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Exhibitions, stock photos, professional work This board concentrates on topics that explore the potential of your photography being seen by a wider audience and even earning you some money.

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Old 11th December 2011
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My Last Craft Fair

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!
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  #2  
Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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.
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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Originally Posted by Nick Temple-Fry View Post
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" ...

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
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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Originally Posted by Chevvyf1 View Post


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.
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

I buy card blanks from Craft Creations
I use three fold with Aperture Cut out "to frame the photo" !

http://www.craftcreations.com/?gclid...FUUPfAodVUWHSg
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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Originally Posted by Chevvyf1 View Post
I buy card blanks from Craft Creations
I use three fold with Aperture Cut out "to frame the photo" !

http://www.craftcreations.com/?gclid...FUUPfAodVUWHSg
Thanks. I have emailed them to see if they do anything suitable.
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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...
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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!
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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Originally Posted by StephenL View Post
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.
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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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
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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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!
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Old 14th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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.
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Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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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.
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