Lighting & location can boost your sales

Larry Cooper of Bullhead City, AZ, was a vendor at the Hillside Art Fair in Norco, California. I was intrigued with his wood sculpting and ‘turnings’. I was especially drawn to how the light just emphasized his craftsmanship.

Whenever I’m walking a marketplace, swap meet or a place that sells art, I’m always paying very careful attention to the lighting.

Take for instance these carvings that caught my eye when I was browsing the aisles of the Hillside Farm Art Fair in the city of Norco recently.

I was walking between 2 wooden structures when these little carvings jumped out at me practically saying, “Psst!  Over here! Take my picture!”

The artist who made these may not be able to articulate why exactly he comes back year after year to the same booth to sell and why he does
so well.

But yours truly will let you in on his secret.

Location, location, location

The vertical version–Which do you like better?

He has a great spot which naturally showcases his wonderful craft.

It’s all ambient or available light and it’s a combination of a dark background which makes his little darlings yell out at passersby.

I struck up a conversation with Larry L. Cooper of Bullhead City, Arizona because, as you know, I love to photograph people.

His best-selling ‘birdhouse pulls’ attach to ceiling fans to make it easier for owners to reach and change the speed of their fans.

A closeup of the ‘birdhouse pulls’ which attach to ceiling fans

Going for $20 each, these finely carved wooden beauties just cry out to be immortalized with their creator, Larry.

I kid you not.

This was such an easy picture for anyone to make.

The most difficult part?

Convincing the artist to stand by his craft.

Even if I had my point and shoot Powershot G11, I couldn’t have screwed this one up.

The background which was in deep shadow was devoid of any form of distractions.

It was as if I had brought my own black seamless for a background.

At first, he stood a foot away from his little masterpieces.

I could tell he was a little self-conscious.

I beckoned him over and showed him where I wanted him.

Personal space is very real and if you want to photograph people, you have to learn how to coax them into letting you get close.

The light was just so gorgeous I didn’t even need a ‘fill’ or a reflector.

I bracketed one stop over and one stop under just so I could have some wiggle room.

I used the cheapest lens in my arsenal the 50mm f1.8, shot RAW and JPEG at the same time with my Canon 5D Mark 2.

I’m going to say this: if I ever find myself selling at an art fair, I’ll be sure to bring one or two track lights if there is power to spotlight my favorite pictures.

You never know what a difference a little light can do for your sales.
Peter Phun Photography

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