Lindsay Weber Photography

What to Know When Preparing for a Photography Show

10 September 2013
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It was just a few short months ago that I was fortunate enough to have my photography featured at the “All You Need Is Art” show here in Chicago. This was actually the first time I had ever shown any of my work before. And let me tell you, it felt so great to get my photos framed and up on a wall! There sure is a lot prep work that goes into getting ready for the big day. I learned so much from doing this show, that I wanted to share with you, some of the things I learned and some tips to get yourself ready for your own photography show.

Selecting a Location

One thing to keep in mind is that you can show your photos almost anywhere. All you need is a wall or two right? You just need to do your research and find out the best space that fits for your photography. You can consider showing your work at a local coffee shop, a street festival, the library or at other local businesses. Some things to consider might be: Does the space have adequate lighting where your photographs will be on display? Is there convenient access to parking and/or transportation? Will I be the only photographer displaying my work or will there be multiple photographers? Is there a fee to get into the show?

Choosing a Theme

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This might have been the trickiest part for me when I did my first photography show. Let’s just say I am not the world’s best decision maker to begin with, and to have to go back through years of photos, and try and select a small group of photos that I wanted to display… well, it took some time. I started out by pulling all my favorites aside and without even realizing it, I happened to notice that a theme was forming right before my eyes. I chose a lot of iconic Chicago scenery photos. There are so many things you can consider when choosing a theme such as certain emotions a photo brings, colors, places, the balance among all the photos as a group, etc.

Printing & Framing Your Photos

Once you’ve selected the photographs that you will show you need to decide what sizes you’d like to print and frame. I chose to display three different sizes at my show to add some variety: 8 x 12 (12 x 16 frame), 12 x 18 (18 x 24 frame) and 5 x 7 (8 x 10 frame) . Printing photos can get very expensive but you can save a lot of money by using an online printing service, especially if they are having a sale. Matting and framing your prints can get even more expensive so don’t be afraid to do your research and check out local framing stores and find what truly represents your style.

Get The Word Out

Now, you’re going to need to do a little marketing if you want to get people to come to your show right? You can of course start by inviting family and friends and by using word of mouth. But also make sure to promote your show via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, email blasts, online communities or message boards, your own personal blog or website, etc. If you have any flyers or postcards certainly hand those out to other local businesses as well.

Setting Up & What To Bring The Day Of

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I also wanted to share a few reminders of what you might need to bring for setting up and hanging your photography. A level and a tape measure can go a long way when hanging your photographs! Also don’t forget things like nails, a step stool or ladder, a hammer, photo labels to show prices, glass cleaner etc. Depending on what type of wall you are showing on you might need a specific type of nail such as brick nails. Some things that I brought along to the show the day of were: business cards (enough to hand out as well as some to leave behind), extra prints for sale (unframed), a credit card reader (i.e. Square for people that might not have cash or a check on them), an email sign-up sheet, and an ipad for displaying an additional slideshow of my work.

The day of your show, the most important thing is to have fun and be proud of all you have accomplished. Your main goal should not be to sell a lot of prints that night, because not everyone comes to shows with the intent on buying photography. But the people you will meet and the connections you make are priceless. Photography exhibits are a great way to advertise yourself and network with potential clients.

I couldn’t be happier with how my first show turned out. Once my prints were in their frames they looked so amazing and I was so proud of myself. You can see pics from “The All You Need Is Art” show here and  purchase any of the prints shown at the show here. I will actually be in another show coming up on Sept. 28th called “A Day in Avondale” which is an art walk here in Chicago. I hope to see many of you there! Click here for more details.

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