Friday, March 28, 2008

My Art Show Application Experience: The Booth Photo

Hello everyone! I'm back with more insight on the whole concept of applying to art shows. Previously, I've written about planning, paperwork and jury slides. This time I'd like to share a little on the topic of representing the look of your display to jurors (or judges) through top-quality booth photos.

This happens to be the first year that I've applied to a show that requires a booth shot because a) I don't really have a good one yet and b) it was another requirement that made me nervous and self-eliminate before even applying. But this year, I was determined to face new things head-on and stop being a whimp!

I edited a photo that I took of my booth a few years ago and came up with what you see in this post. A few weeks ago I attended a jury showing and saw hundreds of booth examples. My photo would not be considered the best (by a long shot). It would also not be the worst either.

I met with, Larry Sanders, expert craft photographer and one of the show's judges and asked him what is the purpose of the booth photo and what makes one better than another. He said that the purpose of a booth photo is for the jurors to see:

  1. The scale of the work that is being shown. It is often difficult to know the size of a piece and it could be a determining factor for an artist. This is not the case for jewelry however as the size of the jewelry most often can't be determined.

  2. It shows the jurors that the person applying has more than the 3-6 pieces that are usually required for jury slides. Some artists will make a few nice pieces to get into a show without adequate inventory to sell. This is bad for a show.

  3. It shows the professionalism of the display. In other words, orange crates are not very appreciated these days at shows. Nice display cases, nice shelving, nice walls are always a bonus. Curtains that cover the harsh white walls of a tent are a big help.

  4. It can be a tie-breaker between two or more equally talented artists. Favor would be given to the one with the better looking display.

  5. Some shows will actually give the booth a score that is added to the score for ranking artists.

A Few More Tips from Mama...

  • When taking your own photos, keep people and anything that identifies who you are out of the image. If I knew more about photo editing, I'd have taken the man in the yellow shirt out of my image. Dropping the sides of my tent would have also helped.

  • I recommend using for turning your digital images into slides. They are very cheap, easy and fast!

  • Use a professional if possible. Like I said about jury slides, why take chances when the only representation you have of yourself are a few images. I'll be giving Larry a call when I'm ready for my next one.


SecretMe said...

great tips and lovely work!

Allison said...

Wow, good tips. I would to love to eventually apply for craft shows, so it's good to see the 'inner workings' as far as the applications are concerned.

Kitty said...

Looks like a lot of work!
One really needs to be passionate about her work. And it sounds like you are!

Mimi - Image Beads said...

Again, thank you for your tips! Booth photo is a great idea!

Your booth looks great.

The Hatdiva said...

Booth shots are difficult. Invariably I end up with something out of focus! I'd love to share a photo of my friend Teresa's jewelry booth sometime. Her display is downright incredible! I found your blog from seeing it posted on Etsy, and read it before setting up my own! I learned alot, and identified with much of what you say (agony of applying to shows, etc). At my next show in May I'll snap a pic of Teresa's booth. Her site is (I think).

Linda Blondheim said...

I enjoyed reading your excellent tips. I occasionally judge art festivals and a clean, well organized booth makes a good impression. The other tip I have for festival artists is to speak to every visitor. I always go around the show early in the morning to look at the work before I officially announce myself as a judge. It is a turn off for me to be ignored or treated rudely by artists. I always remmber the ones who are friendly and kind, later when I look at the work.

Linda Blondheim

Karma by Morgan said...

I really love your blog! You are very informative and I bookmarked you...would you mind if I linked you from my blog?

I understand the issue with the booth...I am still trying to make mine the best it can be. I have a lot of inventory but since it is jewelry, I only really need one table. However - it might be easier for people if its spread out. Im still working on it ;)

good luck! you have such beautiful work!

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