A few months ago, I was contacted by a gentleman from the Raw Natural Born Artists organization (www.rawartists.org) to showcase some of my photography. He found me through my Instagram account and reached out to my business email address to gauge if I would be interested in the 2018 Detroit Showcase. Luckily, my cousin- and local artist as well (Lauren Shufeldt- IG @blonxdee) was involved in this show last year so I knew he was legit.
At first, I was torn. I thought it was a really cool show- but it was a little out of my comfort zone. I really enjoy photographing people- but this showcase was to sell your work, and... well... random couples wouldn't sell. So... I shifted my focus to landscapes, but with the show only being three weeks away, trying to get beautiful landscapes throughout Michigan would be really hard to do (with a full-time job, a toddler, photoshoots already taking my time during weekends, and work travel). So- I had to be creative. I am starting to get good at Photoshop and came up with the theme "Michigan Beauty."
Over the past year, I have incorporated boudoir into my photography style. I had only photographed about 4 boudoir shoots, but for this type of a show, boudoir photos would sell. Then, with help from a few friends, I took some landscape photos and merged the images together to create beautiful women with beautiful landscapes. Finally, with the help of my supportive husband, we traveled Detroit and captured some amazing life in the heart of our state. Those photos, mixed with some landscapes from past anniversaries and the help of a few gorgous models, I was able to create my concept.
The night before the show was interesting. I taped off a 6x6 area in my kitchen and with a little help from my husband and toddler, I got a rough idea of how I wanted to set up my showcase area. I printed off the final products to sell, stressed a little- but was also super excited.
Then the day came. St. Andrew's Hall was filled with my most loyal supporters, as well as roughly 900 other art lovers to check out all of the artists being showcased. To these people, I am eternally grateful. You are my rocks. You showed me that friendship and family are more than just words. You made my night perfect, and I will never forget that. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
As fun as the night was, it was also exhausting. As soon as they said that the show was over, I packed up and hit the road. I talked to so many people, had so many laughs, and was so overwhelmed with beautiful feedback- that I just wanted to go home and take it all in. It was an amazing experience, and one that I will always remember.
At the end of the day, I learned a lot.
- One: Uniqueness sells. I will work on being more unique in both my photography and in my marketing career.
- Two: I really enjoy selling my work. I was never in this to sell my photography commercially, but I may be changing my mind. There is something beautiful about finding a location that is special to you, photographing it in a unique way, and then pushing it out to the world to share. I'm addicted to it now, and I want more.
- Three: It costs a lot of money to do a showcase. From photo processing, to frames, to stands, to credit card scanners- I put in more money than I received. And that's ok. This was my first show- I didn't expect to make as much as I did. But, I will learn from this experience for the future.
- Four: A support system is essential for success. Appreciate them.
I'll leave you with one final thought- if you are at an art fair or craft show, and you think "wow- I can't believe they are charging so much for this," think about all of the money and effort that they put in to provide you with something beautiful. It takes effort and funds to educate yourself on a craft. It takes time away from family to make something beautiful. It takes money to give you something tangible. It takes nerves and stress to sell to strangers. When you buy from local vendors- know that you aren't just buying a product- you are buying love- and you don't get that at Walmart.