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How to Photograph your Art Show Booth
26 tips on taking a good art fair booth picture

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working with me to improve your booth shot

How important is the booth photo? Besides the artwork images, the booth image can easily make or break an artist's career doing art shows. Like the art images, the booth image needs to be read easily without causing the jurors to spend even an extra second understanding exactly what they're seeing because for the better shows that project the images, the jurors are seeing all the images simultaneously for under 20 seconds and sometimes closer to 10 seconds. If you don't think that the booth image (booth slide, booth shot) is that important, read the Artisphere review where a juror changed scores of artists after enlarging and examining their booth images.

26 tips on taking a good art show display picture
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1 - The best place to photograph your booth is not at an art show where you don't have control of the environment or weather. But if you do shoot at an art show, the rest of the tips are still applicable.

2 - It's better to set it up for the picture on an overcast or cloudy day so there is even lighting and no sun streaks which might draw the juror's eyes.

3 Ė No signs, people or any other identification.

4 - The booth picture needs to be representative of how your booth will look at a show.

5 - The sides of the canopy need to be in place behind the booth walls so there is nothing distracting showing through the booth to draw the jurorís eyes.

6 Ė The canopy must be white and all three walls need to be seen in the picture.

7 Ė The floor must be clean of debris or leaves or use a carpet.

8 - If youíre photographing 2D work itís best to take the glass out of the frames before shooting to eliminate reflections.

9 - If youíre photographing 2D work and have multiple pieces on each wall, make sure the tops of pieces on the top row are all at the same height around the booth.

10 - If you are a 2D artist and use unframed bins, make sure to include a representative amount of bins in the booth picture

11 - If youíre photographing 3D work and are using tables, consider hanging large photographs of your pieces to take up wall space and make the booth look fuller.

12 - If you use tables with covers, make sure covers are wrinkle free. Itís better to use pedestals or at least raise your table height to 40 inches.

13 - Use a tripod. Itís the only way to check object placement from the camera angle.

14 Ė If possible, donít have objects overlapping from the camera position and make sure they face the camera.

15 Ė Shoot wider than the canopy so the walls can be squared up before the image is cropped.

16 - You can shoot from a corner but still need to see along the third wall.

17 - Shoot the back and right wall (seeing along the left wall to satisfy the three wall booth rule) so that your booth works to keep the jurors eyes centered in your presentation when applying to a show that projects the images.

18 - Do not use a cell phone camera. They tend to loose detail in the highlights.

19 - Follow my suggestions on how to set your camera for maximum quality.

20 - Consider the camera perspective as the picture, not how you normally set up the booth.

21 - Take the initial picture and go inside and bring it up on the computer.

22 - Take note of everything that can be changed to improve the picture. Go out and make the changes, shoot again and check again on the computer.

23 Ė If youíre working with a friend or consultant, ask for feedback while youíre shooting, not after you break the booth down.

24 Ė If youíre bracketing or shooting different exposures, itís better to end up with a picture thatís slightly too dark than a picture thatís slightly too light because detail can be brought out of dark areas more easily than putting detail back into areas that are too light.

25 Ė Every image can be improved in post processing.

26 - Consider having me do your post processing. Iíve worked with hundreds of artists helping them improve their booth photo. Or come to my house to set your booth up for me to photograph it.

A good display picture is not easy and it takes time to get it right. If the jurors are distracted and waste even a second or two noticing something out of place, you are loosing approximately 10% of the time they are looking at your work. Be careful of an overly bright white canopy because it's human nature that our eyes are drawn to the brightest part of an image or brightest image in a presentation. Crop most of the white canopy top off and crop in tight on the sides. They only need to know that it's an outdoor picture under a white canopy and need not see the entire top to understand.
If you're photographing 2D work, it's best to prepare the artwork in advance by taking glass out of the frames to eliminate distracting reflections. If you're photographing 3D work and have mostly tables for your display, consider hanging large format photographs of your work on the walls to take up the empty space within the booth. Inexpensive 20x30 prints can now be had from Sam's Club, Walmart and Costco. I think they are even available premounted on board. Use tape, pins or staples to try and get the table covers as wrinkle free as possible.
Make sure to position the tripod mounted camera so that all three walls can be seen. More shows are now specifying in their applications that all three walls need to be seen inside a white canopy. You can shoot from an angle showing two walls clearly but you still need to see what's on the third wall to meet the requirements of every show. The last thing you want is to be forced to create a different booth pictures for each application. The obvious is absolutely no identification or people in the booth. Take out all signs, banners and ribbons before shooting.

working with me to improve your booth shot

There are example booth photos on my defining the booth slide page.

There are more examples on my fixing jury images page.

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