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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> First art show - wanna help?
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03/30/2021 12:12:18 PM · #1
Probably too much to ask since I have 1391 entries...

I bought a booth for a juried art show, and I need to fill it with enlargements that might actually sell and hopefully pay for the booth.

So here are the questions --

1. in looking through my challenge entries, is there any of them that YOU would want to buy? if so:
a. which one(s)?
b. what size?
c. regular print, metallic, acrylic or canvas?

2. are there any photos that you think someone else would want to buy?

Thanks! I've never done a show. I don't buy artwork, so I have no idea what size, output type, selling price, etc. It's May 4, so I have to get started pretty quickly. I made a list of prints that I'd want, assuming that nothing will sell. But I'm also curious what other people think might actually sell.

Thanks!
03/30/2021 12:29:04 PM · #2
What's the venue? The type of people coming thru the exhibit and the location could have an impact on what the market wants / expects?
03/30/2021 12:37:49 PM · #3
It's
Art at the River . I've never been, so I really know nothing about it. I found out on the last day for applications with 2 hours to spare. And now I'm in a bit over my head. Do I do a booth with large metal prints and just a few? Do I do a ton of small, regular prints and mat them?

I've never had much interest in flipping through tons of prints when going to craft fairs, etc. But larger fancier prints are much more of an investment if nothing sells.

They showed this photo: booth But that seems to cheapen the photos having soooo many?

I want to have a mix, not just wildlife

Message edited by author 2021-03-30 12:44:46.
03/30/2021 12:47:47 PM · #4
I will take a look at your portfolio today or tomorrow if you would like... I have never done a booth myself so can't help out that way.
03/30/2021 01:50:08 PM · #5
Originally posted by sanders:

I will take a look at your portfolio today or tomorrow if you would like... I have never done a booth myself so can't help out that way.


Thanks!!
03/30/2021 02:12:26 PM · #6
How much space do you have, and what kind of "walls" will the booth have? Maybe you can post a little diagram showing the layout ...

Also, if it has a top you may have to be concerned with lighting.

If you have images suitable for metal prints, they have the advantage of not needing additional framing (which can cost as much as the more-expensive metal print) and they seem to be attention-getters.

My first inclination would be to hang a few metal prints in various sizes, and have a box of 8x10s for people who like the images but don't want to spend as much. I'd also have a catalog/brochure or something to encourage people to order something later ...
03/30/2021 02:20:00 PM · #7
Originally posted by GeneralE:

How much space do you have, and what kind of "walls" will the booth have? Maybe you can post a little diagram showing the layout ...

Also, if it has a top you may have to be concerned with lighting.

If you have images suitable for metal prints, they have the advantage of not needing additional framing (which can cost as much as the more-expensive metal print) and they seem to be attention-getters.

My first inclination would be to hang a few metal prints in various sizes, and have a box of 8x10s for people who like the images but don't want to spend as much. I'd also have a catalog/brochure or something to encourage people to order something later ...


It's a 10x10 space -- we provide our own tents, tables, etc., so I'm guessing peg board? I was going to figure all that out after I figured out what I was going to sell. (oh man, I am in over my head!!)
03/30/2021 04:17:00 PM · #8
Wow! This is exciting, Wendy!

I hope you sell out!

These are some of my favorites of your work:

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and this one: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/3000-3999/3052/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1251069.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/3000-3999/3052/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1251069.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' but not sure it will sell. :D

03/30/2021 05:08:40 PM · #9
Thanks Lydia! You picked a number of them that I picked, and some I never would have thought of. (And one I didn't even remember taking! )
03/30/2021 07:04:34 PM · #10
Originally posted by vawendy:

Thanks Lydia! You picked a number of them that I picked, and some I never would have thought of. (And one I didn't even remember taking! )


Let us know how it goes!

I can't wait to hear!
03/30/2021 07:10:05 PM · #11
My experience and opinion only. Not to be a Debbie Downer (or Nikki Naysayer, as it were) but . . .

Little stuff, matted prints (have outside of mat cut to fit a standard frame like 11x14 or 16x20 regardless of ratio of print - that gives the buyer the option of buying and popping it in an off-the-shelf frame OR sizing up and maybe using the mat you displayed in for an inner mat) - orr even unmatted if they are cropped to standard sizes. I know you said you've never been inclined to flip through a bunch of prints . . . but it's what usually sells.

Be prepared to take home every single large, expensive, framed or otherwise ready to hang (canvas or metal) piece that you take with you.

