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Zuiko
11th December 2011, 11:53 PM
I attended my last craft fair today, was not expecting very much and was not disappointed! Takings for the day were 7 against a pitch fee of 15. At least I'm not obligated to attend any more! It was worth a try but it's obviously a business model that doesn't work, at least not with my photographs.

I got the usual compliments about how lovely my pictures are, but I've come to realize that's the equivalent of, when you are a young man, being told by a girl that you're sweet. It meens they're just being polite and you have absolutely no chance of ever going out with them - or selling a photograph!

I just have to decide now what to do with my stock of unused/unwanted cards and mounted prints. I think I'll display them for sale at my exhibition in February, then offer to donate what's left (nearly all of them) to a charity shop. If they don't want them I guess it's the recycling bin!

Sprocketdog23
12th December 2011, 12:17 AM
I'm sorry to hear that it hasn't worked out. Have you thought about selling your work through a craft shop or even local cafe's or art centres. They will take a commission, but thats better than the recycle bin...

Having been down that road myself, in my experience the only way I was able to make more than the craft stall cost was when I adapted my printed work to what people buy at craft fairs. For me it was investing in different printing methods, as like you, cards and prints were always slow sellers. Eventually I started making prints on textiles and craft items and it made a difference. Images that no one bought for months on postcards sold quickly when printed on handkerchiefs, or t-towels, or on bathroom ceramic tiles. All in all though, I only made a fraction more than the costs of fuel, stall and my time. In the end I decided I wasn't selling enough of anything in the craft market arena, so gave it up. I was lucky though, as my other half had opened a craft shop business anyway, so I already had a shop window.

All I can say is, don't give up, there will be other opportunities.

Wreckdiver
12th December 2011, 12:37 AM
At least you tried John, nothing ventured nothing gained as the saying goes. My brother runs his own crafts and models and picture framing business in Scotland and he attends craft fairs regularly. He gets exactly the same response as you did. People are very complimentary and polite but not willing to part with cash.

Steve

Nick Temple-Fry
12th December 2011, 12:43 AM
John

The lesson seems simple, and you only have to slightly modify your approach.

Run Craft Fairs.

That way you can make money from other stallholders - you could even give yourself a 'free' pitch.

Nick

LMGruchy
12th December 2011, 07:24 AM
John, I for one appreciate your candour because I had thoght it wuold be a good way of getting a small income from my photographs. I even had some cards done by Moo because someone told me my home made ones looked amateurish. All very well, but I can't compete with the supermarkets etc on price, not for the cheaper end of the range anyway.

Since I don't live very far from you, and would probably end up at the same craft fairs, you have saved me a lot of time and effort. And investment.

I wondered about party plan.

StephenL
12th December 2011, 07:36 AM
Been there, tried that (back in the 90s - same response).

Now I still print letter cards, but it's for my wife who likes to do a lot of real letter writing. Incidentally, it's difficult to find card stock which is good for colour inkjet photos one side and accepts fountain pen on t'other. I use On-Line Paper, but there is only one affordable paper stock I can find, which is Imajet.

OlyPaul
12th December 2011, 08:03 AM
I'm sorry it did not work out for you John, but at least you tried and can put it down to experience and behind you now.

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 11:18 AM
John

The lesson seems simple, and you only have to slightly modify your approach.

Run Craft Fairs.

That way you can make money from other stallholders - you could even give yourself a 'free' pitch.

Nick

OOh! Novel idea Nick :( and then you get all the moaning, whingy stall holders saying "you did not do enough marketing of the Craft Fair" ... :eek:

John, You were very comitted to your Project - I would have dropped out of the latter bookings - if only to save my ME Time for ME (not sitting at a Craft Fair).

Try Red Bubble - I know three Artists in UK who are making money and even getting Sales in Australia and Hong Kong :)

http://www.redbubble.com/

StephenL and Red Bubble cards are write in, inside :) see discount terms for over 16 cards

LMGruchy
12th December 2011, 11:56 AM
Hevvy, I'm confused... how does that work, then?

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 02:18 PM
HI Lyn look at T&C's ... they pay you a % of the item purchased (all agreed prior to going "up for sale" ...

