Selling photos at fairs

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Amber, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    For a wine tasting festival that goes noon to 6 PM Saturday and Sunday and gets over 14,000 people on sunny weekends (but many of them likely just taste wines and listen to the bands rather than shop), how much stock do people recommend bringing if you have about 40 images for customers to select from and are letting them pick the color mat wanted for each photo for the photographer to sign and mat on the spot (and the mat color choices are black, dark blue, light blue, green, red, white, cream, wine, and a parchment and gold combo)? There will be one matted sample of each photo that won't be sold so that orders can be taken if stock runs out, and there will be two books with an 8 x 10 of each image for people to flip through in addition to the matted samples. We can do a proportion based on how individual sales have gone to date, but need a guess as to how many photos total are likely to sell. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance for any tips you can give.
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think you are going to have the best answer to that based on past experience. Markets vary widely depending upon where you live. I've never done a fair myself. I don't have enough images that I think would sell to make it worth while.
     
  3. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's all a sort of weird situation. Our son took photos during a study abroad last summer with the Honors College with no intention of ever selling the images. Around Thanksgiving, he decided to sell photos to try to raise money to study abroad again this summer (he's 12 and not eligible for Rotary scholarships or many other scholarships due to his being under 18 ). In just 9 days of selling them very part-time on campus, he sold over 100 photos (at $20 each). I figured it was just because it was around Christmas and people were feeling generous and desperate for gifts or something, but he has had no trouble selling them even after Christmas, and to total strangers who don't even know he's in college young or doing it to raise money to study abroad. He's had a number of repeat customers (some even who bought 5 on their first purchase). He only had 43 images for people to select from online and so far he's sold 35 I think (one has sold 35 or more copies alone). It's not like his photos are anything I think people would oooh or ahhh over for the most part, yet they have sold pretty easily, so we just have no idea how many he should bring to this festival (which he was barely old enough to even be a vendor as vendors aren't even allowed to bring their own children if they are under 12).

    We were sort of surprised when he got the invitation to be a vendor for this festival (which has been around longer than he has, or close to it), and hope he doesn't lose money on trying the fair route of sales when his other methods (like showing them at doctor's waiting rooms, for example) have cost him nothing.
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Yeah, renting a booth was a big factor for me. I didn't want to take the financial risk.

    Do you have a link to his work? I'd like to see it.
     
  5. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Virginia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Very interesting story. :0) Ive thougth about goign around trying to sell my prints to local businesses but havent gathered the courage up yet. :0) How did he show his prints that he was offering to the doctors offices and other places? Just print each out as an 8X10 and put it in a binder and let people flip through it and order what they like, or 4X6's,etc?

    How did he sell them on campus? Open up a lemonaid type stand but with photo's? hehe.

    If I was doing the fair I would keep limited # of prints of each print and take orders once the last one was taken, cept for the one to show people. :0). Then again it seems like he woudlnt have trouble selling the left overs around town once again? :0)
     
  6. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    It helps to be outgoing in business. Our son started raising money for MS at age 5 (was the top fundraiser in the state all three years he did the MS read-a-thon) and it was very easy for him as he's always been a mingler.

    As far as courage goes, just try to think positive - that people WILL help you out, like your work, etc., and realize that if they don't, it's far from the end of the world. It helps if you have an external cause as then you will feel more like you are helping others than yourself (which I think can make you feel better about selling), and you can make one by simply donating part of your profits to a charity like the American Cancer Society, and that way people aren't just helping you when they buy, but others. Our son has a cause of sorts as every penny he makes right now is going toward his studying abroad (the program is one that visits over a dozen countries and will cost over $15K, so he's really just working to offset his father's retirement being pushed back). He's never mentioned the sales going toward any other charity, but actually did include in his "expenses" recently donating $200 retail worth of framed photos to a silent auction at an American Cancer Society event.

    When our son was 5 and a woman thought he was an adult telemarketer (his little "speech" he came up with off the top of his head really did sound like some pro had written it, right down to his not asking IF they would like to sponsor him, but for HOW MUCH they would like to sponsor him, which blew my mind), she hung up on him. My son immediately called her back and said, "I'm sorry. I don't think you understood me a few moments ago. I am your friend Amber's son David and I am trying to help a worthy cause. Certainly you want to help people with MS, right?" He wasn't doing this to be the top fundraiser (he had no idea there even was such a label or any prizes for the kids), but because he genuinely felt EVERYONE should help people who need help.

