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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

I am new to the Artshow world, in fact, 2019 will be my first season. I am in California so the number of shows available is limited compared to other areas of the country. I am a photographer and I think my work would do well in Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. I do know that some shows are better than others depending on your category.

I would love some feedback as to some shows that are good for photographers in the California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington areas. I am looking forward to my first season and I am hoping to choose my shows wisely.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Heide

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Let me help you.

DON'T DO IT!!!

Your medium is photography.

Everybody witha cell phone, thinsk they are a photographer.

They will be in your booth, when you are trying to sell to others, showing you all their "great" shots, on their cell phone.

Questioning, what camera you use? What settings? Where was it taken? What do you print it with? ...

Ok, as an artist photographer, some might think that over the top. But is it?

If I knew someone I cared about, and they asked my advice, I would tell them don't do it.

Ofcourse, I'll continue doing mine, as I love it :-)

Well, now that is some advice, Larry. Thank you for it. But I have made the commitment to myself and I am moving forward. You are very right about everyone with a cell phone. There will always be those, but I have to believe there are still people out there that will buy art that moves them. And that is my hope that someone out there will be drawn to what I have created. And there is only one way to find that out.

With that being said, do you have any advice on the original question? Which shows are good for photographers?

Sorry I don't.  Let me clarify.

I've done shows where other photog did very well and I did lousy.

I've done shows where I did good and other photog did lousy.

It is, in my opinion one of the toughest mediums to sell in the art show circuit.

I'm based, predominantly east coast, however I do travel almost anywhere, in the USA. 

A lot would depend on your subject matter. If it is area specific type photography, you need to look at shows that have clientele interested in that area. If your work is landscape, select shows where that type of landscape is popular. If you shoot street photography, an urban crowd works well. Abstract, contemplative, contemporary - often need a bit more sophisticated clientele. Research the show and see what other photogs have been doing at the show. Then decide, do you want to compete in their field or do you want to be more unique / different? Do they have the winning formula or are they missing the boat?

If you don't want to compete, heavily, during your indoctrination period, avoid shows with a lot of photogs. Areas such as high population urban, tend to have a lot of photogs.

Do you want to be one of the few photogs at the show? If so, little competition but why are there so few other photogs when ours is the second most populated field?

A show might be a better show for your sales but with your price-points will it make up for $1,500 more in expenses?

I say all this not to avoid your questions. Rather to enlighten you to some research that will help you make best judgments.

I just toured a show. Did not setup, just investigated. So much dipping oils etc. Lots of photogs. Lots of buy/sell. Artist photography booths where the reps at the booth were  not even the ones who shot and processed the pieces. I would not go in those shows. Yet one photog said they did very well. All the others said it was not good at all. Barely making booth fee. For me I would not consider that a good show for me.

Look on this site in the Artfair review section. See what reviews and comments people have posted on different shows and pay attention to their MEDIUM. A jeweler doing well does not equate to a photographer doing well. Also check out ArtFairSourcebook.

Personally I like some of the slightly smaller shows that are put on by Art Councils etc. They tend to draw a good selection of people who like good photography.

Good info and along the lines I was thinking so at least I'm on track as far as that goes. I figure it will take me a couple of seasons to figure out the right demographic and shows for me. Thanks for the input Larry.

I’m in total agreement with Larry.  I’ve done photography at arts/crafts shows for nearly  15 years.  I did my last show this weekend.  I saw the writing on the wall about 3 years ago and quit making inventory and worked preparing for this retirement. I might consider having a booth and just charge to look at their phone pics. And provide consulting services and education. Not.  It does not matter how beautiful your photography is. Or technically excellent.  It’s all about their pics, their memories and on demand printing services at every box store for pocket change. Develop a specialized individual style and carry your camera and professional lights.  It’s much easier than carrying a professional show set up and having a ton of work and expensive  booth costs, auto expenses, motels etc. 

I used to see lots of photographers (and made many photog friends) on the road. This weekend there were only 3 others.  One was selling his inventory at cost.  The other was doing her first show proudly bragging on her art degree.  At the end of the show she was obviously less excited.  The other person I don’t know well but I saw he had a single booth this weekend.  He used to have at least 2 if not 3 booths at a show.  

If if you decide to go forward— good luck. But be forewarned. 

I'll give you a few Pacific NW shows that are consistently good that you might want to consider.   The Anacortes Art Festival, Bellevue art festival, Art in the Park, Richland, if you have lower ticket pieces and want big crowds, and the Boise Art Museum show.   All have consistent crowds and good buyers.  

And there are quite a few photographers that do quite well.  Look at the show websites and see who has participated to get an idea of those who are doing the show.

Good luck!

jill neal

 

Thank you Jill. I will look into those.

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