For Craft Show Exhibitors

We have been involved in organizing and promoting craft shows for over 25 years. We also owned two craft galleries that sell handcrafted gifts created by local artists like yourself. Over the years we have noticed that many craft show exhibitors are not doing all that they can to sell and promote their work.  


This short article will concentrate on two areas…

1) taking quality photos to submit to jury 

2) creating a more effective display.


Taking good photos is easy! Yet every year we see unacceptable photos that are out of focus and poorly lit. Here are some tips…

  1. Just take a picture of one or two items. Don’t feel the need to fill the photo.

  2. Use diffused natural light. Flashes always wash out color and never evenly light the item.  And they cause irritating hot spots and shadows. Find a table near a window or a shaded area outside. Do not take the photo in direct sunlight where shadows and hot spots can occur. Instead find a shaded place.

  3. Let the camera do the work. Keep everything on automatic and you will probably get a great picture.

  4. Not enough light? Baloney!  If you are not getting enough light, use a tri-pod, book, or anything to stabilize the camera. Pressing your finger down can often move the camera, causing the camera to move and making the picture blurry. There is a neat trick to overcome this problem. Just set the camera on timer, press the button and wait. Your camera will stay steady and the picture will come out crisp.

  5. If you are using a digital camera, learn how to make simple adjustments using imaging software. For some reason my camera often takes pictures that are a bit too dark. I use Adobe Photoshop and it is easy for me to click on ‘auto adjust’ and get the color and brightness automatically adjusted.

  6. Finally….Use a backdrop that adds instead of one that detracts or distracts. A cool barn door, a green garden, or just a photo on the lawn are all fine. A photo in a multi-colored flower garden is not good because the flowers will take away from your item. One of the easiest AND BEST backdrops to use is a roll of white paper. You can get it a staples or any craft supply store. Below are two pictures showing how to do this. See how the roll of paper rolls down and curves. This causes a nice shadowing affect.  The next picture below shows the image that I took with this setup.

Go on out there and give these a try.  I think you will be surprised how easy it is to take great pictures!

See how simple the backdrop can be. I just unrolled the paper, taped it to the wall and let it roll over the top of a table. Notice how I have the window to the left. There is no direct sun light coming in, just diffused light.

Here is the end result.  Nice shadowing and no hot spots.

Here is the final result.

I took this picture outside on my sidewalk up against my planter using just a piece of legal sized paper!

Creating A More Effective Display

It does surprise us how much money exhibitors will pay for a space and how little planning they seem to take with the display their product.  Fortunately, there are many artists who do a fantastic job with their display.  Below is just a sampling of photos along with some captions detailing what we like about the display.  Tips include...

  1. Fabric. 
    It folds up to nothing and can be tossed in the washing machine. Table skirts and backdrops can soften hard product and make a difference.

  2. A Professional Sign. 
    The best investment you can make. Brand your name in the minds of your customers.

  3. Organize. 
    You have 3 seconds to catch their eye before they pass. An visually organized booth means that the customer will immediately know what is for sale. An unorganized booth means will just confuse the customer and they will just walk on by.

  4. The right display props make a difference. 
    Folk art and country items look great on antique wooden boxes. But it would be inappropriate to display high end, contemporary pottery on antique boxes.

  5. Go Vertical. 
    Don't just dump stuff on a table. Use shelves, boxes and other props to get the product up to eye level.

  6. Carpet. 
    It can make a good booth look great. And it helps control the mud, dust and dirt.

The soft white lace offsets and softens the hard glass. It also  hides all the boxes and the other crafter behind the booth.  Nice job of using shelving to get the product up to eye level.

The opposite of cluttered, Yolanda's booth is organized and very easy for the eye to see the space and immediately understand the product.

Leslie's booth is also well organized. And the black and white check theme is carried from the table skirt, to backdrop and even to the sign painted on her tent! The wooden boxes make total sense for her product. Nice job Leslie!

Choose display pieces that are right for your product. Paul's vases look great on this display. They would not look good on Leslie's wooden boxes (see left), nor would Leslie's houses look good on Paul's display.

The fabric over the latice makes it easier for the eye to focus on the product.

The sign probably cost less then $50, but it makes the booth look professional.

Great sign, nice skirt on the table...Mitch's booth is great!

Jeff's folk art looks right at home on the old wood doors. Again, use the right props for your product. 

Contrasting materials and textures...The plants in this booth help soften the hard pottery and remind the customer of the 'earthy' nature of earthenware.

Go Vertical! The tiered display on the right is much improved.

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Shows run from 10:00am to 5:00pm, rain or shine

Children under 12 are admitted for free. No dogs allowed.

The Chester Craft Show is sponsored by, with proceeds to benefit, the Historic Chester Business Association.

For more information, visit

Copyright 2017 by MAPellessier. All Rights Reserved.

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