Photochimps.com

Go Back   Photochimps.com the Photo Site for Photographers of All Skill Levels > Photography Discussions > The Business of Photography
Home FAQ's of PC Forums Gallery Contests Register Members List

The Business of Photography Any thing that has to do with the business of Photography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-15-2008, 02:54 AM
Todd's Avatar
Todd Todd is offline
Supreme Commander

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Collinsville IL / St. Louis MO
Posts: 4,840
Send a message via AIM to Todd
Smile How to start selling your photographs at Art shows

How to start selling your photographs at Art shows & Galleries.

In my short 2 years of selling my photographs at "Fine Art" shows and at local "Arts & Crafts" shows, i've learned a lot and by far NOT enough LOL .

Almost at every show I do, I get the comment/question "I do photography, and I want to start selling my photographs, how do you start?" UGGG!!!

First you have to determine how and where you want to sell your photographs. Some sell their photos at Art shows, like what I do, others sell thier photography at ART Galleries. Either one cost $$$ to do. But, if your work is good enough, they will sell.

Here are a few things that I have learned $$$ - Not Cheap

Things you'll need and need to do. Not in any order. But I'll mention must have's. Many of the stuff below are geared on Art Shows but the same on a lot can be said about selling at art Galleries.

MOST Shows are Juried. Meaning that you have to be accepted to be in it.

First and formost
  • Go to other shows & galleries - Do your Homework. Before you go and try to sell at any show. Go to a few shows in your area and see what everyone else has. Look at their displays, look at the photographs, look at the prices. You can tell if just by looking at the stand and the photograhs if the person has been doing it for awhile. See what you like & dislike. I am NOT saying to copy what others are doing but see what they are doing and be YOURSELF.
  • Business Cards - Have your cards professionally printed. Dont PRINT THEM AT HOME! Dont use a basic card. Customize it. Have a Logo designed with your business name made. Quality Sales! The printer I use is www.gotprint.com, I used vista printing a few time, but they nickle/dime you - (your $19.99 cards turn out to be $49.99 after this charge and that charge and shipping. START HANDING THEM OUT. Talk to people, let them know your selling your images. Don't be shy. I mean, you dont have to push, push, push but do it in a way to say "I'm selling my photographs"
  • Website - It is important to have a site. It doesnt always mean you have pay the big bucks to have a site done, but a place that that people can view your images and be able to contact you.
  • Printing & Labs - You have to find your own lab that you'll be happy with. If you never used a lab, take your time and check all you can. There are many labs out there. I prob went through 10 different labs before I picked my lab. Check their prices for sure, check the quality of the photos, their turn around time. Some labs of the top of my head - www.whcc.com (which is the one that I use), www.mpix.com, there are many out there, check your local area as well.
  • Inventory - After you have found a Lab to print your photographs, you'll need an inventory of your best work. With inventory, I mean various sizes of each image. Depending on how many images and what sizes, it could get costly as well.
  • Frames & Mats - For the ones hanging anyway. What I have found out the best for frames - work with a local framer, get on thier best side. Work out a barter system. They frame for you and you inturn give them photographs to sell in their store. I've used the "Big Box" stores but found out that ALL the ones in my area send them ALL out to get done. Now, I just dont have the common sizes. I have odd sizes. If you have the common size prints, hey, buy them off the shelves if you want, BUT REMEMBER. YOU WANT TO HAVE ALL YOUR FRAMES CONSISTANT. Again, remember, Depending on how many images and what sizes you want framed, it could get costly as well.
  • Bags & Backing boards - I use www.ClearBags.com. for all my bags & backingboards. I am sure there might be others but they are the industry standard.
  • Portfolio - Make a portfolio of your best photographs.
Your Stand
  • Tents - If you doing outside events. Your going to need a tent. If you plan on doing more then one or two shows, it is smart to invest in a quailty tent. DONT DO WHAT I DID and buy a cheapie at your local home & garden store. THEY ARE FLIMSY and will BLOW away and or break. the better one to have is http://www.crafthut.com/, or http://www.flourish.com/mesh_panels.html and the cheaper route but better then the ones for that I first bought http://www.ezup.com/, The tent I bought is an ezup, for about $1000.00 again, Its a cheaper one and it has lasted me for about a year and NOW, I need to re-invest in a $2000.00 crafthut. Uggg.
  • Print Bins - Print bins are necessary to hold your extra photographs. You can buy bins from the above vendors or you can buy metal or wood print bins at various art supply stores. I found my current metal with canvas print bins at http://www.dickblick.com . updated : 3-18-2008 I just bought both of these bins, and just got them today http://www.armstrongproducts.com/carpet05.htm I had them customed made to be a bit bigger to fit my various sizes, for the two bins with shipping $825.00! But WORTH it.
  • Lighting - Yeah, I'm getting ready to buy new lighting. The dome metal lighting just doesnt do justice to your photographs. I let you know what I get.
The Shows and how to get in them.

