Friday, 8 July 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Large Format Photography

When designing your display for craft shows, you might not think about what to do with your walls. You’re probably already using the back of your booth to hang a sign with your name and/or your business name on it.

Something you may not consider is hanging large photos of your work. In Larry Berman's article A Conversation with Bruce Baker, nationally-known expert and speaker on booth design Bruce had the following to say:
Large format photography displayed on the walls of your booth does more to pull people in than just about any method you can use to attract customers attention.
When people pass by your booth, they might not be able to focus on your work because of the scale or maybe because there are people blocking your tables. If you hang large photos of your work on your walls, you are more likely to catch someone’s gaze and subsequently pull them into your booth.

Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy, supports Bruce’s thoughts by saying this:
Windows are the new billboard.
The walls of your booth are essentially your store windows – use them to your advantage. Don’t make your images too complex – they should be eye-catching and memorable. Get your message across quickly.

So what might you do with your photos? An obvious choice is a close-up of one of your pieces or maybe a grouping.

Something else to consider is to set the scene for how your work might be used. Not everyone understands that a photo album can be used for more than just special occasions or that a journal can be used in ways other than as a diary.

More from Bruce Baker:
It’s about who you will become when you wear the product or how it will make you feel if you own this object. Never underestimate the lack of imagination on the part of your customers, they need these images to show them how something will look on the body or displayed in a kitchen.
Look at the photo on the back left side of my booth:

I set up one of my journals on a table with a pen and a cup of coffee. I wanted people to think that by owning one of my journals, they could have a moment to themselves to reflect on their daily lives. I wanted to show how they could own a journal and that it wasn’t just a gift item – it fit into their lives. I used the photo to create a story and to invite customers to be part of it.

Here are some more ideas to get you thinking:
  • Show one of your open guest books on a table, surrounded by gifts.
  • Position your travel journal next to an airline ticket or a stack of suitcases.
  • Open up a photo album and put party pictures into it, along with a copy of the party invitation.
  • Focus on a page of one of your journals with “Gratitude Journal” written across the top and show the start of a list.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other needs. Needs that need to be addressed first include physiological and safety needs. The third level includes social needs - people crave connection with others and this includes family, friends, and romantic relationships.

Everyone already has lots of material possessions and at a basic level, your work is just going to add to the pile. People treasure experiences and memories created with their loved ones much more than things. If you can tap into the need for companionship through your photos, you can improve your odds of making a sale.

Take a look at the photo on the back right side of my booth. I created a scene where a mother and daughter were sharing a moment by looking through one of my photo albums. My goal was to help customers make an association between family and my work – if you own one of my photo albums, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time with family and share stories with them.

Stage your photos so that they appeal to your target customer. More from Bruce Baker:
Any photo is better than no photo but the image should focus on lifestyle and image. These photos should speak to your target demographic. When they do they get pulled into your space.
Using large format photography is like staging a house for sale – if people can’t imagine themselves in your home, then they probably won’t buy it. Use photos to help transport customers into a space where they exist with your work.

Some possibilities:
  • Show an image of a mother and child putting vacation photos into an album.
  • A picture of a parent and child reading a journal together, with a title on the front to indicate the journal contents - perhaps Our Family or Our Summer Vacation.
  • A grandparent and child cooking a meal while referring to a handmade book with the title Family Recipes.
Do you use large photos in your booth? How do you use them? Do you have any additional photo concepts to share? Send me an Email with photos and I'll include them in a follow-up post next week. Be sure to include your name and a link to your Etsy shop.



Kjersten said...

Really good post. I like the idea of a photo in the booth, but I especially like how you suggest considering what the image says on a more personal level.

Ruth | Concertina Press said...

Where did you get your photos printed?

I've seen pictures of your "old" booth without the photos on flickr, and you're right that they really add a lot. Something for me to plan for winter shows!