Monday, October 22, 2012

Trade Day Happened

Tallassee Trade Day was this last weekend. I set up a photo booth and took pictures looking a lot like this:

I've got most of the best pictures selected. There are a few I'm going to have to get a second opinion on from my wife. After that, there will be a few special editing issues to take care of that will be a bit of a time sink, then I'll just let Adobe Light Room apply the boarders and create the final JPEGs and they'll be ready for printing...then addressing...then shipping out.

Those pics above are some samples I took beforehand in my back yard when testing out my setup. The font is called "Big Top" and can be found free on Thank you Shamrock, whoever you are. If I had made any money, then I'd probably figure out how to send you a couple bucks.

As it stands, I'm pretty deep in the red for Trade Day. That will likely get a little better after we send the prints out. We had a pretty significant number of people wanting additional prints of their pictures last year. If we can get some additional orders, that will help. If I can get some portrait sessions or other work out of it, then that would be a big help, too. That's actually why I do trade day, getting my name out there to build some business. That, and the experience.

I learned two big lessons this year. First, it's not worth the trouble of chasing the sun to work under a tent. I'll be shooting Holiday Market without the tent and just blast people with flashes and shoot with my D70 at 1/500 sec. (because that's as fast as anything will sync to a flash). Second, prints don't sell well...if at all. I'm not settled on what to do with this information, but I've got to do something with it. I can't spend money on prints to sell and recoup 0% of that; it's just bad business. If nothing else, I'll be selling the prints I have at crazy low prices at Holiday Market. Hopefully I can capitalize on people buying presents.

Last year, I actually made a little money on Trade Day. This year, Tallassee's Trade Day was competing with Loachapoka's Syrup Soppin' Day, an arts-n-crafts fair in Wetumpka, and some Jr. League thing in Montgomery. Which means that Trade Day had fewer vendors and fewer attenders. I shot about 2/3 as many groups as I did last year and sold $20 in prints compared to over $50 last year. (That $20 for this year amounts to one 16X20 collage.) I did have the forethought to charge $1 for 1-3 people and $2 for 4 or more this year, so that helped boost the gross income some.

Lest you think I'm down on this year's Trade Day, let me say that I'm not. It wasn't a huge success in it's own right, but I did cover most of the costs that can't be justified in some other way. I had a good time. My customers will have a good keepsake. It was fun. I'd do it again if I had it to do over, though I'd do it slightly differently.

Oh, and I'd like to give a shout out to Village Photographers for loaning me some equipment that helped to make my photo booth more legit than it might have been otherwise.

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