Art and Craft Shows

This past year with the push from my parents I started participating in Art and Craft Shows. ¬†These events are rough on me, for one I am my worst critic, and I will pick apart my photos until I no longer like them. ¬†I also tend to be by myself so being around that many people is exhausting for me (INFJ Personality Type here). ¬†Then you have the very slow shows that go on for several days and are very boring. ¬†Okay so maybe not for the typical person but I get bored with things very easily if they don’t keep my attention, and I am constantly fixing things and making them straight after people go through. ¬†My OCD kind of kicks in. ¬†Everything needs to be symmetrical for me so if something is off it bothers me. ¬† ¬†Okay so after writing this and reading it maybe I need to get some professional help. ¬†LOL.

Anyways all the shows I have participated in I have been with my mom who is a Christian Children’s Author you can find her blog¬†here shameless plug. ¬† Some shows we have shared a table and some shows we have had our own spots. ¬†We have found that we tend to do better separately as it seems a little overwhelming for the customer to have some many different products on display.

Each show I seem to get more and more items for display. ¬†The first show I participated in I had matted photos and un-matted photos. ¬†The next show I had some smaller photos framed¬†and the next one I had some larger photos framed.¬† Then I ordered blank folded cards with my pictures on them.¬† Then you have show requirements so there are more purchases. ¬†You need to make sure you read the rules before participating. ¬†Some require you have insurance and some don’t. ¬†Others require your tablecloths to go to the floor and not show under the table. ¬†Then you have the items you need to display your photographs. ¬†Some advice on something I have learned is people are more willing to buy the un-matted photographs than they are the matted ones. ¬†So, I now sell the mats separate if they want them. ¬†I am currently also in the process of finding someone to make my frames for me in different styles and colors. ¬†I want to have a setup where the buyer picks their frame, their matt, and the photograph they want.¬†So, with each show the amount of stuff I have grows.¬† I am starting to outgrow my car and I am even considering getting an SUV in the next year to haul everything.

With each show you have basically two types, Juried and Un-Juried. ¬†I haven’t really seen a big difference between the show types. ¬†Although ¬†I can say I do not do well at Vendor Craft shows.¬† The vendors typically outnumber the crafter and artist.¬† If you get to pick your location in the show. ¬†A word of advice, try to stay away from Jewelry. ¬†In the shows where I am next to Jewelry,¬†people will be looking at my photographs and look over (OOOOHHH Shiney) and instantly walk away.

Be prepared to sit there and answer questions and deal with people and different personalities. ¬†People will ask a lot of questions about your photographs. ¬†They want to know the location of the photo, what type of flower, what type of animal, what river is that¬†ect. ¬†Of course, the best one is, “Did you take these?¬†” to which I have to bite my tongue¬†because I sometimes can be quick witted. ¬†LOL. ¬†Also, be prepared to be a little depressed. ¬†Selling photographs is hard especially if you are not well known. ¬†Like I said I am my worst critic and I think if no one is buying them because they are no good. ¬†But if I pay attention to what is going on I hear a lot of “Oh my look at that one isn’t it beautiful!”, “You do great work.”, “Wow did you see that one?”. ¬†Of course, I am thinking if you like it please buy it because to me if they buy it then I know they truly like it. ¬†You will also have those people who say I can take that. ¬†I would like to respond be my guest because you will never be able to reproduce the same photograph. ¬†They are like snowflakes everyone is different. ¬†I have also had people who have come up to me to talk about photography. ¬†I enjoy talking about it but sometimes this can hurt your sales as people tend to block the displays when they are talking. ¬†Then you have the one type of people who block your display as they stand there to talk to a friend they just passed by and really don‚Äôt care about anyone in their surrounding area.¬† I typically sit there and don‚Äôt say anything for one I do not like confrontations, and another I don‚Äôt want to appear rude. ¬† ¬†My best word of advice is to be polite¬†and answer everything you can. ¬†The way you respond to someone sticks in their head when they tell others about you. ¬†Word of mouth can either be constructive or destructive.

Your table display will make or break your show.  Make sure everything is priced (thanks for that tidbit mom), your prices are comparable with your competitions, signs are legible, and your table layout is pleasing but should also draw people in.

