The Show-stopper: When people take photos of your work (and how you deal)

When you bring work to a art/craft show there’s lots of unknowns, new eyes, repeat customers, new audience. You jive and flow with the people, comments, conditions and hopefully sales, and it’s not long before patterns develop and you start to get a clear vision of where you are at. For me there’s one constant that almost always gives me a moment of pause, when the person pulls their phone out to take a picture of your work. 

This pulls me a lot of ways, and maybe you too, in those quick seconds. Sometimes they ask permission and I then ask why, and on we go. Not that I’m opposed… or am I? It’s frustratingly different every time, too. Sometimes I say nothing and just wonder. Sometimes I stop someone and they look ticked because they’re embarrassed. All of these moments throw me off my game! I LOVE when people are attracted to my things, even if they don’t fully understand and simply think “that’s SO FUNNY”, but that’s my original work, and I’m a proud, protective artist!

Comrades, I have to tell you. After ten years of setting up and breaking down, I recently had that one moment, the BIG IDEA that changed EVERYTHING for me on my side of the table and for “them” the guest on the other side. Here’s the scenario:

Friendly man and woman walk up, I greet them with a hello. They’re eyes are moving over the table, and as his smile widens, he goes for the back pocket and here comes the celly. My mind jumps as it does and for the very first time I’m hit with the solution! As he taps to focus I say, “Are you taking a picture of my work?” He jumps back a little and says, “I’m sorry, should I not?” and super quick I say, “No it’s fine, but let me do this so you know remember who made it!”, and I tucked my business card just behind the piece and CLICK– happiness!

The man smiled and said, “Great idea!”  That gesture put him not only instantly at ease, but gave a full new appreciation and awareness (in a non-confrontation way) that this was MINE, but you’re welcome to buy one. 🙂 You may also get that future sale now that there’s a little advertisement in his pocket or “look what I saw at____”, and for those not-so-nice folks that boast “they could make that”, or are actually planning on trying, that hey, someone already did and here’s their business name .

It can be rough out there, and I hope if you happen to struggle with some of these moments as I have, this little tip helps with your future shows and keeping the good vibes flowing!