    So if you are having trouble helping yourself, work to help others at the same time. Give 10% of your profits to charity and let it be known that you are doing so. It's a good idea for people to do this anyway, really. Remember, that is of PROFITS and not sales. 10% of sales could hurt your likelihood of being able to stay in business depending on how much profit you are making.

    At doctor's offices, he never bothered to ask permission to show his photos, though I suggested he do that; he felt that there was no "No Solicitation" sign on the office door gave him clearance and he could just pack up easily if asked to do so. When I had a mammogram appointment, the waiting room was sort of oddly (and ideally) set up in that it had a long row of chairs and then a square missing one side set up of chairs off to the end of the room and that area had not one person in it when we arrived, so he set up his photos (8 X 10 in mats) one per chair around that section of the room and people would notice the "art show" and come browse. Truly, doctors should love such a set up if they have the room as it gives patients something to do besides read (so long as the patients aren't being rudely pushed into buying, and our son just sat in a chair and answered questions). He got a sale in just the 10 minutes it took me to have my mammogram.

    On campus, he started out going door to door with professors he had over the years (which was quite a few since he is a senior) and students he knew (he got permission to show them at his SGA meeting and in some classes by putting them on the blackboard for the start of the class...one CS professor even gave the first ten minutes of class time for those with computers to look at David's website online!). Then, he started taking over these tables used by clubs and organizations at the student union after they left for the day, but it turned out a student union worker thought that wasn't "legal" as people had to reserve those tables (as it turned out, it's fine to use them if they are empty, but this man didn't know it and at the time, we hadn't checked and just felt that would be the case) and if you weren't a club or organization (we didn't feel David either; though he belonged to plenty of them, he wasn't raising money for those), you had to pay $150 to rent a table for the day. This was actually kind of funny as word got around that we weren't allowed to sell in the student union and a student found me in the eatery and said, "I've got money and am ready to buy on the black market now!" Anyway, a VP who wanted to do an exhibit of our son's work at the student union heard of our problem with being told we'd have to pay $150/day to have one and *immediately* (yes, the instant he heard) walked to the place where tables are reserved and saw to it that David would be allowed to sell his photos. Since he was doing it to further his studies, it really wasn't so tough to get approved after all. Not sure what will happen in fall as he continues to sell them then and won't be doing it for study abroad costs anymore. But yeah, in the end, the lemonade stand concept is what happened.

    He also sent out a flier with our holiday cards, and got a number of out of state orders from doing that.

    "If I was doing the fair I would keep limited # of prints of each print and take orders once the last one was taken, cept for the one to show people. :0)."

    As I wrote, that is our plan, but it would be nice not to run out of what they can take with them on day one. Then again, it would be nice not to be left with lots of extra photos on day two. So we are trying to order the right number of photos to neither be out of stock on day one nor overstocked on photos on day two.

    "Then again it seems like he woudlnt have trouble selling the left overs around town once again? :0)"

    The deal is that these are all France shots, and days after the fair, he'll be going to Italy, Alaska, Russia, Japan, etc. and hopes to being showing shots from those places when he returns, so I am not sure how well the France shots will continue to sell. It's no problem if we have as many as 5 copies of each photo left over as we plan to make a book of the photos for our son to have, my parents and my husband's parents to have, my husband and I to have, and his mentor who gave him the camera for his 11th birthday to have. It's having more than 5 left over at the end of the fair that I'm hoping not to have happen.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Wow...

    Man, I need this guy as my agent. I have a feeling he could sell snow to an Eskimo.

    He's got something that many of us struggle with: the ability to just put yourself out there. You mentioned that you thought his work was nice, but not outstanding. Well, this is why it's selling. Quality is actually secondary to charisma when dealing with the customer directly. If it's hanging on the wall in a gallery, it's all about the print, but if you can shmooze with the buyer and are good at it, it will have a huge impact. That's something I've always struggled with, but now I'm feeling a inspired to put myself out there a more.

    I know we haven't been able to help out much in choosing what to do with the show, but I want to thank you for sharing his story. Way cool.
     
  8. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    > Man, I need this guy as my agent. I have a feeling he could sell snow to an Eskimo.

    His dentist who takes underwater shots that he has on the walls in the waiting room tried to get David to sell his own photos (for a commission), but David didn't go for it. But he's gotten the "sell snow to Eskimos" line before, yes. He won first place in a statewide business plan competition for undergraduate and graduate students when he was 10 years old, so he definitely talks a good talk.

