Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Photo Exhibitions: a first-timer’s guide to selling photos and raising your profile

From Digital Camera World

Photo exhibitions are a great way to sell your photos and raise your profile as a photographer at the same time. These tips from professional photographers will help get you started for launching your first photo exhibition.

Photo exhibitions take a lot of time, cash, organization and hard work, but are an effective sales tool. You’ll also get a real buzz from displaying work in a public space.

Top galleries won’t take first-timers for photo exhibitions, but a smaller gallery may display one or two prints. Venues such as hotels, cafes, libraries and bars are also good places. Make sure you’re happy with any terms and conditions. Galleries usually demand a commission, sometimes up to 50%.

The next step is to decide on a theme – random subjects and styles will rarely succeed. Generic themes can work well, but specific ones like ‘autumn’ or ‘asylum seekers’ will attract more attention.

Print quality must be exceptional, so consider printing your images at a commercial lab. Mount, frame and caption images in exactly the same way using simple yet stylish frames.

The next step is to tell people about your photo exhibition. Send out formal invitations as well as press releases to the local media.

On the night your photo exhibition opens, keep the refreshments flowing, your business cards at the ready and employ a second pair of hands to handle sales or answer queries when you’re busy.

Tips for organising your first photo exhibition

  • Print quality is paramount, but it’s also important to consider the print size. A3 will probably be the minimum for most venues, but for larger walls you may need to print at A2 or even A1.
  • Ensure that all your prints are consistent in terms of size, mounts, frames and captions. A slick presentation could pay dividends in terms of sales.
  • Sending out amateurish invitations and press releases is likely to do more harm than good. If in doubt, have them designed and written professionally.
  • Offering limited edition prints is a good way to give your work a more exclusive, desirable feel. Consider charging between 15 and 20 percent extra for limited edition prints.
  • On your opening night,employ a co-host who knows your work and can take orders / answer questions while you’re busy with any other guests.
  • see more here
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