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 02:44 PM
Linda here is "Base Price List" Artists get their agreed % of THIS eg 20% and its paid each month if its over 100/$100; or if the Artist asks for Payment and pays the $5.00 handling charge.

http://support.redbubble.com/kb/advanced/base-prices

as an example a 5x7 Greeting Card base price is 1.90 so you may get 20% of each one!

a Canvas print large is 66 so 20% is not bad :)

If this does NOT show - it is because you have to be an Artist and logged in !

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 02:49 PM
Its up to YOU you add the % YOU WANT to the Base Price see here
You begin by uploading digital files of your artwork to RedBubble. Each product we offer has a fixed base price which is the amount RedBubble keeps for making and shipping the product to your customer. You can then add a 'mark up' on top of this, which is the part of the price you keep when your artwork sells. Add 3%, 30% or 300% - it's your choice.

Example:
If the base price of a greeting card is $3 and you add a mark up of 50%, your customer will pay $4.50
RedBubble will keep the $3 base price to cover manufacturing and payment processing costs, and you get the 50% mark up (in this case that equals $1.50)
You'll then get paid automatically, once you have accrued the minimum amount.

Uploading your work is only part of the equation. First and foremost the RedBubble community is about encouragement and support. We believe in the power of positive reinforcement. RedBubble is also a place to be inspired, meet like-minded folks, exchange ideas, learn, make friends and more. But the foundation of the community is its supportive and encouraging nature.

:D As more and more Peeps buy Online ... you keep getting more money :eek: ... lots of Peeps buy a selection of 20 cards in a batch purchase :)

OOh and with Google Stats you can get statistics on who and when visit your Art !

StephenL
12th December 2011, 03:00 PM
StephenL and Red Bubble cards are write in, inside :) see discount terms for over 16 cards

Thanks Chevvy, great idea, but I'm looking for blanks for me to print myself. Even using the dearest card stock I can print them for less than Red Bubble cost.

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 03:21 PM
I buy card blanks from Craft Creations
I use three fold with Aperture Cut out "to frame the photo" ! *chr

http://www.craftcreations.com/?gclid=CJL2t6_p_KwCFUUPfAodVUWHSg

StephenL
12th December 2011, 03:35 PM
I buy card blanks from Craft Creations
I use three fold with Aperture Cut out "to frame the photo" ! *chr

http://www.craftcreations.com/?gclid=CJL2t6_p_KwCFUUPfAodVUWHSg

Thanks. I have emailed them to see if they do anything suitable. *chr

PaulE
12th December 2011, 04:05 PM
Sorry to hear it hasn't worked out for you John but I'll bet that the lack of sales has nothing to do with the photos themselves...

A few weeks ago I found myself in Ludlow and there happened to be a craft fair on in the college, with a bit of time to kill I thought I might as well have a look around. It was absolutely heaving with people inside, mainly due to the medieval festival that was on at the castle that day I would think. I picked my way through the crowds trying to get around it as quick as possible as the vast majority of stalls did not appeal to me in the slightest and I was beginning to feel like a sheep being herded around. I then came across a photographer set up in one corner and so I stopped and spent a few mins looking, as I'm sure most of us in here would do. The photos were mainly of the locality and to me seemed much better than the average snapshots. The oldish chap had obviously spent alot of time building his collection and had made the effort to do early mornings etc - in short he knew what he was doing and wasn't a 5minute wonder who had just bought his first SLR and thought he was David Bailey. His prices seemed very reasonable to me - infact I'm not really sure how he would be making any profit on them given the time that had gone into taking, printing, mounting and framing them all but in the 15mins I was looking I didn't see him make one sale - not even one small photo postcard. I would have guessed that at least 100 people, maybe more, had walked past in the time I was there with maybe 1 in 4 actually giving the stall more than a passing glance and of them only a handful actually stopped to have a good look at the photos.

TBH I felt pretty bad for the guy he'd clearly put alot of time, effort and money into it and I would guess with that being the busiest weekend of the year in that town it should have been his best ever chance to reap the reward for his efforts. I eventually left feeling a bit embarrassed that I spent all that time looking but did not buy anything. All the way home I couldn't help but to keep thinking about how similar your experience sounded from your previous posts on the subject John - I guess this same story is repeated at nearly every craft fair in the country...

