Saturday, February 21, 2009

Art Show Information

One of my breakout sessions today was with Mike Moats entitled "Making a Living on the Art Show Circuit." Mike Moats is a macro photographer, check out his book Macro Photography - Tiny Landscapes.

I have not tried art shows yet, but I have come to believe that I probably need to add them as part of the income pie as a nature photographer. I'm posting these links as both a reference for me in the months to come and for others doing research as to what they will need to set up an art show booth and where to purchase this specialized equipment.

Places to buy the tents

Light Dome Canopies



EZ up makes tents that are less expensive. What I've heard is that many people start with the EZ Up Tents and then when they are more established buy from Light Dome or Flourish. What is very important is to order your accessories such as the awnings when you order the tent, because you will need the correct zippers, etc.

Furnishings for your Booth:


Armstrong Products

Dick Blick for Canvas Print Racks

You will need some kind of cart to get your materials to and from your vehicle or trailer:

Rock n Roller Cart

Since I know that many of my photographer friends also sell greeting cards, I googled greeting card racks and came up with these:

Display Warehouse

Clear Displays has some interesting acrylic tabletop card displays.

Displays2Go even has some "on sale" right now.

Argonaut Displays

I think that I may want to have lights to make my photos stand out. I found these:

LED Battery Picture Lights

Lighting Universe

Trade Show Products

I also found an ezine article on Lighting a Fine Craft Trade Show booth

I have not bought my art show supplies yet. The upper links are ones that other people have recommended. I don't have any recommendations as to which greeting card rack company is best.

In addition to buying your booth and furnishing it, you are also going to have to have your prints ready to sell. You have to decide whether to mat and frame them. The recommendations I've heard so far are to have a few framed prints on the walls, but that the unframed photos sell better. If you are going to mat them, you have to decide whether to buy ready made mats or learn to cut your own.

Precut Mats

EZ Mats

I bought a Logan mat cutter which has served my purposes very well. I've seen a much nicer mat cutter that I'm sure is easier to use, but for now I'll keep using my Logan.

Luminous Landscape has a great article on all the different levels of mat cutters out there up to the very expensive computer models similar to one that a framing friend I know has.

After you have printed your work and made the decision to mat or not mat, you still need packaging materials.
For clear plastic bags in every size you could possibly need:

Clear Bags

Uline Uline also carries boxes of every size and description, as well as sales type bags.

I've used both of these companies - and it pays to check the pricing, because depending upon what size and how many you want to order, sometimes one is significantly cheaper than the other.

On first glance, it looks like there is a big initial investment to get started with Art shows. In addition many are juried so you must plan ahead. However, for many photographers it is one of the ways they can consistently make money with their photography.


Jibby Calosu said...

Thanks for sharing this useful and interesting information. Well, if you really want to catch customers’ attention you have to use strategy like for example attending fairs, trade shows and display your booth. Now, if you have paraphernalia like cards then I would suggest you to use business card holders because it's an acrylic one which item placed in it is visible to prospective customers.

Mary Ann Melton said...

Thanks for your comment Jibby. This article was written for photographers and artists who set up booths to sell their products directly to the consumers at Art Shows and Art Fairs. Trade shows are working toward a different market entirely. I agree about the acrylic business card holders - I use those at my booth.

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