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New here and hoping to get enough information on set up to hit the Fall Art Fair circuit

Hi everyone,

I'm a photographer, and I have been peeking at Zapplications for about a year now, knowing it would require a significant monetary investment to do this. I travel all over the country for Photography and recently set up a website too (though that also needs work). I've been working on stock agencies as well as dipping my toes into travel writing.

I'm here looking for information on the right kind of set up for one person to do eventually. I would have help in the beginning but not for long. I've been looking at the mesh systems since they are less expensive than the panels-But I love the look of the panels.

It's all overwhelming to be honest, which means I have much to learn. I'm excited to interact with everyone and hopefully jump into this with a lot of insight. Any tips on getting started would be appreciated. I am an LLC and set up with Paypal too.

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Hi Darlene. I think you've come to the right place. To start why don't you do a search up there in the search box for the key words: tents, canopy, booth, panels ... you'll find plenty. Welcome to the art fair biz.

Thank you so much, Connie. I will do that for sure.

I guess one of the first things to consider is the type of transportation you have. Can you even carry the panels in your current vehicle..? 

I love my propanels but I also have a long bed pickup truck with a tall topper/cap on the back so organizing and sliding 12 panels in and out + tent + my photography + everything else is easy.

Many have trailers or the big vans but that involves another vehicle payment, insurance and mtnc if you're not going to use it as your full time daily driver. If you go the trailer route, you'll need to be sure your vehicle's power train can even pull one.

Then... there's the issue of how much effort you want to put into assembling your propanel/tent display? I wouldn't recommend skimping on your tent and weights. You've invested all your time and money into producing your art... You can loose your entire setup and art in just a matter of seconds.

The sturdy tent and professional looking display takes lots of time to set up (especially if you dont have help). The mesh panels are quick to set up and look ok but the Propanels take more time and are much more professional looking especially for photography.   

Sorry... Didnt mean for this to go under Connie's comment... and there's no option to delete it.

Thanks, Karl. I understand, and I know that these are things I will need to determine. I have a pretty beefy SUV (Lexus470), but I haven't done measurements. I am most likely leaning towards the mesh to get started with and see how I do with that. It seems there is nothing in between the Panels and Mesh. I Definitely, appreciate the tip on the tent-I will for sure get something sturdy. Thank you so much for the info. Here in Denver, we have a large art festival on July 5th; I thought that I would go and take pics of various booths and talk to vendors and get some information.

It's a balancing act. I don't want to sign up prematurely without being prepared, then again, I don't want to wait until next spring either.

I am so grateful I found this forum. I think it will help a lot moving forward.

Yeah this is a great place! I'm grateful as well.

Visiting a fair before hand is always a great way to do it. Just be careful taking pics around peoples booths... some artists, especially photographers, are funny about people taking pictures of their stuff. Strike up a conversation first and then ask if they mind. It doesn't bother me but some don't take kindly to people taking pictures.

Yes! For sure. I understand that.

I have a Light Dome canopy, mesh sides, weights, etc if you're interested in a less expensive way to begin.

I'm in the Dallas area and can give you some show pointers as well (I spent 46 years in the business doing art fairs solo.)

There is a significant investment in doing art shows even if you buy a used canopy, propanels, and picture hangers.  You are probably looking at $4000-$5000.  I have seen mesh panels on a windy day and the framed art work is bouncing all over the place.  Make sure your canopy is 8 feet tall and has a front awning. The awning height will only be about 7 feet 6 inches.  Anything less than that will make it hard for tall people with hats to get into your booth.  Make sure your website is excellent before doing shows/.  It is very hard work doing show especially when you hit a series of bad or slow shows.  Visit as many shows you hope to sell at and stick around the booths of other photographer that sell your type of images to see how they do.  Spend the weekend or at least all day at each show.  Volunteer at a local show to get a feel at what it takes to do shows so you can decide if you have what it takes.

Thank you. I’m aware of the investment involved and continue to work on my website- I’m not very good in the website’s been a bit of a challenge but I’m working through it. Thanks for the advice.

Hi Darlene,

Your idea of visiting an art festival and talking to artists is excellent.  Having done Cherry Creek several times I can attest to the fact that this would be a wonderful venue to visit and to interact with artists.  I did this back in the 90's when I first started doing festivals and I gathered a warehouse of information from the artists at the festivals.  I would suggest you walk Cherry Creek early on the second day, a bit before official opening.  By then, artists have set up under control and  most artists are pretty available to chat then before crowds come in.  Best of luck!



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