StephenL
12th December 2011, 04:19 PM
The trouble is, more and more people are owning cameras, even if they are just camera phones, and they ask themselves why should they buy a photo when they could take one themselves.

It matters not a jot that their photo won't be a patch on what they see for sale, it's still "just a photograph".

They key, if there is one, may be as Sprocketdog suggested, making the photographs into something else, be it mugs, scarves, or whatever.

But even then, having visited many craft fairs, few stalls of any sort are rushed off their feet these days. People like to visit, yes, but they don't want to buy. Food is the only commodity which seems to sell!

PaulE
12th December 2011, 04:44 PM
The trouble is, more and more people are owning cameras, even if they are just camera phones, and they ask themselves why should they buy a photo when they could take one themselves.

It matters not a jot that their photo won't be a patch on what they see for sale, it's still "just a photograph".

They key, if there is one, may be as Sprocketdog suggested, making the photographs into something else, be it mugs, scarves, or whatever.

But even then, having visited many craft fairs, few stalls of any sort are rushed off their feet these days. People like to visit, yes, but they don't want to buy. Food is the only commodity which seems to sell!

Yep I think you've hit the nail on the head there Stephen everyone has a camera and very few care or even realise just how bad the photos they take with them are. TBH just a few years ago I would have been the same before I got into photography a bit more seriously I would have seen those same photos in a whole different light, although I would have, even then, recognised that the photos were not just simple snapshots I would still have have gasped at a photo costing 30 or so - roll on a few years and I now realise how much time and effort it takes to take a decent photo in the first place and then there is all the cost of printing, mounting and framing ontop.

I decided very early on not to bother trying to make money from my photos and although I have done quite a bit of commissioned macro / product photography for a few specialist online shops run by friends I've still not really sold one photograph.

I do occaisionally give some away the odd photo to family + friends who have seen those few I do print and ask for a copy and each time I hand them over FOC I get the same sort of reply along the lines of - You should try and sell your photos your bound to make some money.... When you try to explain the time and costs involved they still insist they would sell - John's posts on here and what I saw that day at the craft fair proves otherwise.

Chevvyf1
12th December 2011, 05:24 PM
Yep I think you've hit the nail on the head there Stephen everyone has a camera ... and ... I have done quite a bit of commissioned macro / product photography for a few specialist online shops run by friends I've still not really sold one photograph.

I do occaisionally give some away the odd photo to family + friends who have seen those few I do print and ask for a copy and each time ... .

The photos most people take (from compact or phone cam) have sent me (last Christmas lots) mainly printed on Tesco or Photobox are DARNED AWFUL ! as IF I want their family Mug shots about my house over Christmas - I shredded them :) and next doors Guinea pigs enjoyed the warmth from the cards :)

I no longer give away cards to family or friends - I might add and extra one for FREE.

I have to ask when did a friend or family "give your their work for FREE?" If they did then thats great - but if not - remember ! ... I offer them a pack of 5 or 10 for 's ...

and I cultivate repeat customers in our village and other villages nearby - and it makes "a Pension Contribution" a week - they do come to our door - we have a Trusty box or welcome them if we are in - its worth that :)

Zuiko
12th December 2011, 08:46 PM
Thanks Chevvy, great idea, but I'm looking for blanks for me to print myself. Even using the dearest card stock I can print them for less than Red Bubble cost.

Hi Stephen,

Try www.theinkjetpapergirl.co.uk Their stock is just what I wanted, reasonable quality A5 or A6 pre-scored card blanks at a reasonable price, with envelopes included and cellophane bags available as an optional extra.

My mother loves using them as notelets to write to her friends (she hasn't got a computer and wouldn't have a clue about email) - shame she appears to be the only one in Essex!

I've still got some unused stock, I'll send you a few samples if you're interested - just send me a PM. :)

Zuiko
12th December 2011, 09:00 PM
But even then, having visited many craft fairs, few stalls of any sort are rushed off their feet these days. People like to visit, yes, but they don't want to buy. Food is the only commodity which seems to sell!

That's exactly what I've noticed from what goes on around me at craft fairs. Fancy cup cakes seem particularly in vogue at the moment, shame my baking skills suck!

DerekW
14th December 2011, 11:37 AM
I have only bought 2 photos, 16 by 20 black and white taken on a very large format camera and printed by the photographer who worked with Ansel Adams.