added 1-16-2008:
The cost of shows vary from show to show & town to town. First, there is a cost to be juried - anywhere from $25-$75, Plus you need to send a second check to cover booth space - $75 from a CHEAPIE show to $600 for the BIG shows. But the average is $150-$400 in my area. So....if you plan on doing a lot of shows. Your going to have a money flooting out there JUST FOR SHOW space & Jury Fee's.
  • Zapp - Zapp is an online submission to art shows around the country. Becoming a standard. They have a special way to resize your photos and submitting them. https://www.zapplication.org/index.php
updated : 3-18-2008 This week, just after being turned down at 3 major art shows , I am finding out how & why I wasnt being accepted at the shows. Not to sound negitive, but all these shows that I was turned down at, There were NO local PHOTOGRAPHERS accepted! All of them were from across the country and world. They (the jurors, want "World Class" artists" and be able to say, "We have artist from around the world" at our event! THAT makes it more difficult for the local person! No matter how good you are! UGGG!

During the jurying for the shows, I am learning what the jurors are looking for, they are looking for a common theme with your photographs, they want a consistant look and flow in the photographs, PLUS, with the booth and how to photograph it. EH, I just found out that they are looking for the photographs that you submitted for jury to be hanging in your BOOTH shot! Never new that.

Jurors are a finiky bunch. Who knows what they are looking for, except something clean/uncluttered without any signs and such.

Ok, so I'll be ready for next years shows. Until then, I'll get in the ones I can and work on the rest.

Other need/must haves
  • Credit Cards - You'll get more sales!!! Enough said. Now for resources, check with your local banks. They'll help you. If you have a friend that has a business, ask them who they use.
  • Talk - Communicate with customers & people. Now, if your a quiet interverted person (not that it's a bad thing ) It's harder to sell. You just have to be able to "sell" yourself as well. But that's like anything you do.

    Ok, I understand that I am the farthest from being shy . But, I have seen alot of good stuff out there at shows (not just photography) and when you look at the stuff, you see the person that owns the stuff just sitting there like a bug on a log. Just waiting for the sale to happen. I am convience that people like being talked to about the stuff. The history of it. How you did it. Where you took it. Etc... YES, I agree people need their time & space as well. But, as your watching the people in your stand or where ever, and you notice that they pick up a photograph, just say something about the photograph. IE, "Yes, that was just taken last week" or "I had to get on my knees to take that" or "that was taken at xxxx". Obv, that person picked up the photograph for a reason. IT'S NOT BEING PUSHY, IT'S BEING HELPFUL. PEOPLE LIKE TO BUY, THEY DONT LIKE BEING SOLD TO. PEOPLE BUY OFF EMOTION. SALES 101 - From the school of "Hard Knocks"
  • Get OUT THERE - Get your name & work reconized. Visit local art galleries. Let them know who you are and what you do.
  • Get yourself Offical - You'll be required to pay taxes. IF you dont want to start a photography business (which you dont have to start). You will still have to pay local taxes and claim them on your federal as well.Resourses for stuff
SEE POST #21 in this thread for an update 8-19-2008
__________________
Todd Shaak
__________________
www.shaakphotography.com
My Flickr Page
www.http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddshaak/.com
------------------------------
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. - - Norman Vincent Peale
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-16-2008, 04:55 AM
Todd's Avatar
Todd Todd is offline
Supreme Commander

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Collinsville IL / St. Louis MO
Posts: 4,840
Send a message via AIM to Todd
Default

I'll be updating this from time to time. THIS NOT by far complete. If anyone else has done any shows on a regular basis. Give us/me your feedback of WHAT you have learned.
__________________
Todd Shaak
__________________
www.shaakphotography.com
My Flickr Page
www.http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddshaak/.com
------------------------------
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. - - Norman Vincent Peale
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:34 AM
photomao's Avatar
photomao photomao is offline
Senior Member & Contributor

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Spokane, WA, USA
Posts: 913
Default

I'm an introvert but you probably couldn't tell when I'm working a booth. I'm not the pitchman calling people in, but I love talking to customers about my photos.

