Sunday, March 8, 2009

Congratulations! Social group peers get sales during benefit exhibition!

Featured: photographers Jim Murphy, Sheba Wheeler (me), Sarah and Sean Donnelly, Paul and Amy Martin

As "Group Mom" of the Mile High Digital Photography School Social Group, I am proud to announce that several members of the group sold prints last night at the Art for Endometriosis benefit! Not only did they make a sale, but this was the FIRST time they ever displayed their work in a public setting like this. Congratulations to Sean Donnelly, and Amy and Paul Martin! Plus, a minimum of 40 percent of their proceeds were donated to a great cause supporting research for endometriosis, a disease that attacks women's reproductive system.

I wanted to let everyone know about this because I think there's a valuable lesson in this experience. When my friend Sean first asked members of the social group if they would like to submit some pieces to the benefit, he was disappointed that no one originally responded. He knew I was on board because I was the only one in the group who had had previous experience showcasing my work since Jeffrey Rupp created some opportunities for Denver Darkroom students to show their work. I think others might have been intimidated and/or maybe they thought their work didn't measure up. (Note: since this blog post, I received a comment from a group member that lack of time and a busy schedule prevented her from participating inspite of her willingness to do so).

One of the members that night admitted what many of us were feeling: it is very intimidating and nerve wracking to have strangers (made up largely of other photographers who submitted their own entries) pouring over your work. During the evening, I stood upstairs and watched below while people looked over several of my images. What I found interesting was the way many women reacted when they saw my artistic nudes/boudoir shots. Most of them skimmed it and looked away quickly. Others were fascinated by them and I got several comments about how lovely and classy they thought the photos were. Overall, the experience made me wonder if I should have submitted more landscape shots instead of the boudoir photos that have sold so well in other settings. Sarah Donnelly said she thought the boudoir images stood out and made a great statement among the sea of nature and wildlife shots. Sean told me that there's another benefit for a women's shelter that needs art donated that I could enter my images in there as well.

Amy and Paul both decided to submit two photos taken from their travels in Thailand. Less than an hour into the event, one of the Martin's photos got a coveted "SOLD" in bold letters! Before the end of the evening, the second photo was being considered for sale as well. What's also interesting to note is that Amy told me during the event that one of those shots was a last minute "I'll just snap this real quick" before being forced to continue on with a tour. She didn't even realize what photo she had captured until much later during the editing process!

Meanwhile, Sean sold a great shot of some Spaulding skis! It's funny because he wasn't even sure he should have submitted that entry because it initially seemed out of place with his other landscape images. As it turns out, you never know what image will resonate with a client! That photo was snatched up to with a resounding "SOLD!" too.

So what am I trying to say? Be willing to take a risk and put your work out there for people to see and experience. It's a great boost just to be able to watch and hear what people think as they check out your work. It can help you grow as a photographer and help you gain confidence. You can also learn a ton about how to properly display your work. Sean had a heck of a time trying to figure out aspect ratios, printing and matting. Here's what Sean said he learned about his experiences: (and for the record Sean, you did an amazing job!)

I learned I really hate pre-cut mats. Seems different places have a different idea of what is meant by X by X opening.

I learned I really don't like Costco Photo Processing except for things like classwork. They seem to have their own ideas about auto cropping and enlarging despite me checking the "do not correct box."

I learned to never choose any of the "border" options with Costo printing. doing so will rescale your image to allow the border to fit.

I learned to pay attention when selecting and pasting photo "A" and pasting it onto background "B." If they are not both the same dpi the imported photo will automatically rescale to the same dpi. This can lead to unpredictable results.

I learned from submitting my own photos that you need to give yourself at least 3 weeks lead time to get them done the way you want, particularly if ordering larger prints or uncommon sizes.

I learned that Canvas has to be stretched onto a frame which is also a custom order. If you don't pre-order the frame you are putting it behind glass which, while nice, takes away from the objective of printing it on canvas to begin with.

I learned that when you pay for 1 or 2 day shipping on prints that only means 1 or 2 days after they print it. They may not get around to printing it for 3-7 days.

All in all getting stuff prepared and delivered to Audrey has been very time consuming, frustrating and (in the case of my work) expensive. I didn't realize the costs I was setting myself up for when I chose to make big prints that would require custom matting.

On the bright side though, it was one of those "life experiences" where you at least no better about what to expect in the future.


AM/PM Photography said...

Ummm...we actually donated all the proceeds/profits except what it cost us to get everything printed, matted and framed. So we broke even and whatever was profit was donated to charity.

Just wanted to make sure that was clear in case any tax guys are watching this hehe.

tin said...

Sheba, I just wanted to say, you look beautiful in this picture! Ray is a lucky man :)

Sheba Wheeler said...

@ Christine: Thank you my dear!

@ AM/PM: Very cool!

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