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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> How To Get Started Selling at a Craft Show
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02/21/2007 02:05:49 PM · #1
I've been through many dozen searches trying to find a topic that would be all-inclusive as to how one can get started selling photos at a craft/art show but haven't been too lucky. I'm hoping this thread will provide a forum where people can express all their ideas and suggestions about getting started and I would compile a final analysis and post it to help people who want to get started selling their images.

I want people who have experience to focus on things such as where they get their prints, frames, mat boards (pre-cut or not), plastic sleeves, how they attach the photos to the mats, is it better to frame or mat or neither, quantity of stock, etc. Also, for booths to display photos perhaps a set-up or wire framing suggestion would be helpful. The ONE thing I want to AVOID is HOW MUCH TO CHARGE. That is up to everyone on their own to decide. Any other bits of information or wisdom are appreciated.

I hope this starts what will be a helpful single source for people who are just getting into selling their photos.

Many thanks in advance for all of your inputs!

-Mike

(If I somehow missed this thread elsewhere, please post or PM the link)
02/21/2007 02:22:36 PM · #2
I think one of the most important things to do is be very selective about which fairs you choose. What do you have to do to get in? Just pay and show up? Probably not so good, since your booth may be next to 'ol Cletis Three Tooth who's selling "sculpture" made from beer cans. You should stick to juried fairs, preferably those with jurors that have some qualifications to actually be a juror, if you're at all serious.

One of my favorite stories about art fairs, I read in the book "The Artist's Life", is about a glass sculptor, Vernon Brejcha who was sitting in his booth among his work, when a couple and their daughter walked by. They stopped, looked at his work, looked at him and then the man said to his daughter, "See now, Charlene this is how you'll end up if you don't start getting better grades." They then walked away.


02/21/2007 08:03:16 PM · #3
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

One of my favorite stories about art fairs, I read in the book "The Artist's Life", is about a glass sculptor, Vernon Brejcha who was sitting in his booth among his work, when a couple and their daughter walked by. They stopped, looked at his work, looked at him and then the man said to his daughter, "See now, Charlene this is how you'll end up if you don't start getting better grades." They then walked away.


So true.
02/21/2007 08:38:59 PM · #4
Originally posted by drwranger7:


I want people who have experience to focus on things such as where they get their prints, frames, mat boards (pre-cut or not), plastic sleeves, how they attach the photos to the mats, is it better to frame or mat or neither, quantity of stock, etc. Also, for booths to display photos perhaps a set-up or wire framing suggestion would be helpful. The ONE thing I want to AVOID is HOW MUCH TO CHARGE. That is up to everyone on their own to decide. Any other bits of information or wisdom are appreciated.!

-Mike

IMO
Printing - best quality for lowest price all depends where you are ..
I've used Costco & the local Printing houses but have been good

Matte -DO IT YOUR SELF save a bundle & you can fit the images exactally

Framing - depends on the audience - for mass market (multiples of each) buy dime store frames or don't frame at all (just double matte them & a baggie)& let them worry about it -for one of a kind numbered prints shots DO IT YOURSELF you can make excellent frames for a 1/4 of what a frame shop will charge & you can add $$ as it is hand made custom ART

Plastic Baggies - -- i haven;t gone this route but i've seen them advertised as 0.50 ea. in rolls of 100

what to charge ? (i know you don't want to discuss but "All the traffic will bear" is usually the best bet ;)
craft shows -- visit some first to get a ball park but 2-4 times your material costs -
art gallerys -- 5-10 times ...

edits: typos & typing before thoughts are complete .. ;)

Message edited by author 2007-02-21 21:27:28.
02/21/2007 09:27:21 PM · #5
[/quote]
IMO
Printing - best quality for lowest price all depends where you are ..
I've used Costco & the local Printing houses but have been good

What if we could recommend places people can order from via the internet so that the thread will apply to everyone?

www.mpix.com
www.smugmug.com
www.shutterfly.com

Lets hear those suggestions!!
02/21/2007 09:28:44 PM · #6
Originally posted by drwranger7:


www.mpix.com
www.smugmug.com
www.shutterfly.com

Lets hear those suggestions!!


those only apply to USA / shipping is too expensive
02/22/2007 10:46:54 AM · #7
Originally posted by ralph:

those only apply to USA / shipping is too expensive


Other alternatives to those not in the USA could be to suggest home printing options and the printers they choose to use. For those of us in the USA, recommendations based on experience and quality from internet sites would be most helpful.

