Peddling my wares – Selling Photography at Art & Craft Shows Part 2



Star light

In part 1 of this series, I wrote about my experiences creating products to sell at art & craft shows.  I’ll let you in on a secret of mine:  I’m not really sure about whether I will continue selling at these shows.  I have to admit it.  I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  So much so in fact that its interfering with conducting other aspects of my business such as my stock work (creating more images), adding to my galleries here (desperately needed!), and research for an upcoming trip (running out of time).

I’ve been obsessing about the pros & cons, the what ifs and what if nots.  I have been searching forums, asking questions on Etsy, and picking the brains of my fellow photographers on LinkedIn.  Everything seems to come back to the same thing:

If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to make the investment to do it right. 

Or “go big or go home” if you’ll pardon the cliché. 

I showed you my table at the outdoor markets I’ve been doing.  Here are some of the other ways I’ve displayed my work:

Folding door turned display stand

Folding door turned display stand


Table set up at craft show

Table set up at craft show














And then here are some of the booths I’ve seen at shows I’ve attended, either as a vendor or as an attendee.

Booth ideas












I think you get the idea.

So I did a little research into what setting up like THAT would cost me.

I’ve already got

  • a canopy (without the sides) not in the photos above
  • a 6 ft table
  • a 4 ft table
  • table linens (skirt & cloths)
  • color coordinated bins (for storage & display)
  • account with Square (to accept credit cards via my iphone or ipad)
  • banner
  • a pricing strategy & signs
  • product – I wrote about this in part 1.
  • People to help me carry, set up, take down and cheer me on (very important).

I don’t have:

  • Sides for canopy – either mesh or screen.  Screen to match the top   $45.00.  Mesh that can be used to hang prints from would be better

Or the other option with this is something like Propanels.

So you can see that is a great idea, but costly.

There’s also the wire mesh panels.

That would be cool and lighter to carry, but still costly.

  • Other things I’m lacking that I have to consider:
    • High volumes of product.  Some of the photographers I see out there have bins with thousands of matted images.  Yeah, I’ve got some stuff, but would it be enough?  How much more do I need?  How much time and money is that?
    • Entry fees for shows.  This is a huge cost without a guarantee.  Smaller shows can run from as little as $25.00 for a booth to $1000.00 for a booth or more, depending on the show.  Of course it’s assumed that the higher the fee for space, the more volume the show generates regularly.  But “regularly” doesn’t promise anything.  If an outdoor sidewalk art show costs you $125.00 for a 10 x 10 space for a day and it rains the day you are to go, the show is going to draw a lot fewer people than it would on a bright & sunny day.  And in most cases, you can’t sign up for these a few days before the show, when you have an idea what the weather is going to be.  Its months in advance and it’s a gamble.


WLBZ Sidewalk Art show

WLBZ Sidewalk Art show

Travel expenses for art & craft shows can dig into your profit as well.  Do you go to the big show in another state that’s got a good reputation?  Do you realize that you’re going to have to get a hotel room and feed yourself (and whoever is helping you) while you’re there?  You could easily justify this as a business expense but can your business afford it?

I’ll continue with this series as I make decisions about this.  I’ll share my experiences about some other selling and marketing ideas out there such as:


  • Show selection – why some shows are good for photographers and some of my experiences.
  • Other ideas for selling your work – wholesale and consignment arrangements at retail stores.
  • Other ideas for selling your work – some online marketplaces and my experiences with them.

The bottom line – it’s not sustainable if you don’t make any money

4 Responses to “Peddling my wares – Selling Photography at Art & Craft Shows Part 2”

  1. Cecille says:

    Awesome blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

  2. jack28blog says:

    Thanks for any other wonderful post. Where else may anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such information.

    • Celeste says:

      I read a lot of forums and articles on several networks such as Art Business Institute, Pro Nature Photographer, Outdoor Photographer etc. I also have my own form of continuing education: I read everything I can get my hands on about creative busines practices. And – and this is really the best way to learn – I try things out and learn from doing. I hope that passing on what I’ve learned will stir up the same in others and also repay those who’ve done it before me.

  3. […] of the resources available for product creation, such as show packs and cardstock resources.  For Part 2, I listed what I’ve already got invested into this and some things I’ve learned.  Part 3 was […]

Leave a Reply