    > Quality is actually secondary to charisma when dealing with the customer directly. If it's hanging on the wall in a gallery, it's all about the print, but if you can shmooze with the buyer and are good at it, it will have a huge impact.

    True, but the odd thing is his photos have even sold to people he's never met. Like a woman I've never met but know from a parenting board saw our son's site and bought five photos. Another woman from the same parenting board had planned to buy more than that, but then she and her husband hit some serious marital problems and her ordering got put to the side, understandably. And when I sometimes have gone without our son to mail his photos, the postal workers have asked for his website and some French teacher behind me in line came back to me after she was serviced and asked for the website. So many people for whatever reasons really do just seem to like his photos. One even paid $60 just to have three 4 X 6 prints (which cost our son all of $1.50) as she saw the photos online and said "they spoke to her." They don't like speak to most photographers, but they seem to speak to the regular public. And another interesting thing I noticed was how one shot in particular "speaks" to African Americans as almost every one of them buys this print (sometimes they might buy 6 prints, but this will usually still be in the mix). And Asians can't stand France photos for the most part as our son's university has a large Asian population and very few have bought his photos. Will be interesting to see if his shots taken in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan - countries on the tentative itinerary - sell better on campus in fall.

    > That's something I've always struggled with, but now I'm feeling a inspired to put myself out there a more.

    Good! And good luck!

    > I know we haven't been able to help out much in choosing what to do with the show, but I want to thank you for sharing his story. Way cool.

    So glad our son's story could be an inspiration for you! Over the years, he's had lots of reporters want to interview him to be an inspiration for other kids, and we've always been against it unless it had to do with volunteer work (which we did allow a radio interview for) as we don't feel most kids can do well in college quite so young (younger than the norm, yes, but not quite so young as our son started) and so don't feel it would be appropriate for parents to use our son as some sort of academic role model (especially since our son doesn't even work very hard - takes no notes in classes, often doesn't even read the textbooks, etc.). But I'm glad he can be a role model for "getting out there" with selling photos for other photographers. :)
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Wow. Nice!

    Now see, I have to really respect that. He obviously came up aces in the genes department as far as intelligence goes, but that's not all he's gotten from you. A lot of parents would be milking this for all it's worth, basking in the attention and trying to live their lives through him. I doff my hat to you both.
     
  10. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's another question:

    Just prior to our son starting to sell his photos, he said his goal was 100 photos sold/$2000 in sales. I sort of chuckled (you've seen his photos, Marc, so you know why) and said, "Yeah, right. You do that and I'll let that Washington Post woman interview you." There's this journalist who interviewed Haley Joel Osment and has been wanting to interview David. I explained that I saw no reason for him to be in the press - that if he had a movie, book, invention, or whatever to plug, then I could understand him being in the press, but not just for being a young kid in college or winning contests (and we've let him enter rather few of those as we don't like competitions and awards/rewards and the like in general). She has emailed from time to time asking if David was selling anything yet, but hasn't emailed in the last few months, which I've considered a blessing.

    But our son has been asking why I am not coming through on my promise, and while I explained that I made the promise without really giving it proper thought (same way he got to go to college early, but that's another long story), and had since reconsidered and didn't feel comfortable about his being in the paper for his photos. Now with his doing the fair, though, I half think it would be a reasonable story that could help his business, and as our son gets older, I don't have quite as much paranoia about some weirdo reading about him in the paper and following him around (though maybe I should as that happened with a 15 year old college kid we know locally). or worse.

    So do you think we should allow that woman to interview him if she still wants? The whole media thing has been one of the big drawbacks to having a kid who attracts media attention in what he does, especially as our son has always loved people knowing who he is and his parents have never liked strangers knowing him or us. At age 8, he was on a White House/Smithsonian Millennium Celebration panel demonstating a Lego Mindstorms invention and another panel giving his ideas for science and technology for the next millennium, and we signed this contract about how any events could be covered on TV as my husband thought surely that only applied to big acts related to the event like the New Year's Eve show on the mall and he didn't want us making a fuss by crossing out lines we were uncomfortable with. The very day we were to leave for D.C., we learned that both panels would be C-SPAN live. I nearly died, but comforted myself by thinking, "Who the heck will be turning into *C-SPAN* on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day anyway?" But about 8 months later, some stranger in a pizza place asked my son, "Hey, I remember you. You were demonstrating an invention on C-SPAN awhile back, weren't you? Isn't your name (and he gave the FULL NAME!)?" I nearly fainted and was so glad we never let our son do Oprah or some big time TV stint.