To the innocent they could be by AA. They are of the western landscape in either unique lighting and cloud conditions or from places you cannot easily get too. The printing process is a time consuming process that is dependent on the quality of the enlarging paper (which is not consistent even when given the same name and part number)

I often go the regional Art Fair held in the Bank car park by the Plaza in Santa Fe - at this event you often get two or three photographers showing their wares, printed quite large, in colour, some are reproducible - drive a few hours and you are there, hang around for the right light conditions and take your pictures. I do not see many people buying these pictures. However go around the corner to Andrew Smiths Gallery and you can get an AA printed by AA for a bargain $80000 or more - most expensive I have seen was $160000 that was a few years ago. These pictures do sell as they are collectable and noteworthy as well as being historical.

Another gallery I go to is the Monroe Gallery http://www.monroegallery.com/

Here you see classic and collectable pictures - often taken to support a news story or as part of a photo journalism project. Some of them are the prints that were used to create the plates for use in the Life magazine.

So while I sympathies with your experience it does not surprise me.

Why would a customer want to buy one of your prints, what need in the customer's mind are you satisfying?

Sorry to sound dismissive. and I also apologies for rambling on.

Chevvyf1
14th December 2011, 01:31 PM
Derek, you post very valid questions ! Rather than Railroad here, I have started another Topic "pinching" some of your words ...

You present us with some very interesting Galleries - successful they are !

I liked "Jonny Jetstream" on here - his work ... he said "much of his Art is sold even before he has taken the photographs!" would be my "wall Art"
http://www.johnnyjetstream.com/3/artist.asp?ArtistID=2490&Akey=GHYBG5S9

I decided to focus on Local People; Local places; Trees and Flowers for cards and Pets ! :D

Zuiko
14th December 2011, 06:53 PM
Why would a customer want to buy one of your prints, what need in the customer's mind are you satisfying?

Sorry to sound dismissive. and I also apologies for rambling on.

No need to apologize, Derek, that's a very pertinent question, in fact it's probably the question that holds the key to whether I or anyone else on this forum will ever be successful in selling direct to the public.

The need of my potential customers that I hope I am trying to satisfy is perhaps not so much a need, more a desire, to decorate the walls of their home with what they consider to be a beautiful or striking photograph.

First potential problem is that pictures of any kind, be they photographs or art work, are not a need. They are clearly a luxury and in the present climate of austerity and fears about the future this type of luxury is the first that people tend to sacrifice.

Now that gives me a convenient excuse but the second problem is whether my work would be good enough if there was a demand for this type of product. I think I have a proven track record, having in the past sold scores of pictures to a wide range of magazines. I've had people contact me via the magazines asking to buy a print and I've had an art director from a calendar publisher contact me in this way to request use of a picture. However, the bar has certainly been raised by the advent of affordably digital photography for the masses so past perceptions of my work may no longer hold true. Even if we accept that my work is good enough is it the right type of subject? Do people still want scenic views or do they now prefer animals, something floral, street scenes, etc., or maybe something more impressionistic and contemporary?

Digital photography has certainly had a huge impact. More people than ever before are able to produce competent pictures whereas in the days of transparency film they would have struggled with the narrow exposure latitude, the art of using graduated ND filters and having to work “blind” without the benefit of instant review, histograms, etc. Having work published in magazines is somewhat less lucrative than it used to be purely because so many amateurs are chuffed to see their work in print, regardless of the fee on offer, that the fees have plummeted. Many photographic titles for example now reward contributors with something like a memory card or cheap photo bag rather than hard cash. Some even unashamedly offer the reward of seeing your work in print as the only incentive!

Against this background there must be many hobby photographers of modest ability who regard their work as good enough for their own walls, without the need to resort to buying someone else’s prints, often to the dismay of their long-suffering partners. My disappointing takings at the recent fair included 5 for a 8x6 unframed print which sold while I was taking a loo break. The lady who purchased it told my wife that she was taking it to show her husband “who thinks he is a photographer” what a decent photograph should look like!

The sporadic sale of prints at the fairs does not surprise me as much as the very disappointing sales of greetings cards. I thought they were priced keenly enough to attract a lot more interest than they have and I must put that down to miscalculation and insufficient research on my part.