Message edited by author 2007-02-22 10:47:40.
02/22/2007 10:54:27 AM · #8
Originally posted by drwranger7:


IMO
Printing - best quality for lowest price all depends where you are ..
I've used Costco & the local Printing houses but have been good

What if we could recommend places people can order from via the internet so that the thread will apply to everyone?

www.mpix.com
www.smugmug.com
www.shutterfly.com

Lets hear those suggestions!!


To add to that list some of my suggestions are

http://www.snapfish.com (my favorites for 4x6 prints)
http://www.elcocolor.com / http://www.elcocolor.com/poster_special.htm (I love using these guys)

Message edited by author 2007-02-22 10:56:49.
02/22/2007 11:01:47 AM · #9
Originally posted by digitalpins:


To add to that list some of my suggestions are

http://www.snapfish.com (my favorites for 4x6 prints)
http://www.elcocolor.com / http://www.elcocolor.com/poster_special.htm (I love using these guys)


Someone is getting one of the life-size cutouts from el-co!
02/22/2007 11:33:04 AM · #10
Originally posted by digitalpins:



To add to that list some of my suggestions are

http://www.snapfish.com (my favorites for 4x6 prints)
http://www.elcocolor.com / http://www.elcocolor.com/poster_special.htm (I love using these guys)


Thanks for that! 8x10's for only 95 cents (5 or more), can't beat that!
02/22/2007 01:06:17 PM · #11
Does anyone have a website/store where you can purchase a booth to display photos? I have seen people at shows with wire frames that they can hang framed works on. Any ideas??
02/22/2007 02:39:17 PM · #12
Originally posted by drwranger7:

Does anyone have a website/store where you can purchase a booth to display photos? I have seen people at shows with wire frames that they can hang framed works on. Any ideas??


If you do a Google search for wire display racks you should find something. The last show that I did, one of the photographers had his displayed on these and it worked very well. Sections are 2' x 6' and he got them for around $20 each.
02/22/2007 02:59:27 PM · #13
I have a friend who has been trying this. He has put in a fair bit of money but has little to show for it so far. What do I think his problems might be? First- you probably won't sell many large pictures. First is the cost and second is people have to carry them around. But you will want a few just to advertise your pictures. Plexiglass will be better than glass for them. His biggest sellers are the small items- not larger than an 8x 10 to fit an 11x 14 frame or better, 5x 7 in 8x 10 or even smaller. He has bookmarks too.

In his case, I think the subject matter of his pictures is limiting his sales. We live in a tourist town (San Diego) and he has a booth at a tourist site but he has very nice pictures he took on his own vacations. I think he would do better with pictures of the local landmarks for the tourists to take home with them. He does nice work. Women seem to be his biggest customers- have things that appeal to them. Colorful flowers. Romantic scenes.

Price them with a bulk discount- $5 each, 3 for $12 for example. Go to some of the local art shows and see what people are buying and for how much. Also check print and framing shops in your area. Some will buy good pre-matted prints from local artists. I am just beginning to explore this myself and am working on a collection for it. Tourist shots. Good luck!
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02/22/2007 08:47:05 PM · #14
Originally posted by rickhd13:

Originally posted by drwranger7:

Does anyone have a website/store where you can purchase a booth to display photos? I have seen people at shows with wire frames that they can hang framed works on. Any ideas??


If you do a Google search for wire display racks you should find something. The last show that I did, one of the photographers had his displayed on these and it worked very well. Sections are 2' x 6' and he got them for around $20 each.


Still haven't found them on google. Any links you can provide?
02/23/2007 12:57:29 PM · #15
I've done a couple shows with a professional friend and what he does seems to work well.

what he has-
2 long tables bought from craigslist
long pieces of muslin to cover the tables
1 tent- the booth type tents bought at Walmart for 80 dollars
6 old shutters that he's roughed up and hinged together- found on the local freecycle
metal photo stands he found at the dollar store

he's done a lot of shows and said he spent about 150 dollars to get everything he has.

My first show I spent about that much to get ready. Since I didn't need anything but my work that's where the money went. I bought matting at a local craft store- 6 dollars a sheet and our friend cut it. Bought photosleeves online- can't remember the website now.