Do some research on the shows before signing up. ¬†Talk to people who have been at them and get their impression. ¬†If the shows don’t seem to be what they were the previous years then likely people will stop coming. ¬†If they say the person running the show is disorganized, or rude.¬† That should be another sign that you may not do well.¬† If it is a new show you may want to go ahead and sign up these are hit or miss as sometimes the people planning them do not advertise.¬† Which brings me to another word of advice.¬† Let people know you are going to be at a show.¬† Create online events, share them with friends and family.¬† Share them on local groups in the area that the show will be in.

If you don’t feel you did well at the show talk to the other participants get ideas on what you can do better, or maybe this was not a good show for them either. ¬†Shows go through spurts depending on the economy and weather. ¬†When people are working, they are more willing to pay for things that are not necessities. ¬†When they are not working, they are not going to part with their money. ¬†Weather also affects the shows, if it is raining, cold, or snowy people are not going to come out as they would if it was pretty and sunny.

The best advice that I have been given is to not give up it takes a while to make a name for yourself. ¬†So, don’t quit and keep your head up. ¬†Some advice from me, explore your show see how people are displaying their photographs, and come up with something unique for your own. ¬†Something the others don’t offer.

Have you participated in any Art or Craft shows?  If so, do you have any advice/tips for me?  I am always more than happy for the information.

Shows:

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Becoming a Better Photographer

 

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Beauty in the small things
I will admit I know there are a lot of areas that I can improve on in my photography.  We are all human and therefore can not be perfect at everything.  You leave yourself with no room to grow if you are not willing to constantly learn and improve your skills.  As a photographer, there are many ways that we can improve and learn.  There are classes, groups, online tutorials, and practice.

It never hurts to take classes and learn new techniques or help yourself quit bad techniques.  This coming May I am going to take my first photography class lead by a local photographer.  There are small group classes or even public classes you can sign up for at your local vocational schools or colleges.  If you are not familiar with Camera Settings, composing your shot, or how the cameras function, these would be great classes to take.  Even photographers that have self-taught themselves can find some type of class to help improve what they already know.

Join a photography group locally.  I did not know these even existed until I was doing a Craft show in Buckhannon, WV.  A photographer came up to me and invited me to join their Facebook Group.  Now you might think what good does an online group do.  Well to answer this question, this group not only supports each other online but they meet locally once a month, where they have photography competitions, speakers, and tutorials.  This group also takes weekend trips around the wonderful state of West Virginia, and surround states.  These outings can be very beneficial to photographers as you can get assistance with something you are struggling with.  Sometimes having someone help show you what to do can be what it takes for you to overcome an obstacle you constantly struggle with.  I have found another similar group in another town not too far from me also.  These groups also help you make connections and friends.  Sometimes having someone else who has the same hobby as yours helps make a day trip be that much more fun.  So search Facebook or other social media for groups near you.

Then we have online tutorials and instructional books.  These can come in different forms from written instruction in books, online instructions, or YouTube videos.  You can learn a lot from these especially if you are just beginning.  With these, you get to practice on your own.  For some people, this may be what they are looking for as some people feel if they mess something up while others are around they feel like failures.  Please know that most people do not see you this way.  It is like the stigmatism of being overweight and going to the gym.  Most of the people at the gym are going to be happy for you that you are trying something new, and they know from previous experiences there are failures along the way and will be there to help support you.  They are not looking at you like why are you even here.  I know I struggle with this myself.  I am a perfectionist and if I can not do it right I am my worse critic.  So, until you get familiar and comfortable with photography this may be the way for you to learn and grow in the art, but please know that 95% or higher of all photographers would be more than happy to help you if they can or point you in the right direction to get help.

Most of us if not all of us have heard the saying Practice makes Perfect.  Well in photography this Is very true.  Practicing what you have learned through classes, groups, or online tutorials and books is the only way to improve your skill.  Just because you read it or are taught to do something doesn‚Äôt mean you can just sit by and not practice.  If you don‚Äôt practice what you know you will soon forget or loose that edge you had.  Even if you are practicing inside taking photos of household objects or you go out and explore the world around you.  The more you practice the better you will be.  The better you are the more you can help someone else who is struggling.  Don‚Äôt keep the knowledge to yourself teach others.  If we don‚Äôt teach others the skill will soon be lost.  It is like those recipes your grandmother had in her head.  If she didn‚Äôt take the time to write it down or teach you they are lost forever once she is gone.   You never know the person you help today could go on to be someone famous and you would know that you helped them get there.

