Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
After reading as much as I could find here on the subject, I set up my new canopy and panels and took my first booth shot. I would appreciate any feedback I can get, as I am about to set up my ZAPP account and begin apply for shows.
Did I crop too much? Does my tent look small? I do have a Pro Panel desk, but I didn't include it because it always just looked like it was in the way. Is it a mistake to leave it out?
Also, I did read that if I use a photo bin I should include it in the booth shot. Well, I WILL use a Pro Panel bin - but I'm out of capital and I don't have it yet. But I need to start applying to shows. Should I try to Photoshop it in - or should I just leave the image alone?
Again, thanks everyone for the feedback! It helps so much. I do have a couple more questions:
If you look at my before and after booth pics you'll see I took 4 images off the back wall in Photoshop and moved the bottom ones up. It sounds like I still have too many images, but I just don't think I'll be able to cleanly remove photos off the side walls in Photoshop. I really, really don't want to set everything up again and re-shoot if I don't have to, but I will. So my question is - do you think it is that important to remove images before submitting any applications? Or can I wait until I do a show and shoot the booth then with fewer images on the walls?
My second question is concerning my black and whites. I did hesitate to use them because they are, well, B&W. However, what you see is what I have. I'm just getting started and I don't have any more inventory at all of any kind. Also, I have done a few very small local shows and sold a bit online and my B&Ws generate the most interest so far. So I hate to leave them completely out of my booth shot since I would like to include them at the shows. Plus I was going to use one or more of them for my jury image pieces. Larry seemed to indicate that it might be okay to mix the color and B&W images in the booth as long as I cover an entire wall either one - but, I don't have enough B&Ws printed right now to cover an entire wall with them.
IS it okay to mix color and B&W as I have, or should I just start over?
Suggestions on how to proceed at this time, please!
Juries look at 100’s of artists in the span of only a few hours. As long as your booth image is clean and professional looking (which yours is), they’ll look at it for 2 seconds and move on. If a jury likes your work this booth shot will not keep you out of a show. And If they don’t like your work it’s not going to get you in. So relax and don’t sweat the minutiae.
I’ve heard stories of shows that walk around matching booth shots with booth setups but I’ve never actually seen it done. At the vast majority of shows, as long as you set up a professional looking booth containing the same style of artwork that you juried in with, it’s not going to matter if you have 2 browse bins and your booth shot shows only 1 or your booth shot shows 3 b&w’s but you display 5. However, if you’re going to hang both color and b&w then your booth shot should show both.
As a photographer who shoots booths for other artists and as one who has sat on juries, I’ve seen hundreds of booth images and this is not one to worry about. This shot is just fine to begin applying to shows. You’ll update it as your booth evolves — which it will. (Although showing a browse bin if you plan to have them would be a good idea.)
Awesome. That is exactly what I needed to hear. Since I am brand new in the business I do tend to stress a bit over every detail. But I know no one in this business and have no experience to draw from, and therefore have nowhere to gather information but here. Sometimes the messages seem mixed to me, which makes it tough.
Anyway, I now feel comfortable enough to proceed. Thank you!
(My daughter was right. She told me I was over-analyzing. Again.) :)
One of the problems with posting on an active forum is you'll eventually get someone to post what you want to hear, even if it's not really what you need to hear.
Let me reinforce what David said.
I've attended open juries and have sat there while the jurors discussed the booth. I even wrote an article last year about how the art shows can use the iPad to do on site comparisons of the booth image against the booth set up at the show.
Thank you for responding David and Larry. The last thing in the world I am attempting to do is ignore the advice of either of you. You guys are the experts! I don't have a clue, but I'm serious about this and I hope my booth shot shows that at least. I do want to know exactly what I need to do. At the end of the day I really do want to hear what I need to hear.
But I feel like I'm getting mixed messages. On the one hand I hear that I need to remove images from my walls to clean up my booth shot just so I can be accepted, and then I can display whatever I please at the actual shows. On the other hand I hear that my both shot and my actual booth should match almost exactly, and I need to include everything in the booth shot that I plan to display at shows. On the one hand I hear I can forget about including the desk for now and on the other hand I hear that it's necessary. I don't want to ignore advice, it's just confusing to me.
The other problem I'm having is I don't know any of you, really. I don't yet have a feel on this site for whose advice I want to take and whose I can sort of ignore. So I guess what I have been doing is taking bits here and there and trying to apply a little bit of what everyone says. Very frustrating.
So, again, is it better to remove images for the booth shot or not? It is vital that my booth shot exactly matches my booth at the shows or not? Do I absolutely need to include the bin and desk before applying to any shows or not? I do think it's safe to say that the two of you are experts and very experienced - yet you seem to not exactly agree on the subject, unless I'm mistaken.
No two people will exactly agree. I'd say not include the desk and definitely include the bin. I'd also tell you to spread the work out so you can see the space between pieces from the camera angle. The camera position is the juror's viewpoint, never forget that.
Sometimes it's easier to set up a display with empty frames and drop the images in afterwards. I've done something similar for painters and photographers for years. One good booth shot can last a career if done properly.
I'm not going to say that you need the same number of framed pieces in the booth picture as when you set up at a show. I've only heard that from one or two shows but have never heard it being enforced.
