Readers have asked about how my recent exhibit went and what I learned. Here is a summary.
- The opening night was well attended. Approximately 200 visitors during the 2 hour window (this was on the high side for this gallery). I kept busy visiting, answering questions and describing my work. I enjoyed that very much.
- On opening night I brought greeting cards and a selection of matted prints in addition to the larger framed exhibit prints. As expected the cards sold the best with matted prints next - no large print sales on the opening night.
- The gift shop at the Arts Center liked the cards and small matted prints and so they put some on display. They still have a stock of the cards and prints on sale there. There have been some sales off and on.
- In the end I sold 5 large (16x24 prints) as a result of the exhibit. Two of the five were the framed exhibit prints. Of those one sold to a friend and the other to a new business owner I had talked to a couple months before (she was going to need wall art for her new business). Three of the prints (print only) were sold to a woman who saw the exhibit while in town and she called me from Philadelphia to order them a couple weeks later (a pleasant surprise).
- I was asked by some regional photo clubs to meet them at the exhibit so I could answer questions. This was another opportunity to get my name out there and get more exposure. I didn’t expect any sales necessarily, but I did bring cards, etc. This went well and talking about the techniques, etc. was fun.
Don’t assume people will just show up at your exhibit. You need to market the event to everyone you know plus some. I did quite a bit but I would do even more. Here is a summary of what I did.
- Printed up 8x5 post cards that were sent directly to my friends, acquaintances, clients, etc.
- Placed 3 x 5 cards (announcing the exhibit) of my own and from the gallery at places I visited, ate, worked, etc. Most small business owners were fine with placing them on the counters, etc.
- Sent out email to the area photography clubs announcing the exhibit, etc. I did this a bit late. One of those obvious things that slipped my mind.
- Prepared a press release and sent that to editors of three of the local papers. I was told to wait until 2 weeks before the exhibit (editors would ignore you until then), but that was bad advice. You should make contact at least four weeks before. If the paper wants to do a story on you and your art the editor needs to get you in the queue for a reporter to interview you.
- This is a great opportunity for potential clients to see your work. The gallery lighting, your nicely framed prints, can all make a strong positive impact. It will look better than just an image on your website and lets the client see the quality of your work and presentation.
- Posted blog entries about the upcoming exhibit and put a notice on my website.
- Mat and frame as professionally as possible. I received several compliments on the quality of the presentation. This all counts. You are not just looking to make money but establish your brand. Even if people don’t buy right then, they need to go away with a strong positive image of you and your work. You never know what opportunity they might bring your way later.
I hope this will answer some questions and be of use to any of you who are planning your own exhibit.
Blog Image: One of my early Floral Fusions (1.3 sec at f16).