What other ways of learning photography do you feel are important to try?

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Practicing B/W Photography
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Practicing Scenery Photography
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Practicing B/W Photography
 

Shoot Local

So, a lot of us see photos from all over the world that we can only dream of ever visiting and taking our own photographs at those destinations.  However, when dreaming and wishing I think we sometimes overlook the beauty that is near us.  Living in the great state of West Virginia there are all kinds of places I can go visit and enjoy the outdoors.  Some of them I visit with Family and Friends others I just enjoy taking a quick trip on my own.  Until you get out there and explore you won‚Äôt know what is at your own doorstep.

Some of the places I love to visit when I go back home to visit my parents are Kumbrabow State Forest and Blackwater Falls State Park.  Both having different scenery although both do have waterfalls.  But I also like taking back roads and just exploring you never know what you might come up on that not many others know about.

While living in Morgantown and Fairmont I have been known to visit Coopers Rock State Forest and Valley Falls State Park.  Just getting out and hiking on my own and getting back to nature and letting all my cares of the world just go away.  I am not too terribly familiar with the areas so I tend not to explore too much.  But I have been getting out of my comfort zone and seeing where I can go.  Thank God for GPS systems, because I am sure I could get myself lost.  But, I have found out too just exploring the streets in town I can get pictures especially of the buildings in this historical old town.

Exploring your area not only helps you find new locations, but can help you learn some of the histories of the area that you are in.  Things that people no longer really talk about or if you are not from that area things you did not learn in school or from growing up in that location.  While it is okay to have dreams, and goals my only word of advice is don‚Äôt miss out on opportunities around you.  You never know one of you most famous or most favorite shot could come from some location near you now and you may never get to take it if you don‚Äôt take a chance and get out there.  Do some research and ask people you know where they like to go.  You never know what hidden gems could be lurking near you.

Tell me what are some of your favorite locations to go and take photographs?

Social Media

It is that time of week again.  However, I am going to apologize this week upfront.  I am not sure how much this blog may make sense as I have a bad head cold and am taking meds. which then make me a little loopy.  So, with that said let’s get to the subject of Social Media.  So, last year I decided to step into the realm of Social Media as I wanted a place to showcase my photographs outside of my personal Facebook page, as I only have co-workers, family, and friends on my page.  So, what do you do when you want things to be a little bit more public?  Well, you start a Facebook page, which I did.  This way I can share Events, Pictures, and News to the people who like my page.   However, there are a slew of other sites you can user for Social Media and I will discuss a couple of them below that I am familiar with.  Social Media can help a photographer by getting their images in front of people they normally would not be able too.  We are only one person and can only be one place at one time.  However, with the help of the internet, our pictures can be everywhere making it easier to sell your photographs if that is what you want to do or to let people see them and enjoy them for free.

Facebook, okay so everyone well almost everyone has a Facebook account (except my dad who sneaks onto my mom’s) and it is a very popular platform.  I created my Facebook page K.D. Gladwell Photography last year.  Now, since I am not well known it has not blown up like I thought it could but I am happy with the 90+ followers some of them are my friends and family but others are new people that I have never meet.  After starting my Facebook page, I found groups that I could join and post my pictures to which helps get your name and face out into the public eye.  I think my proudest moment was when one of the groups updated their cover image with one of my photos I had posted in the group. While  I am still learning the ropes of running my page, the biggest thing I could pass to anyone else is to keep posting on your page and share your images with groups.  No one is going to find out about you unless you put some work into it.

So, blogging to me is another Social Media outlet you can utilize.  For me, it is a way for people to get to know me as a photographer and a person.  I try to make my blogs personal and I hope to connect with my readers.  It is nice to interact with them and meeting new people who can help me on my path of being a better photographer.  One nice thing about WordPress is when I post this blog it automatically posts to my Facebook Page.  However, the opposite is true with WordPress.  My pages on WordPress all have links to my Facebook Page so both tie into each other.

There are many other platforms out there for you to share your photos.  Such as Instagram, which is one program that I am looking at opening an account for my photos.  There are other sites such as Pixels.com which you can host your photographs and people can buy them, but there are also groups and contests within the groups you can participate in with people from all over the world.  Check out my account by clicking here.  You can host for free with a limited number of photos to upload or you can pay a year fee and host unlimited photos.

What Social Media platforms do you use and why?