 32×40 sheet can be cut to produce four 16×20’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

Digital Photography – Art Or Science?

Working on the basis that digital photography is just a natural development of ‘standard’ film photography should mean that it is an art form. However, with the advent of digital capture and processing many would consider it to be a science. So is there a definitive answer as to which it is?

For me, art is all about expression, freedom to create, and in many ways it’s the embodiment of chaos; you may start out with an idea of what you want to create, but something might happen along the way to change the final outcome. With photography in mind, you may change the composition of the shot at the last minute, nuances in the natural light that you are shooting in may change the tone or feel of the image captured, there are many variables that you simply have no control over – and some you do.

Science on the other hand doesn’t deal in chaos or expression. It is too exact in its desire to define and create a given result. The dictionary definition of science contains a few tell tale words; Objective, systematic, formulated, organised… Look up the word ‘art’ in a dictionary and words such as; Creative, imaginative, ideas, skill, workmanship, expression… See where I’m going with this?

I’m not knocking science here, I’m a fan. It’s just the overlay of the word science with photography simply doesn’t sit right for me. The act of taking a stunning image requires an artistic eye; it’s not a formulated, objective and organised act. It’s one of chaos, and choice and changing your mind about the F stop or the ISO at the last minute. But wait, is it?

Any photographer will tell you that you need to know what you are doing. You can’t just pick up a camera and start randomly shooting and expect to create perfect or even interesting images. A group of researchers gave a group of chimps a video camera recently. The chimps walked around and shot video with it and yes, it was pretty chaotic, but was it any good? Well no, not really. So organisation and a systematic and formulaic approach are needed after all.

Maybe what I’m actually saying here is that we shouldn’t be so hung up about sorting one from the other; maybe the two can and in fact do coexist in digital photography. Think about this for a moment. The ability to create a truly stunning image requires an artistic eye, it demands creativity from the author, an idea, the use of imagination and skill, but it also requires structured knowledge. The ability to organise and operate all of your equipment, select the right F stop or shutter speed, and even to be able to apply a tried and tested formula to get the style of image that you desire. There you have it; both science and art working together hand in hand.

Even if you were to argue that the actual act of photographing a subject is artistic, the processing of that captured image must follow a scientific approach. Any image manipulation software that you may use requires an organised, formulaic and often systematic approach to get the best results. Even if you use it to just tweak your levels or highlights. Try putting one of those chimps with a video camera in front of a video editing package and see what results you get. Interesting? Yes. Usable and watchable? No.

For me, it’s a balance, a collaboration if you will, even though the two seem miles apart. Digital photography needs artistry from the photographer, but it also needs science to compliment it. It’s not as clear cut as you may think.