But as for the length of time the jurors see your images. Only about 35 shows project the images, and are some of the top shows. Those are the ones that see your images for about ten to 15 seconds first round, so you need to blow them away with your style, etc. The other eight or nine hundred shows, for the most part have their jurors use monitors which means that they go at their own pace and can examine each image in detail.
Here's a complete list of ZAPP shows that project using ZAPP equipment:
Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original; Ann Arbor, MI
Art Fair on the Square; Lake Forest, IL
Art in the Pearl; Portland, OR
Arts Festival Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, OK
ArtFest Fort Myers; Fort Myers, FL
ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival; Jupiter, FL
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown; Houston, TX
Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park; Houston, TX
Boston Mills Artfest; Peninsula, OH
Broad Ripple Art Fair; Indianapolis, IN
Brookside Art Annual; Kansas City, MO
Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts; State College, PA
Cherry Creek Arts Festival; Denver, CO
Coconut Grove Arts Festival®; Coconut Grove, FL
Columbus Arts Festival; Columbus, OH
Crested Butte Arts Festival; Crested Butte, CO
Des Moines Arts Festival; Des Moines, IA
Festival of the Arts; Oklahoma City, OK
Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff; St. Joseph, MI
Lakefront Festival of the Arts; Milwaukee, WI
Long's Park Art and Craft Festival; Lancaster, PA
MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival; Fort Worth, TX
Melbourne Arts Festival; Melbourne, Florida
Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show; Mount Gretna, PA
Naperville Riverwalk Fine Art Fair; Naperville, IL
Plaza Art Fair; Kansas City, MO
Saint Louis Art Fair; Saint Louis, MO
Salem Art Fair and Festival; Salem, OR
Scottsdale Arts Festival; Scottsdale, AZ
Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival; Ketchum, ID
Telluride Festival of the Arts; Telluride, CO
Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival; Upper Arlington, OH
Uptown Art Fair; Minneapolis, MN
Vail Arts Festival; Vail, CO
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival; Winter Park, FL
Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival; The Woodlands, TX
Since David and Larry’s comments are obviously directed at me, let me respond: I was not telling her “what she wanted to hear” but simply telling her not the dwell on the tiny details at this time. Where in my response did I say anything like “ignore” your booth shot. Nor did I say that juries do not pay any attention to the booth shot. I simply said that Renee’s booth image was “clean and professional” looking and that it’s good enough for a jury. If David and Larry have been on juries then they’ve seen the same terrible booth images that I have and those are the ones that get extra discussion by the jury. Not one like Renee’s. Do you actually think a jury will reject her if they like her work but she has a couple too many pieces hanging in an otherwise nicely setup and technically well done booth shot?
I also stand behind the statement that the vast majority of festivals (I didn’t say all) are not going to insist that your booth look exactly like the booth image. Very simliar? Of course. Showing the same product as you juried in with? Obviously. Not cluttered with too many browse bins, etc.? Yes. But for an artist just starting out who will most likely be applying to mostly local/regional type shows, Renee’s booth image as posted is absolutely fine to use for her first applications.
Renee asked for advice and she should be told everything that an experienced exhibitor should know. What she does with the information is up to her and how much time she wants to invest in her first booth. Sure she can go with what she has. but she needs to know what she's competing against. One of the most common uses of the booth picture is to break a tie in the jury room.
Now consider this. Outside of jewelry, photography is the next most common medium. And unless the subject matter is 100% original concept, everything about the presentation needs to be absolutely the best it can be.
There's no argument from me over the importance of the booth shot. I've shot many of them for fellow artists. And I agree that a photographer's booth image needs to be technically perfect. After all if one is presenting themselves as a professional level photographer a quality booth image should be a given.
The discussion is really over the booth setup which is subjective and my opinion of Renee's is that it's fine to use to begin applying to shows and she can tweak it as she goes along. Didn't really mean to infer anything more than that.
Not being flippant at all. Just trying to get the point across that Renee's booth image is - compared to many, maybe most, booth shots that I've seen as a juror and booth photographer - good enough to start applying to shows and that she doesn't need to get too obsessive over minor details. She's just starting out and has plenty of other things to worry about. I'd be making sure that the images I submit as examples of my artwork are the very best that I can do. That's more important than minor booth shot details. (Note that I said minor.)
I did say that I thought she should show a browse bin in her shot if she plans on having one or two in her booth.
Everybody - thank you, thank you, thank you for spending so much time and energy helping me with this stage of my art career! I have learned more from this comment thread than by reading everything else I could find combined! It has been a tremendous help and is greatly appreciated. You all have also been very encouraging, so thank you for that as well.
I do have one final question. Why are canvas wraps a tough sell? Why do certain shows not allow giclees? I decided to go with them purely from a consumer standpoint. I like them. I asked my friends and family. They like them. We would go to shows and all we saw were framed images, so when we did see gallery wraps they looked different and stood out. So I opted for gallery wraps and metal prints (also, so they would stand out), and now I'm guessing metal prints will be a tough sell as well. I researched for weeks to find the best lab in America. Mine are not "groupon specials". I paid a small fortune for the best quality I could find. And now I find out they're a tough sale... *groan*.
But, I do want to hear what I need to hear. So what's wrong with them? Will I eventually need to sell framed prints in order to be successful, in your estimation?
ps -Jim - I couldn't get that link to work and I couldn't find the info by googling. Can you lead me in the right direction?