I had cheesy, homemade business cards. People took a lot of them, but I didn't get any follow-up business.

Number one question I heard: "Do you have a web site?"

I also started with a non-standard canopy. It was a little embarrassing to be out there with my slanted-leg blue canopy when everybody else had the standard white models. Along these lines, it helps to have someone show up for assistance with setup and tear-down.

So far I've been able to depend on other booth operators to keep an eye on things when I've had to take care of "personal" matters. My money box came with a small cable that I can wrap around an upper part of a table leg.

When things are slow I talk with other booth operators and have found out about local framing wholesale suppliers and sites like clearbags.com.

Be ready for bad weather. I had to go through three thunderstorms in one afternoon but I already knew how I was going to protect my merchandise. One curtain on the windward side would have made things a lot easier.

Find event guides and calendars. I had to network to find out about a guide to Washington State fairs and festivals.

I've only attended a few art shows and had one coffeehouse showing but the results were favorable. I also sell old magazine ads at car shows and include my automotive photography on the side.

There's my two cents. I'm psyching myself up toward taking advantage of more opportunities this year.

I don't know how things are in the rest of the world but around here gallery/coffeehouse spaces are booked up into next year.

Mike
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-16-2008, 01:01 PM
winger's Avatar
winger winger is offline
Administrator

 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: southwest PA
Posts: 4,247
Default

Thank you very much for posting this, Todd, and thanks for adding, Mike. I've been saying for years that I need to at least try this. I knew some of it, but it's great to have it all in one place with resources listed. I'm starting to know my new area, so I just have to find the shows now.
__________________
Bethe

www.ewfisher.com
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:05 PM
chaud's Avatar
chaud chaud is offline
member

 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 4,039
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by winger View Post
Thank you very much for posting this, Todd, and thanks for adding, Mike. I've been saying for years that I need to at least try this. I knew some of it, but it's great to have it all in one place with resources listed.
I agree with Bethe--Thanks Todd and Mike!!
I've often thought showing our work at art shows and craft fairs would be a great way to get started at selling our work. Reading this only confirms what I suspected: it's not something you 'dabble in' since there is a fair outlay of cash required to get started in order to be successful at it and even more of an investment (cash and time) to make a serious go at it. That doesn't mean we won't ever try, just means we'll probably wait until we can invest some serious time to doing it.
Barbara
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:26 PM
photomao's Avatar
photomao photomao is offline
Senior Member & Contributor

 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Spokane, WA, USA
Posts: 913
Default

I usually made a little over the day's expenses but kept digging a deeper hole overall in material costs. Other photographers told me that shows aren't really the places to make money but to get exposure (no pun intended ) and make connections.

I enjoyed the experience, but you really need to have cash flow coming from other areas to offset the expenses.

It's nice to spend the day/weekend in some other town, soaking up the sunshine (you hope) and meeting new people.

One other note, some shows have early jury deadlines so it pays to do your research. The premier art show in this town is in November but the entry deadline is in early Spring.

Some juried shows will have non-juried areas available.

Juried means that a person or group of people will want to see samples of your work to see if it is up to show standards.

Another reason to apply up early is that some shows try to avoid having too many of a given craft/discipline on hand.

Mike

Last edited by photomao; 01-16-2008 at 06:38 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:45 PM
Todd's Avatar
Todd Todd is offline
Supreme Commander

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Collinsville IL / St. Louis MO
Posts: 4,840
Send a message via AIM to Todd
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by photomao View Post
I usually made a little over the day's expenses but kept digging a deeper hole overall in material costs. Other photographers told me that shows aren't really the places to make money but to get exposure (no pun intended ) and make connections.

