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Total newbie here.  I've read through many threads and done several searches and haven't found any answers so I hope I'm not asking redundant questions.

I'm a landscape and architecture photographer wanting to get in on my first art show.  I was advised by a friend who has been doing shows for about a year to start out small to feel out the public's reaction about my work and ramp up from there.

There are a couple smaller shows coming up that I want to go to.  I don't expect to sell a ton, but like my friend said, just get an idea of the public's reaction to my work and use that information for better shows in the spring/summer.  Right now, winter shows are all indoors and geared toward smaller venues.  Booth sizes range from 8x8 to 10x6, nothing in the full size, 10x10 variety.  My questions are:

1. What would you recommend for a simple booth setup to display photography with those sizes?  A couple 6 foot tables with easels and a rack for loose, matted prints?

2. I eventually want to get either a pop up tent or a full blown Flourish canopy setup.  I haven't seen any photos of those used indoors.  Is that not recommended or against the rules of indoor places?  I want to think the popup tents would look a little funky with the naked diamond frame but the Flourish setups w/o the canopy might be fine if I toss some lights on the bars?

3. Could I use the aforementioned setup in a smaller footprint other than 10x10 or does it have to extend fully to be operational?  

4. Am I over thinking this and just need to find a show, sign up, and hit the road?

I have a decent selection of prints to sell (about 20), so I'll be able to fill up any space I take on.  I have sizes ranging from 8x12 to huge 20x60 panoramas.  I don't plan on displaying all of them, though, especially at the smaller shows just starting out.  

Thanks for your help.

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You need walls to hang your photographs on. Maybe you can rent or borrow a set of Pro Panels from a local artist who isn't doing a show that weekend. The fact that it's an indoor show may help someone decide to let you use their display. I wouldn't use tables because they would block your booth. Maybe one at the most pushed up against a side wall so it doesn't block people from entering your booth. For walls, pro panels or mesh walls connected to a canopy frame. Usually you can adjust the way the bars connect to make the walls not as wide. If you're considering a Trimline, call and ask them if their walls can be shortened in width. Mesh walls can easily be pulled to one side and clipped.

If you have enough indoor shows lined up it may be time to begin investing in some display items you'll keep. Pro Panels makes some good free standing unframed bins at 28 inches wide. You can put multiple sizes of your matted prints in a single bin.

Larry Berman

Thank you for the info.  As far as using a trimline canopy indoors, is it ok to have it set up sans canopy?  My only question is if the bar going across the front top edge would be a distraction or deterrent.  

The bar across the front can support your lighting. It's over seven feet off the ground and wouldn't be a problem. I like to use either small reflector clip on lights with clamps holding them on so they don't fall, of spring arm lamps that drop into the tops of my Pro Panels.

Larry Berman

Nice.  That's what I was thinking, mounting the lights on it.

Do you use facility power for your lights or do you have a battery setup?  I figure the battery setup would be the most convenient for outodoors

If it's an indoor show, they won't let you use batteries because of fire laws. I used to travel with a generator but very few shows allow that anymore. I no longer do shows but used to travel with a small box of six clip on lights, extension cords and a breaker box.

Something like this

Larry Berman

They just want to charge you another $50 for power ;)

Most indoor shows do not allow tents to be set up.  If you decide to purchase the Flourish mesh walls, which are very nice, they do have an indoor set-up with sta-bars that can be used with their tent at a later date.  I started with gridwalls and legs which are very inexpensive.  That might be an option for you to start with. This is the company I went with. They have walls, legs, hangers, all the accessories.  You order as little or as many as you need to start with.  Sometimes you can also find these gridwalls at your local ReStore!  Good luck.

thank you for the link, looks like good stuff.  I'll have to check them out a bit more.

We have done shows that are "under cover", but not a strictly "indoor" show and tents were allowed. We were just in a show this weekend that was held in an old cottonseed mill. It can be closed up and locked for security and there were several booths with tents set up, some with the canopy and some without. It all depends on where the show is and what local laws are, and of course how strictly they are enforced.

First off, I would not do small shows . If they are unjuried , you get mixed with crap and resale and people will devalue your work and look for price alone . Second, I would suggest  frame canopy either 8x 10 or 10 x 10 . What I mean by that is , " take off the canvas and just use the frame " for inside shows . You could then use mesh panels or purchase lattice work from a place like Home Depot to use on your display . The small opening lattice panels give you  a lot of hanging space . Do not use a large tables as they will block people as another artist stated earlier . You would be surprised at the number of potential customers who just stand back and do not enter a display because it is set up like a prison yard !!!! I have been very successfully for 42 years  and I have never had anyone comment on my canopy frame being ,"funky " It is utilitarian . The idea of the light is good, but , be advised , electricity at shows is extra , and sometimes as much as another $100.00 for a two day show . I strongly suggest checking out shows you are interested in. Go  on line ,or ask other artists how they did? how was set up and breakdown ? what was the advertising like ? would they go back ? . You can never ask too many questions . The dumbest one is the one you don't ask .

Thanks for the tip John.  I don't expect to make millions off this show, just enough to get my feet wet.  I figure why blow $250-500 on a full blown art fair with no experience.  Might as well get driving experience on the '92 Camry before buying the 2018 S-class, right?

I'm looking into a couple local places that rent display panels for expos to see if that would be a good, cheap alternative to tables/easles.  Thanks for suggestions!

I respect your opinion. That being said , There is an old adage in the art show circuit that the little shows usually produce the little results and you do not get a good idea of what you can accomplish . I wish you well ....


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