I was accepted into the Utah Arts Festival in SLC next month.  This will be my first art show.  I am a landscape photographer.

I really have no idea what kind of buyer to expect/target there.  I've done farmer's markets before and the buyer's there are pretty much exclusively looking for cheap matted prints.  I've never sold or seen a large expensive gallery print sold.

What kind of buyers generally attend art shows, or even this one in particular?  Since my large prints are typically on metal it is expensive to build up a big stock of them (I have no idea if I should bring extras either to replace sold items, if items will be selling off the walls and not just the bins).  Are the buyers at these type of things likely to be some of the gallery crowd that is willing to spend $xxx or even $xxxx on a large gallery print or should I try to keep the stock small and affordable?

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  • Hey Ryan  - I'm also a newbie to shows and Utah Arts Festival will be my 2nd show this year.  I don't know too much about what to expect, but my current reasoning is as follows:

    I expect to sell a much higher quantity of smaller matted prints than I do of my larger aluminum wall hangings.  That said, it is those larger pieces that are going to catch peoples' eye and draw them into the booth in the first place - so I think it is important to have a strong, nicely organized display of the larger high quality pieces just to get people interested.  I don't expect them to sell as well as smaller pieces, but I do expect at least a few of them to sell, so I'm bringing enough to have an initial display with a few replacements for any that sell early.  I'm less concerned with having a "full" inventory toward the end of the show, but since UAF is 4 days with long hours I do want to replace things that sell on the first day so I don't look too sparse to attract customers on days 2-4.  I have additional shows in other areas later in the year, so pieces that don't sell will be available to me for those shows.

    I took a quick peek at your website and you have some quality work from the area that I would guess will be attractive to a lot of visitors.  Regarding pricing and what "regular joes" vs "gallery crowd" will buy at what prices, that's a tricky one and I don't yet have too much real-world experience.  I've done a lot of reading/research and I think IF you are trying to market your work as "fine art photography" then based on what I see on your website I'd say your prices are way too low.  Unless your costs of production are orders of magnitude lower than what seems to be standard, your profit margin at your current prices is very slim and doesn't really account for any of the actual time, expertise, and artistry that goes into your work.  See Alain Briot's article at https://luminous-landscape.com/selling/ for some more information on this - it's a good short article that distills some of the advice from his book Marketing Fine Art Photography, and this concurs pretty well with advice in other books I've read on the subject.

    Anyways, thanks for posting this - I'll be watching this thread with interest to see if someone else responds who has done UAF before. Good luck and perhaps I'll see you there!

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