I enjoyed the experience, but you really need to have cash flow coming from other areas to offset the expenses.

It's nice to spend the day/weekend in some other town, soaking up the sunshine (you hope) and meeting new people.

Mike
Thanks Mike for your input.

I have met MANY people that do this for a living like myself. There are few people that do shows just for the exposure. But I find it very hard to believe that there are many. WAY too much time, effort & money in doing shows JUST FOR EXPOSURE.

My set-up time, JUST SET-UP, not getting ready for, loading up the van and driving there. just the set-up time averages for me 1.5 hours to 3.0 hours. PLUS TEAR DOWN.

My gross sales per show range about $1500-$4000 per weekend. That beind said. Last year was NOT a good year. There was a show that I did 1800.00 the previous year and then did 300.00 last year. OUCH.

added 1-16-2008:
The cost of shows vary from show to show & town to town. First, there is a cost to be juried - anywhere from $25-$75, Plus you need to send a second check to cover booth space - $75 from a CHEAPIE show to $600 for the BIG shows. But the average is $150-$400 in my area. So....if you plan on doing a lot of shows. Your going to have a money flooting out there JUST FOR SHOW space & Jury Fee's.
__________________
Todd Shaak
__________________
www.shaakphotography.com
My Flickr Page
www.http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddshaak/.com
------------------------------
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. - - Norman Vincent Peale
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-16-2008, 06:59 PM
chaud's Avatar
chaud chaud is offline
member

 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 4,039
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by photomao View Post
I usually made a little over the day's expenses but kept digging a deeper hole overall in material costs. Other photographers told me that shows aren't really the places to make money but to get exposure (no pun intended ) and make connections.

I enjoyed the experience, but you really need to have cash flow coming from other areas to offset the expenses.

It's nice to spend the day/weekend in some other town, soaking up the sunshine (you hope) and meeting new people.

One other note, some shows have early jury deadlines so it pays to do your research. The premier art show in this town is in November but the entry deadline is in early Spring.

Some juried shows will have non-juried areas available.

Juried means that a person or group of people will want to see samples of your work to see if it is up to show standards.

Another reason to apply up early is that some shows try to avoid having too many of a given craft/discipline on hand.

Mike
Mike, we talked about some of this when we met up with you last summer. I was wondering if it would be easier selling your beautiful photos in Pullman and/or Moscow? There seemed to be a lot of tourists, visitors, students and their families in both towns when we visited them--just wondering if it would be easier to market photos of the region to these folks versus Spokaneons (-ites, whatever they're called.) It just seems like they'd be more interested in photos as momentos from their time there.

Barbara
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-16-2008, 07:08 PM
Todd's Avatar
Todd Todd is offline
Supreme Commander

 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Collinsville IL / St. Louis MO
Posts: 4,840
Send a message via AIM to Todd
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaud View Post
just wondering if it would be easier to market photos of the region to these folks versus Spokaneons (-ites, whatever they're called.)

Barbara
Barbara, I am convienced that local scenery sells better at local shows. When I do my shows, I usaully out sell my competion 3:1 (which are VERY AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHERS BTW). The main difference is that while others are selling Mountains/Abstact/Europe etc... I sell alot of local scenes of St. Louis & of the Cardinal Baseball team. I'm doing a art show next weekend JUST devoted to LOCAL scenery.

Now, that being said, the down fall for me is that, while I have a large inventory of local scenery, I cant go to Chicago or anywhere else to sell that stuff.

The break down of what I sell is 40% local scenery, 35% St. Louis Cardinal Stuff, and 25% other stuff, IE...Landscapes, cars, Barns etc....
__________________
Todd Shaak
__________________
www.shaakphotography.com
My Flickr Page
www.http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddshaak/.com
------------------------------
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. - - Norman Vincent Peale
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-16-2008, 07:55 PM
chaud's Avatar
chaud chaud is offline
member

 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 4,039
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJazzyone - Todd View Post
Barbara, I am convienced that local scenery sells better at local shows.
My point, exactly.
One of Mike's favorite shooting grounds is down in the Palouse region south of Spokane. Moscow and Pullman are both in the Palouse--that's why I was thinking it would be a great place to market them. Each city is home to their respective state university (WSU and University of Idaho.)
Barbara
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.