Anyhow, the way we had it set up was the tent, tables - we rented a 3rd at the show and head them set up in a U. Strapped the shutters to the posts of the tent. Hung all our frame work on the shutters. Put everything else on stands. The smaller 5x7 prints we put in baskets.

We got a lot of attention because we were the only photography booth at that show. Was more of a redneck fest but we both did quite well.
The 2nd show I did was at an open house for a local framing/art gallery. We didn't sell anything at that one but did hand out a lot of business cards. He ended up booking 2 weddings that day and I ended up with a couple portrait sessions.
There's a big one coming up here soon that I really wanted to do. But I am homeschooling my daughter now and just don't have the time for photography like I did last summer and fall.
02/23/2007 01:19:52 PM · #16
Originally posted by drwranger7:

[quote=rickhd13] [quote=drwranger7]
Still haven't found them on google. Any links you can provide?


This is the kind of display my friend uses...puts a couple together with zip ties or you can build a base for them.

My experience at these shows are that folks really don't want to spend a fortune there, they are looking for a bargain. The biggest sellers that I have had are smaller prints just matted. My friend sells a ton of greeting cards that he prints.

02/23/2007 04:02:10 PM · #17
Originally posted by missinseattle:

I've done a couple shows with a professional friend and what he does seems to work well.

what he has-
2 long tables bought from craigslist
long pieces of muslin to cover the tables
1 tent- the booth type tents bought at Walmart for 80 dollars
6 old shutters that he's roughed up and hinged together- found on the local freecycle
metal photo stands he found at the dollar store

My first show I spent about that much to get ready. Since I didn't need anything but my work that's where the money went. I bought matting at a local craft store- 6 dollars a sheet and our friend cut it. Bought photosleeves online- can't remember the website now.

Anyhow, the way we had it set up was the tent, tables - we rented a 3rd at the show and head them set up in a U. Strapped the shutters to the posts of the tent. Hung all our frame work on the shutters. Put everything else on stands. The smaller 5x7 prints we put in baskets.



That's a great idea. Sounds like a lot of outside the box thinking are beneficial ways to set up a display. The shutter display is very clever. I think at most shows people are looking to spend less than $20 on one piece. The 5x7s in baskets probably did very well.

Has anyone bought bulk pre-cut mat from an online dealer in the US? If so, can you provide a website and a review?
02/23/2007 04:35:49 PM · #18
For pre cut matts and bags, I have used:
http://www.precutmats.com/index.php
They have various styles and sizes and are reliable.
02/23/2007 04:41:20 PM · #19
Originally posted by rickhd13:

Originally posted by drwranger7:

[quote=rickhd13] [quote=drwranger7]
Still haven't found them on google. Any links you can provide?


This is the kind of display my friend uses...puts a couple together with zip ties or you can build a base for them.

My experience at these shows are that folks really don't want to spend a fortune there, they are looking for a bargain. The biggest sellers that I have had are smaller prints just matted. My friend sells a ton of greeting cards that he prints.


actually interestingly enough we both didn't sell but 2 or 3 5x7's lol. I sold 3 framed 8x10's, and a quite a few matted 8x10's

and yes, a lot of thinking outside of the box. We had a lot of wind that day too so the stands were basically useless and we ended up just fanning the pictures out on the table and grouping them in themes. He had black muslin which looks for nice.
I have some old shutters downstairs that I'd like to clean up, repaint and rough up to put in my living room. I never would have thought of that had I not done the show with him!
02/23/2007 05:32:50 PM · #20
I have an idea for the customer who wouldn't want to carry the big ones around. Specially if they are from out of town. Add a flat shipping and packaging fee to the price of the large prints. Advertise FREE shipping on 16x20 and up. (in and out of frames) This way you keep your display on the wall and you sold another big one without any hassle to the customer.
This also saves the 'out of towner' from trying to get it home without damage. For the ones who cash and carry? you made a few more pennies. They wont know any better.
03/08/2007 09:37:04 AM · #21
Some people have said they use old shutters to hang pictures at a craft show. If I wanted to set up a display with something like a 6'x6' wire rack does anyone have any idea where I could look to find such a product? What else have people used to hang framed artwork or to display artwork?
03/11/2007 09:21:41 PM · #22
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