You do need some larger, ready-to-hang pieces to attract attention. BUT I would honestly be prepared to take them home again. So . . . Look around your own home and office space (if any - or office space of hubby). See where you would enjoy hanging something large. Now pick what YOU would hang there. And put the money in it as if you were going to go home and hang it on your wall. If it sells and you absolutely can't do without it, you can have another printed; if it doesn't sell, you can take it home and hang it and enjoy it.

As far as subject matter, in general, places sell better than anything else for me.

Here's the deal. Most people already have plenty of stuff and what they want on their walls. If they are really looking for something big and expensive - because they've just moved or redecorated or whatever - they want to pick the image, the colors, the substrate, the size, the presentation, everything. And THEN they will be willing to pay. I think you have the best chance of selling and making a little of your investment back by going small and hoping for the impulse buyer - "Oh, I love that! I don't have the slightest idea where I'll put it, but I HAVE to have ie!"
03/30/2021 09:59:36 PM · #12
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All but one of these are from your portfolio where I could see thumbs to help me cull. Because of the way challenge entries display here - title only - I don't have time to look through those.
03/30/2021 10:28:45 PM · #13
Originally posted by nam:



All but one of these are from your portfolio where I could see thumbs to help me cull. Because of the way challenge entries display here - title only - I don't have time to look through those.


Thanks, Nikki -- and you're probably right about the big prints. something to consider.

By the way, you can see the thumbnails for all challenge entries by clicking on the arrow next to title
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Message edited by author 2021-03-30 22:29:03.
03/30/2021 11:49:10 PM · #14
Originally posted by vawendy:

. . .

By the way, you can see the thumbnails for all challenge entries by clicking on the arrow next to title
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Oh my goodness thank you, Wendy. I HATE trying to figure out what I've entered when I'm considering an archival entry.
03/31/2021 12:07:29 AM · #15
Here are a few more. Looked at your Top 10 and above for first 30 pages.

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Maybe esp the Chincoteague (w/o text) and Return to the Sea both of which I think might speak to someone who had "experienced" what they represent.

Message edited by author 2021-03-31 00:09:06.
03/31/2021 01:34:09 AM · #16
Originally posted by vawendy:

Originally posted by nam:


All but one of these are from your portfolio ...

Thanks, Nikki -- and you're probably right about the big prints. something to consider.

Two other considerations about the large prints:

MY "style" is to be all over the place regarding subject matter, but I think you'll actually attract more attention if maybe 2/3 of them are of related subjects (e.g. birds, obviously).

Besides the metal prints, consider making canvas prints of any images which might benefit from a softer look.

If you have three "walls" consider one each of metal canvas, and framed/matted prints, OR have each wall have similar subjects with mixed formats.
03/31/2021 07:11:24 AM · #17
I am biased so I prefer cats hahaha...

These are my choices
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My wife also has some favourites and she would gladly buy the below ones:
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03/31/2021 10:11:32 AM · #18
. . .

My wife also has some favourites and she would gladly buy the below ones:
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I'm with your wife. Love her choices.
03/31/2021 10:19:35 AM · #19
from my experience at art shows, I find that it's best NOT to go with filters that make it look like a painting, or printing photos on canvas for that matter. people go oooh and aaah and then you see their face drop when you tell them it's a photo and not a painting. You have a better chance with sharp spectacular photographic photos. Wildlife/nature can sell but pets also have a good chance if the buyer has a similar looking pet.
03/31/2021 11:50:10 AM · #20
Do you have business cards? Just something to consider.
03/31/2021 12:01:14 PM · #21
It's so difficult to choose when your portfolio is so good. Just from this page, if I'm not going to repeat everything, I'd go with these four;
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At least one of these two:
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And this one:
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03/31/2021 12:14:42 PM · #22
And these two:
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03/31/2021 04:25:22 PM · #23
This is so incredibly helpful!! I appreciate it greatly.

I'm also quite surprised at some of the choices -- which is great fun.

I'm feeling very overwhelmed, but you guys have made it feel exciting again. :)

03/31/2021 04:51:56 PM · #24
this can be a lot of fun if you go into it expecting nothing more than having fun. any sales you make are just gravy.

you want to show things that really stand out, that are unique to you, that people really can't get anywhere but from you.

LARGE prints are much better and small, and only a handful (5-8) on display at a time makes it appear even more exclusive.

