My first blog post from back in 2008 is titled “How to Sell Photography at Art Festivals“, and it encourages people who are interested in doing art shows to study what other artists are doing.
Sure enough, another photographer has been stopping by my booth over the years to ask questions, and I’ve been happily offering him advice on everything under the sun:
- use a pole tent instead of an EZ-Up
- use Propanels instead of fabric walls
- support the tent with sta-bars, panel hooks, and velcro
- use CFL lights hooked up to a marine deep cycle battery and inverter
Ordinarily, he will snap a few photos of my setup, and I will get the warm fuzzies because I’m glad to be helpful.
His latest visit however went a bit too far, and I didn’t realize it until it was too late.
He started out the conversation with a little pity party of how he couldn’t afford the booth fee for this particular show. We joked about the empty booth spot next to mine, and how he ought to sneak back in with his canopy and cover up my new-found corner booth.
Well, it turned out he really did bring “his booth” after all. As customers entered my booth and asked me about my work, he would linger around and butt into my conversations and talk about his work. Someone asked me where I got my canvas frames done (at a friend’s place), and this lingering fellow interrupted to mention some place across town where he gets his work done. Someone asked me about my next location where I might be shooting, and I just blurted out the first random place that came to mind: Bodie, California. Sure enough, this other guy had his own photos of Bodie on his phone! Yes, he squeezed around me to show one of my visitors his photos while standing in my booth. If I were just a bit more impulsive (I either had the patience of Job or was in total shock), I would have snagged his damned phone and thrown it out of the tent! Having him go run after it might have prevented what happened next — he started handing out his business cards.
And to think that the conversation started with how he was too much of a cheapskate to pay the booth fee and get into the show. The next time he stops by, he will definitely get some new advice about “something interesting that I just learned.”