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I'll be doing my first fair in August and I'm not sure how many prints I should bring. The initial cost of building inventory and my booth setup is stressing me out. Here are the details

Wayne County Fair in Belleville Michigan

Attendance = 18,000 to 20,000

I will be the only booth selling photography

I will be sharing the booth with my wife who will be selling homemade greeting cards. We're  basically splitting the booth 75-25

I currently plan to bring:
100 8x10s matted to 11x14 (I have 6 nice frames available)
25 11x14s matted to 16x20 (I have 6 good frames available)
A few hundred 4x6 post cards
Also got a great deal on custom buttons and Keychains, but not sure if they will have photos in them or if my wife will make something to put in them.

I also have a lot of random 5x7s and 8x10s that I'm considering selling unmatted for $5. These photos are all different from my other prints. Not sure if this will look cheap. 

I have no idea if that's enough or too much.
And like many artists I'm not even sure anyone will want to buy my stuff
HERE are the photos I'm trying to narrow down. I'm thinking I should do between 25 and 30 of them. is that still too much variety? Any help in narrowing them down would be helpful.

I normally shoot cosplay stuff, but recently spent 3 months visiting National Parks out west and got a lot of photos people have been pushing me to sell. My website is

Any help you can offer would be wonderful


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Hi, Matt, 

Another photographer here, in my fourth year of doing shows, and still having questions myself! I have found is that variety is good, and there is no hard and fast rule as to what to take and before every show I do the same sort of culling of my inventory. I do take multiple prints of those that I know to be popular, with single prints of others. That being said, your selection has lots of repetition, so I would suggest you do the difficult process (sometimes I resort to eenie, meenie, miney, moe) to choose just one of each subject. For instance, your first five pictures are all of the same thing. Similar with the black bird pictures and some further down. Your website has a much better selection of unique images, so I would suggest looking there for more choices to add to the mix. If you truly have a pair that complement each other well, include both but that would be the exception rather than the rule. Try to make your selection as full of options as possible. Realistically, the bulk of your sales will be in products priced under 30 so give people plenty of options there. 

As to how many to take, decide how you are going to display them (what sort of browse bin you will use) and make sure to have enough to provide two places for prospective purchasers to peruse. Of course you should have some hung up to catch the eye of people walking by, but ultimately you need a browse area as well. As to bringing those smaller ones, they will be fine, but do purchase some greeting card sleeves to package them and perhaps put a small piece of cardboard behind them to keep them from getting smashed once someone purchases them. That also gives them a very finished look without a lot of additional cost.  

Hope this helps. Good luck on your first show and do not be discouraged if your sales are sparse. I have found there is no way to guess which shows are truly going to be successful financially. The first show I did, I sold a whopping $6. But I learned a lot from that experience and in the end, that value was priceless for moving forward in a more profitable way. It is wonderful to have your art out where others can see it and that counts for a lot in my book. Make sure you walk around during the show for a few minutes to see how others are doing and get ideas from their displays, even though you are the only photographer. And go to a few other shows as a customer and see what is happening with other photographers. 

Thanks Susan
I have bags and backing boards for everything except the postcards. I do have 4x6 sleeves so I may package some of the postcards in packs of 5 (I have 20 different postcards to choose from).

For bins I have 2 rectangular wicker baskets that will hold 11x14s perfectly. I also have a larger rectangular storage bin for any unframed 16x20s I bring. It's a nice container on it's own (it's not a rubbermaid type tote), but I think I'm still going to line and cover it with something so it looks nice. I'll have to see how that looks once I have some prints to put in there.

The duplicate photos I fully intend to cut down to one of each. I just don't know which one I want to go with. I'm hoping to get some input from people. 

I'll be sharing the booth with my wife who will be selling homemade greeting cards and sock snowmen. Really it's her booth, but since it is also her first time she doesn't really have enough material to fill a 10'x10' booth, so she suggested I sell my prints as well.

I certainly hope we sell more than $6 worth. We've probably spent at least $1000 building inventory and buying stuff for the booth, and that doesn't even count the crafting supplies my wife already had in her scrapbooking hoard. Fortunately my day job gave me the company's professional booth which they no longer use. Plus I got a great deal on some 7' grids at $5 each to fill in the gaps.

Eventually we'll need a tent too, but the company I work for sells EZ-Up tents so I can get one at a significant discount.

I'm hoping being the only photographer is a good thing and not a bad thing.

Sounds like you have all the basics. The idea of multiple postcards in an bag is good. And as I said, culling those duplicate subjects isn't easy and sometimes you just have to point to one and go with it. I know about that setting up cost, and I try not to think about how much went into that. I can promise the sales do improve! 

I'm from Tucson & my local biz display company sometimes sells used tabletop "spinner Racks" very inexpensively for cards or postcards. They really save space, slow lots of cards & are not too expensive, fact, you might even check out prices of the new ones too!  Good Luck on your show!

So, I'm almost ready for the show.

I ended up getting 37 images done. I got 4 or 5 8x10s of each on metallic paper and they look really nice. I also got at least one 11x14 of each and a couple extras one some of the netter ones.

I'll also have

6 Framed and matted 8x10s

6 Framed and matted 11x14s

3 Framed 12x36 panoramics

2 16 x 20 metal prints
I'm also trying to figure out a way to do a couple 16x20s that are backlit.

I'm going to have a basket filled with buttons, pins and keychains. I got a super good deal on them so I'll probably sell then for a couple bucks each.

For the post cards I think I'm going to give them away with a purchase, like 1 postcard for every $10 you spend. That way I can get rid of them without giving people an excuse to not buy the larger prints.

I got the majority of the prints for 70% to 85% off which was nice. $24 for a 16x20 metal print isn't too bad. Ideally I'd have gotten all metal prints for display, but I'd already spent a lot on frames.

I'm still trying to work out my pricing structure, but this is what I'm looking at right now

Metallic 8x10 w/ Backing Board - $10
Metallic 8x10 w/ 11x14 Matte - $20
Metallic 11x14 w/ 16x20 Matte - $35

Metallic 8x10 w/ 11x!4 Matte + Frame - $50
Metallic 11x14 w/ 16x20 Matte + Frame - $75
Metallic 12x36 + Frame - $100 
Metal 16x20 Print - $190

I'll probably do discounts for buying multiples, because my margins are really good. I am a little worried that those prices are a little high for a county fair, but I often undervalue my work, so I'm keeping that in mind too.



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