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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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  #16  
Old 12th December 2011
PaulE PaulE is offline
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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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  #17  
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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  #18  
Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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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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  #20  
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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  #21  
Old 12th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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Originally Posted by StephenL View Post

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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  #22  
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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  #23  
Old 14th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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/art...&Akey=GHYBG5S9

I decided to focus on Local People; Local places; Trees and Flowers for cards and Pets !
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  #24  
Old 14th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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

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
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  #26  
Old 14th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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

I agree with Barr1e, please tell us when and where and I'll try and come to visit your exhibition too.
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  #28  
Old 14th December 2011
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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!
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  #29  
Old 14th December 2011
Andrew Riddell Andrew Riddell is offline
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

John, if it's in Dunmow, outsiders might like parking guidance!

Andrew
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Old 15th December 2011
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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Re: My Last Craft Fair

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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.
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