My exhibition is due to start in about 6 weeks and it should be a better environment to display my work, mounted, framed and hung on the wall. The challenge of course is to make sure a worthwhile number of people are attracted to visit. Sales are a different matter and I already have an excuse if they don’t happen, along the lines of “not only is it a difficult economic environment for selling this type of product, but so soon after Christmas when most people will have overspent makes it all the more unlikely there will be many sales.”

Mind you, the exhibition has never been primarily about making sales; in truth it’s more a matter of self-indulgence, displaying my work to a wider audience. On that basis I can at least partially measure success by the number of people who visit rather than the amount of sales.

However, within the topic of this thread it has to be acknowledged that the craft fairs have been extremely disappointing and others who are tempted to follow the same route should be realistic about their chances of success.

Barr1e
14th December 2011, 09:57 PM
Hi John -

Subject to trips, baby sitting etc I would be pleased to come along to your exhibition with Anne.

I would be pleased if you would give us a nod nearer the time.

Regards. Barr1e

pepper
14th December 2011, 09:58 PM
I visited a lovely exhibition in Chipping Norton a few months ago where a chap from Talkphotography, (I think its the chap who sells a lot of tripods and such like, had taken the gallery in the local theatre to show his lovely silver printed images, they were lovely but I just couldn't see myself hitting the button to buy one.

The local craft fairs around here are very very quiet affairs, I always say that the vendors only end up selling their ware to each other! It's a shame for them, as they've paid for the space and can end up out of pocket on the day. With my own photography, I'm limited to having all my kids and their friends asking for better images to use own on facebook and I'm proud to have a couple of my camera images used as stock photos on camera wiki.

That's the summary of my photo taking affair so far, but my Dad would have been so proud of the fact that I'm actually taking all these images and have finally "got" photography in my own way...

LMGruchy
14th December 2011, 10:47 PM
I agree with Barr1e, please tell us when and where and I'll try and come to visit your exhibition too.

Zuiko
14th December 2011, 10:53 PM
I'll certainly post details of my exhibition nearer the time, being a shameless self-publicist! The good news is that it runs for 3 weeks, which will give everyone a better chance of fitting it in! :D

Andrew Riddell
14th December 2011, 11:16 PM
John, if it's in Dunmow, outsiders might like parking guidance!

Andrew

Zuiko
15th December 2011, 12:24 AM
John, if it's in Dunmow, outsiders might like parking guidance!

Andrew

Good point, Andrew, I'll remember that when I post the full details. :)

Phill D
15th December 2011, 07:14 AM
John can you post the exhibition details well in advance as I'd like to pay you a visit but I will need to combine it with other things.

Zuiko
15th December 2011, 11:52 PM
John can you post the exhibition details well in advance as I'd like to pay you a visit but I will need to combine it with other things.

Blimey, it's a long way from Derbyshire, I'm not surprised you'd need to combine it with something else!

The exhibition will run from 6th to 25th February and will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. I'll be posting more details early in the new year, including directions and parking, but hpoefully these dates will be useful to you now. I hope to be present at the exhibition as much as possible, but that will depend on whether or not I am successful in finding a job in the meantime.

Here's a copy of a couple of posters I will be using to publicize the event:-


http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/GALLERY_POSTER_webb1.jpg


http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/EXHIBITION_POSTER_webb1.jpg

pepper
16th December 2011, 07:32 AM
I used to visit Dunmow a lot as my company had a base in an old mushroom farm, Reg was the chaps name, lovely guy.

It is a little far to go but If I'm free I'll see if I can get down.

StephenL
16th December 2011, 09:59 AM
It looks to be a great exhibition. Pity it's in another country!

Zuiko
16th December 2011, 10:51 AM
It looks to be a great exhibition. Pity it's in another country!

The way things are going I'm starting to wish that England could declare independence from Westminster and become a part of Scotland! *chr

StephenL
16th December 2011, 12:00 PM
The way things are going I'm starting to wish that England could declare independence from Westminster and become a part of Scotland! *chr

But you wouldn't want our "playing at" politicians. :eek:

Zuiko
16th December 2011, 07:32 PM
But you wouldn't want our "playing at" politicians. :eek:

They'd have to be really skillful to be worse than we have already! :D