    But the media decisions are ones we will never know if we were right about turning down (or for the few we've allowed, accepting). I remember when our son first met the scholarship woman on campus and she was saying that if we accepted a scholarship, it meant we'd have to sign something saying they could use his name all they wanted in the media (which it turned out wasn't true, but that's another long story still), and I explained that I was completely uncomfortable with that - just seemed very unethical to me. My son asked why I was so against his being in the media, and I explained to him for the umpteenth time (for a quick learner, he refuses to learn on this count) that allowing the media into your life is just opening up a can of worms. Without blinking an eye, the kid said, "But, Mom, you know what happens when you open a can of worms, don't you? You catch fish! Think of all the opportunities I could have if you just let me be in the media!" At the time, the kid had more opportunities than he knew what to do with, but that has changed over the years (in part due to another early to college kid having a mother who falsified his IQ and SAT scores and drove the kid to a mental breakdown at age 8, but that is yet another long story, but the story on that kid ran on the same page as a the write up for a conference our son was to be a presenter the following year and his offer was rescinded). One kid has parents who really market him (he was getting $7-10K per talk and doing several talks a month if not a week at age 10 or so) and it *has* paid off in some major ways (Nobel Prize nominations at ages 12 and 13, $300K graduate school scholarship even when the kid had under a 3.5 GPA from a second tier college, etc.), so I wonder if my husband and I are doing our son a disservice in keeping him out of the media as much as we can. We don't want him to have nuts who read about him out to get him (as has happened with the Nobel Prize nomination kid, but the college provided him a security guard!) nor for his life to be tough with total strangers expecting fantastic things from him (though this happens even without his being in the press) nor his privacy to be lost, but we also don't want to deprive him of opportunities.

    Very tough call and if anyone has feedback on whether we should allow him to be interviewed over his photography business or not, I'd be happy to get the input.

    And as for the parents having their children in the media to stroke their own egos, it makes little sense to me as whatever the kids are doing is *the kid's* achievement not the parents (at least with us, it's the case; I taught our son to tie his shoe, but he taught himself most everything else prior to college, and I don't think a few minutes spent teaching a kid to tie a shoe should count for much, frankly). And honestly, the contrast is hard to deal with as before our son came into lives, I never had to deal with people thinking *I* must be super smart (or at least, I had less of this as it came mostly from things like my parents and brother being smart, and people don't ask, "Oh, did your brother get his intellect from you?"), and it's somewhat embarrassing when people ask, "Did he learn to play the piano from you?" when all you can play is chopsticks or "Did he get his eye for photography from you?" when you've hardly ever taken a shot that didn't have people in it as a memory of some vacation or the like. Heck, I can't even swim - he picked that up when at the pool at camp. And I had a real issue for years with how quickly people started identifying me as "David's mother" instead of using my own name (heck, I still have it a bit!). My son and I are link ying and yang - I am the bum with no talent but who is nonetheless a happy soul and he is the one who achieves without much trying who is happy nonetheless (as most believe you can't be happy if you aren't working hard to achieve, my son is also a bit different from the norm).

    Sorry these posts are so long!
     
  11. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    25,290
    Likes Received:
    2,078
    Location:
    In the mental ward of this forum
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    My eyes have already glazed over, Amber! :wink: But you have every right to be proud, he sounds like an extraordinary young man. My guess is it won't matter much what he charges - just start low, then go higher the more attention he draws. He seems gifted in all the right ways, so he's already well ahead of the game.

    Good luck!! Be sure to tell us how it goes. :D
     
  12. Amber

    Amber TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I apologize for not getting back to you, Terri, till now about how the May festival went. Our son made his investment back (which was more than some of the photographers there, including a guy next to us who has an MFA and has been selling his photos for decades, I think he said), but not much beyond that. I think his largest sale from any single customer was only five prints where on campus, he sold ten to a first semester grad student on Wednesday (and he doesn't have to pay anything for a table on campus so long as he is still a student there). All the same, it is a fun atmosphere (reminded us a bit of camping) and since we've already bought the tent, if our son ever wants to do a fair again, we'd be happy to help him out there (as he's still too young to drive and the setting up of the tent goes easier with a few people rather than one).
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
+venice+square sitting statues
,
sell photos at fairs
,

selling photos at fairs

,
selling study abroad photos online