My first gallery reception. Please help!


TPF Noob!
Dec 1, 2008
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San Francisco Bay, CA
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Hey Photo Friends!

So, I'm looking to hold a reception showcasing my displayed photography at Essanay Cafe in Fremont, CA... I have 8 framed 18x24 pieces and 11 framed 11x14 pieces on display...

Probably the weekend of Sept 18-19 for a few hours one of those days... Any ideas on what to have and do for a reception?

I don't have a huge budget, maybe $100-200. I figure I'd provide some snacks and perhaps some wine, and then just have my work on display and be selling matted prints. Anything else people want they could order from the cafe. Thoughts? Ideally the goal is to get my name out there more and sell some prints. Thanks.

Congratulations on the show. No clue what to offer in the way of advice, though. Just had to say congrats.
Congrats. You're definitely working at helping your photo sales and for that :thumbup:

Now, a cafe is not a gallery unless there is something about the CA art scene I don't understand. Which is very possible, lol. What I mean is don't spend a fortune, it's not worth it. Most US galleries I've shown in had (cheesy) wine and cheese at their opening. Nobody's there so they can write home about the food and booze.

And since you're in a cafe, they have all the food and booze anyone needs. So why don't you come up with something totally different?

How about a smile booth? That could bring in some money but then, you don't get to talk with people...

Or some sort of off beat "party favor" kind of thing? Like find a big lot of something somehow related to your kind of photos on e-bay that you just give away. If there's any way to put your name on it/them, even better.

Cheers. And hope you sell everything...
Some fun marketing materials with your information...
Mugs with your logo and a stick of instant Starbux & sugar...
I don't have a huge budget, maybe $100-200. I figure I'd provide some snacks and perhaps some wine, and then just have my work on display and be selling matted prints. Anything else people want they could order from the cafe. Thoughts?

The biggest question you should ask yourself is what you expect in terms of attendance and how you can treat everyone but still remain within your budget.

If you expect 25 or less people, go with some turkey croissants from Costco (or similar) as well as a few bottles of semi-decent wine, some juice, soda, and water.

If you expect 50 or more people on the other hand, you may be better off with some cookies, some bulk wine, soda, and water.

Remember to print enough order forms. Just bring a few prints and ALWAYS keep at least one as a sample and take orders.

Aside from that, talk to a lot of people and be friendly and approachable. This whole thing may seem intimidating at first, but shows most often run themselves.
Have you consulted the cafe management on how they'd like this to be handled? Perhaps they have some ideas on how outside food/wine has to be handled; in many states with liquor control commissions, serving outside wine or beer or alcohol of any kind requires a licensed bar tender to dispense...if the cafe has a liquor license, perhaps they could handle that for you, saving you money and keeping them and you from running afoul of the local laws WRT to alcoholic beverages.

And congratulations of the show! Awesome for you man!
I say "KISS"
Keep it SO simple
its at a Cafe ,,, maybe do hand dipped starwberrys ( do this yourself it saves money) or maybe some madlines and if your allowed a wine something light
then maybe make some wine charms out of you buisness cards just cut them down a bit and attach the ring

Hope all goes well let us know !

Congrats !
ohh awesome I live in san jose. I'm new to the forum but I just checked your website and I love a lot of your work. If I'm free I'll probably come stop by! I really love your Mossbrae Falls and Mossy delight photo!!
I live close by and if it's in the morning/afternoonish I can stop by and show support.

I would suggest talking to management to see if you can work out a deal. Like buy your photography and get a gift certificate or discount at the cafe. It help both you and the cafe. Be genuine and don't push or talk too much. Stay on the side and let people look and appreciate your work. If you see someone who's really interested, starring for more than 30 seconds, they must like it. Come up and greet people often but not continuously one after another since the people next to you heard already. If people ask you question keep it to a minimal and don't go on for hours about it. Speak about your inspiration but keep it short like anything else. Dress well of course but not suit and tie. That's too corny. Just slack, dress shoes and dress shirt no tie or suit. If it is a suit, make sure jacket is dress up but leave shirt 2 button unbuttoned so it's a little casual. If no jacket then sleeve should rolled up and a watch. Make people think you're a professional but also just like them relaxed and chill. It's a cafe, nobody wear suit, ties and the whole nine yard for it even if it's your gallery. Keep it real! Good luck on your show and hope I help.

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