Before diving head first into the world of art shows, there are several important things to take into consideration. I personally know of several photographers who have made substantial profits from three of four of these shows a year. However, I also know a few who haven’t had such luck and haven’t made a cent from them.
While there are plenty of reasons for both scenarios (which we can delve into more extensively at another time), let’s discuss how careful preparation can go a long way in ensuring a successful art show.
Choosing an Art Show
It is vital that you select an art show where guests that have an interest in your work will be present so that the show will be profitable for you. According to this article from Shutterbug, “We recommend that you only apply to juried art fairs, as this audience is more likely to be interested in purchasing original signed photographs.” They go on to explain that although you can gain experience from smaller, local shows, the big bucks and the serious buyers are more likely to attend the larger, national shows.
Selling at an Art Show
In this article by Youssef Ismail, he reviews the various steps to take that can lead to a successful art show for a photographer.
Ismail mentions that one of the most important things you can do is assemble a collection of photos. Assembling a set of photos prior to an art show makes for a cohesive presentation that is more enticing to viewers and customers.
Aim for somewhere around 12-15 photos, which should all share a common theme. The theme could be a certain location, such as a beach or a park, or a certain subject, like butterflies or bodies of water.
The dimensions of your photos should be no less than 16×20, and they should be matted and framed. Due to the style and decor variation in customers’ homes, try to keep the matting style as neutral as possible. The framing should also be simplistic and neutral so that the customer’s attention can be primarily focused on the photos themselves.
It’s also important to find a trustworthy, quality place to print your photos. Artisan HD is always available to print your photos for you, just like we did for Stan Rose.
Another step to take to ensure a successful show is to make sure you are practicing your business legally. You must make sure you acquire a business license and/or a seller’s permit. Make sure that you are following all laws and regulations so that your show runs smoothly and no trouble arises.
During the Show
During the show, it is important to look presentable and be a good salesman. Be attentive to guests, and let them know that you are there to assist them in any way possible and to answer whatever questions they may have. It is important to not be overbearing or annoying to guests, but sometimes they may need a little encouragement to purchase something. When guests appear to be interested and it seems reasonable, try to sense the right time to do so.
After the Show
The end of your art show is not the end of the road. Your efforts should continue following the show in order to continue your success. In this article by Renee Phillips, she explains how you should always express your gratitude to both your customers as well as the organizer of the show. This is a great way to ensure repeat customers. Another way to find continuing success is to show off pictures from your show on social media. Next, you should begin taking notes from this show and planning for the next.
An art show, if approached and executed correctly, can be of great financial profit. To ensure this kind of success, there are many guidelines, tips, and tricks to follow. This process can be overwhelming to say the least, but keep these pointers we’ve covered today in mind and we know you’ll hit it out of the park!
Updated January 2020