10x10 is standard and not a whole lot of space, unless you get really creative. look on pinterest for creative art booth spaces for ideas. one of the coolest i've seen was set up like a small sitting room, outfitted with a settee, coffee table, end table, lamps, etc. the artist had a couple coffee table book/catalogues of other works, and a few stacks of square 3.5" takeaway prints. the "visitors" were able to get a sense of how the imagery could work in a room.

you have to have the ability to process orders on site.

you would also want to have a complete catalog of images available for sale online since you can't bring everything to the show.

another consideration when picking your prints is how they will decorate your home if they don't sell at the show. (i personally don't print anything that i wouldn't want to see large on my own walls, but that's may be just me.)

just like anything else, how you present yourself tells people how much you value your work. if you cheap out on your space, you can't really hope to sell for decent prices. on the other hand, if you invest in your space, you can comfortably ask for gallery prices (which should be the goal). your best bet is to look at this as the first of many, not just a one-time deal. all the same, put as much into it as you can upfront rather than going into it low with the plan of adding on in the future. keep in mind, ALL OF THIS is tax deductible; if you spend 2-3k on prints and booth set up, 100% of that will be a schedule c business expense (and if you don't want to take my word for it, just ask your accountant...)

good luck and have fun! regardless of what you do, i hope you come home with less than you take.

[eta: when making your picks, really do be thinking about what people would want to see on their walls. this is a semi-permanent decision, something they may see every day for a number of years. it's not a matter of what strikes your fancy in a digital slide deck, but what is going to cut it in the real world. think about what you've seen in professional offices, better hotels, nicer homes...and let that guide you more than anything else. do you see darker or lighter art on people's walls? more black and white or bright colors? somber or cheery? also, think about how your clients' guest will react to their purchase; will it be something they envy or will they be wondering "what were they thinking when they bought that?!?" now, keep in mind, if you are selling small prints at giveaway prices, none of this matters. on the other hand, if you are selling LARGE prints for serious money, all of this matters ;-) ]

Message edited by author 2021-03-31 17:05:01.
03/31/2021 06:16:43 PM · #25
Originally posted by Skip:

this can be a lot of fun if you go into it expecting nothing more than having fun. any sales you make are just gravy.

you want to show things that really stand out, that are unique to you, that people really can't get anywhere but from you.

LARGE prints are much better and small, and only a handful (5-8) on display at a time makes it appear even more exclusive.

10x10 is standard and not a whole lot of space, unless you get really creative. look on pinterest for creative art booth spaces for ideas. one of the coolest i've seen was set up like a small sitting room, outfitted with a settee, coffee table, end table, lamps, etc. the artist had a couple coffee table book/catalogues of other works, and a few stacks of square 3.5" takeaway prints. the "visitors" were able to get a sense of how the imagery could work in a room.

you have to have the ability to process orders on site.

you would also want to have a complete catalog of images available for sale online since you can't bring everything to the show.

another consideration when picking your prints is how they will decorate your home if they don't sell at the show. (i personally don't print anything that i wouldn't want to see large on my own walls, but that's may be just me.)

just like anything else, how you present yourself tells people how much you value your work. if you cheap out on your space, you can't really hope to sell for decent prices. on the other hand, if you invest in your space, you can comfortably ask for gallery prices (which should be the goal). your best bet is to look at this as the first of many, not just a one-time deal. all the same, put as much into it as you can upfront rather than going into it low with the plan of adding on in the future. keep in mind, ALL OF THIS is tax deductible; if you spend 2-3k on prints and booth set up, 100% of that will be a schedule c business expense (and if you don't want to take my word for it, just ask your accountant...)

good luck and have fun! regardless of what you do, i hope you come home with less than you take.

[eta: when making your picks, really do be thinking about what people would want to see on their walls. this is a semi-permanent decision, something they may see every day for a number of years. it's not a matter of what strikes your fancy in a digital slide deck, but what is going to cut it in the real world. think about what you've seen in professional offices, better hotels, nicer homes...and let that guide you more than anything else. do you see darker or lighter art on people's walls? more black and white or bright colors? somber or cheery? also, think about how your clients' guest will react to their purchase; will it be something they envy or will they be wondering "what were they thinking when they bought that?!?" now, keep in mind, if you are selling small prints at giveaway prices, none of this matters. on the other hand, if you are selling LARGE prints for serious money, all of this matters ;-) ]


I don't really want to sell small prints for giveaway prices. I'd like to sell large prints (or large-ish prints to start with, since they're quite an investment just to print).

The problem is, I have no idea what a realistic price would be. I don't buy artwork, and I haven't been to shows. So I have no idea how an 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20 should be priced. Everytime I tried to google it, it tells me to take into account, time, equipment, blah blah blah -- well then a 5x7 would run around $30,000. :)

I don't want to undersell, but I don't want to be ridiculously priced, either. So that's where I'm really floundering.

I love the idea of setting up the booth as a sitting room! I'll definitely check out pinterest. I use it a lot for crafts, but never thought of it for that.
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