Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Applying to Art Fairs

I just found this post that had been wrote but never posted, I decided it was a great post so better late than never :)

While I was in Tucson (2013)with Diane Hawkey I got to watch her jury photos for entrance into an art fair.  It was truly an eye opening experience.  First of all I have to say that deciding on what photos to send in to a jury is painful at best but maybe my experience can help you along your path to getting excepted into better shows.  It's been awhile since I was refused entrance into a show because of my photos or anything else for that matter but my photos could be a whole lot cleaner and my booth photos could be so much nicer with just a few tweaks.  Lets start with my jewelry photos.  These are two that I have often sent in.
Grandmothers Flower Garden

Bell of the Ball
Although these photos are very good they could be better first off almost all the photos I saw that were good didn't have the edges messed with and they had a gradient gray background.  I really liked the look of these photos because they didn't glare white at you from the screen. All of the photos should reflect your work and should go together.  They want to see photos where they could say yes this work all looks like one person makes it.  They don't want to see a sample of each style you offer.

 When the juror pulls up your file what they see is your four photos of jewelry then they click on a link that takes them to your booth photo.  The first thing they look for is does the jewelry fit the booth.  Is the booth clear of clutter.  Are there items cluttering up your photo, you may want to remove them I'm not talking about removing things forever but one of the comments that was made over and over was that a booth looked like it had thrown up it's goods.  Edit your booth for your photo, don't put out everything you own even if you do put it all out at the show.  It should look extremely neat and organized.  I am going to set up my booth when it gets warmer and take a new photo of it editing so that it's clean and crisp.  I tend to over do it and honestly after looking at maybe 100 booth photos I never want to see overdone again.  

Your juror then rates your booth between 0-3, you ask what gets a 0 well many artist sent in photos of more jewelry that is not a booth pic and one person even sent in a photo of their tent all zipped up.  I laughed so hard when I saw it because when you think of it that is a booth photo just not exactly what the juror would prefer to see.  When I started out I was told that a juror wants to see all 3 sides of your tent but this isn't true at all what they really want to see is that your booth represents what you are selling in a clean, fitting way.  Do your table skirts go to the ground, are your shelves over filled.  The other thing that got to be a turn off is the jewelry displays that you can get at Michael's.  Honestly there are so many other better options besides black velvet neck forms, use your imagination it will pay off.  

2012 booth photo
This is my 2012 booth photo, Melissa and I took it on a freezing day in January.  It was before we had truly finished the booth but we needed something to send in and this did the job.  We got into all the shows we applied to but it has been improved a lot since then.  First of all we now have wine colored fitted table cloths.  You may not think this is a big deal but the judges are looking for a clean crisp look and knotting my table cloths is distracting and sloppy looking. I would never take a photo on cement again green grass looks so much more inviting. We also have added wine colored panels to the corners of our booth to carry the color up into more of the booth.  When I take the new photos I will also try to not get the top of the tent it's distracting.  A few of the photos looked like maybe they stood on a ladder to give a better view of their setup.  As far as the table top displays I would work on evening out the weight of them but other than that they aren't to bad I did see better but it really wasn't my style and you truly want to reflect that in this photo because you only get one shot. 


  1. Thanks for that information. Really helpful. Will have to give your ideas a try.

  2. Excellent information! Thanks for sharing. I haven't started the journey that is art shows, but I really appreciate your tips. :)