Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I've been in the process of putting together a both for the past month.
I'm looking for suggests from photographers on what types of prints and what sizes you find sell best. I'm currently debating between traditional framed prints, Acrylic prints and canvas.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Think subject matter, composition, quality, presentation.
Obviously that's the first part. I'm not talking about subject matter. I'm more interested in medium type.
As an Artist first. I care about what I stated first. too many are just interested in the broad crowd appeal. It results in lower standards at our shows. If you focus (pun intended) on the aforementioned quality, it will show in your work and result in better sales. I have created in each of the medias you mentioned. Some pieces fit well in certain types of media. All sell if the combination is good.
Here's my work. You be the judge.
Well, you really like and are adept at Photoshop. That is popular and what the common crowd expects. I'm sure none have ever seen Antelope Canyon shots (facetiousness). I'm not going to judge your shots. I'm sure you know what you are doing. What I was trying to bring across is put the effort into a passion for the art. Using your photography skills to produce art that shows your passion. When doing this, find the media that couples with the image to fit the concept, for that particular art piece. It will show in your work and result in good sales. If you just want to know what sells best - what sells the most- what the common consumer will buy---go and look through the local Walmart, Target etc. I know of someone who sells like crazy at shows. He uses photoshop to put a window frame around the staged benches on the beach and many variations on the same. Prints them on canvas as Triptiks. Uses a double booth and probably has a hard time carrying all that weight to the bank, each night. He sells like crazy. So decide, what do you want to achieve? My view...create the best art. Be guided by your passion. Find what shows your work the best. The rest will fall in place.
Well Said Larry!!
Just saw this post. Excellent work, Mike. I know the work that is involved in many of those shots. The Subway and the Yellowstone silhouette are exquisite. Good questions too. As I start to get ready to go to print, I need to know these things as well. I love metal, but it's pricey even though it shows my work the best. I'll look forward to knowing what you decide. Good luck.
Subject matter is not that important. I've always found light is more important than subject. Anything can look great if the light is great.
Images that have impact and subjects that they may have seen before but not in the way you are showing them. Put together a body of work where when passing by your booth, if they see something they like, they will probably like a lot more when they come in a look around.
As an example, this is the body of work I put together a few years ago:
Larry B. I'm sorry to say, that in this instance I disagree with you, completely. Yes, Lighting is extremely important. After all photography is based upon light. However subject matter & composition are of far greater importance if presenting as creative Art work. While an Orchid may look more beautiful when done with different lighting and Antelope Canyon (from where the tour brings you) can be seen differently with different lighting... they have been seen and done ad nauseam. If you want evoke dialogue, discussion and communication... if you want to affect the world as artists have tried over the ages, then select the right combination of subject matter, composition, lighting, technique and presentation. I can think of very little in the world of photography, that was great art, yet was just a use of lighting with a non significant subject matter nor composition. I would agree that without decent lighting nothing will present well. So lighting is of course very important but I would not work to bring about the best exposure and lighting to capture that image of a turd in the grass. For even with the best lighting, it would still be just a turd :-)
I just checked out your work and I am impressed! You have a great eye and your passion is definitely showing in your work. I am also a photographer (35+ years) and you can take this with a grain of salt because this is just my opinion. I see a lot of new photography and art getting away from the traditional glass over the image with mats unless being hung in a museum. With all the great papers, ie: cotton archival canvas and others, once framed and covered with glass/acrylic, something is lost.
I was just walking through a show in Seattle and one landscape photographer was printing Panos and mounting them on fine art canvas/water color style papers and applying a protective spray or roll-on coating to the surface and framing the images without glass. They looked amazing. He made his own frames out of quality woods and they were equally nice. The images were presented more like paintings and the look was very high end. Metal and face mounted acrylic prints are definitely vibrant but make it a challenge to print yourself. (Albeit ready to hang when you get them and can be drop shipped to buyers). However they are very expensive, fragile and I think look too thin.
Consider solving the "thin" problem by adding conventional framing. I think your style has a broad appeal and however you present your work it should sell. It may be wise to have some different price points at Art Fairs. A bin or two of unframed, matted photos would be nice for those who can't step up and write a check for $1200 or more. Picking the right shows is going to be the challenge where there is good traffic and people who can afford your quality. Your work is very nice and I mean that sincerely. Best of luck!
I want to thank you for your sincere and well thought response. That is the sort of information that I was looking for. I like the idea of clear coating the paper without glass. I think that is the route that I'd eventually like to take. I agree about metal print being too thin also. They look pretty nice from the front but need a frame or edging to really stand out. Acrylic is even better but it's very expensive for someone who needs to fill an entire booth and just get their feet on the ground. I'll probably get one or two on acrylic with wooden standout mount so they are not flat on the wall.
Anyway, thanks again for your kind words.
I hope to see you out there!
- Mike Wardynski
You do great work, Mike. Really nice. Love the sand pics - they're very delicate.
(Unless I'm mistaken, your 'Boardwalk Characters' is at the Grand Prismatic, yes? My wife shot our kids on that very walk and we also have it in b/w.)
Anyway, what medium is a tricky one for me. I hate anything behind glass because I think it gets in the way of the photo. Plus - from show to show - traditional glass frames are heavy and prone to break and they have to be cleaned from fingerprints, etc.
When I started, I did mostly the 'behind-glass' and didn't like it for all of the above reasons. I see plenty of photographers out there doing that and their work is great. It's just not for me.
I print mostly on canvas now. They're light, no glare. I like the texture for my work. Your work may differ. I hard mount mine in plein air frames - it's something a little different - and it gives my work a distinctive look.
On the other hand, I had an outside wall recently and as an experiment filled it with metal prints (metal on the outside wall and my canvas on the inside) and customers really responded to the metal. I've been hesitant to have my work on metal because a lot of photographers do. But customers still like them it seems. I don't mix the metal and canvas inside the tent, though, because I want my wall art to look consistent. (I was reminded of how light the metals ones are, though! Wow my back appreciated that.)
I was at Orchard Lake Fine Art show in West Bloomfield, Mi, recently and saw a lot of very talented photographers and at least seven different ways to present: canvas hardmounted, canvas wraps, coated prints in plein air, metal, behind glass, behind old windows (think reclaimed windows), and acrylic (which were oh-so beautiful). And last week I even saw metal prints in frames.
The biggest take-away for me was that each photog was consistent. The best ones - with the best-looking most attractive booths - didn't mix mediums on their wall art. And it gave their booths a more holistic look.
Not sure if that helps but it's what I've seen.
As for sizes - who knows. I went about a month without selling any bin prints matted to 18x24. Then the next show, that was the biggest selling size by a long shot. I haven't figured out sizing yet. I do think it helps - not perfect but it helps - to consider the demographics and your potential customers' homes. Large houses? Lots of apartments? Vacation cottages dominate? It might help you decide what to pack for certain shows. As I'm writing that, though, I think of every time I've tried to predict my customers on sizes and failed. If I take a big piece, someone wants it in a smaller size and if I have it only as a bin print, someone wants it made into a wall-filling triptych. Happens nearly every show. I'd be interested in seeing what you come up with. Post a booth shot. And ... good luck!