This morning the weather wasn't very good in the flea market. Luck me it is under a rail bridge, but the wind was so strong that I had to find a place next a wall to don't let the wind blow my prints on the ground.
During the morning a group of about 15 children settled themselves in front of my stand to sing and play Christmas songs for charity. One of their teachers asked me if it was ok, but in a way as if she had already decided to stay there. I said "no problem". After all there wasn't many people passing by and looking at my prints anyway.
Later on a women appreciating my work said to me that they were very sweet. I am sure it was thanks to the frames.
There was many other people complimenting my prints, very attracted to them with their eyes, but no sale at all. This reminded me when I was in Dublin trying for the first time to sell my prints in the streets. The artist who was in front of me on the other side of the street, and who have convinced me to try the streets, was often busy talking to people who stopped to look at his stuff, that was reproduction drawings of famous faces, alternative and classic rock album covers, band names designs and so on, selling for a high price such as €40 to €80.
I try to learn with him, followed his advises consisting of talking to people, telling them stories, telling them about the photos they look at. But to me it had an opposite effect, as soon as they noticed me starting talking to them they walked away, as running from me, probably already knowing I would try sell my prints while they just want to look and nothing else. This is why I don't even stay too close any more, to don't scare people who just want to look.
Photography is not an easy thing to sell. Or better saying, selling prints is not an easy business to make profitable. People loves to look at good photographs, they are very interested about the creation process, tools, subjects on the photograph, but very few will actually wish to have one, even if it was free. And among these few ones, most of them wish a dirt cheap print to purchase. Those who are willing to pay good money for a good and traditional print are often people who have some knowledge about visual arts or photography. And some times to support the photographer too, which is a nice thing. So, this is a niche market. Most people will not understand why paying hundreds for a single print with a image of something they don't know almost nothing about, if they can bay a huge print the Eiffel Tower, of a paradisiac landscape or of a insect or flower in macro, for less than €10.
Now, back to my experience in the market, although I noticed people appreciating the frame presentation, I didn't notice any change on how often somebody comes to look and admire my photographs (I really mean admire. Serious, people admire my prints, and I am not saying it just because they are my prints. It is true).
Before I was offering my prints with no frames and some of them with only a mat. But most of them not even with a mat, showcasing them in books that the public browsed through. The convenience was to be able to show and offer many more prints.
To attract people, or at least to let they know what I was offering, I used to place behind the table a big frame on a tripod with several of my prints all together, in a mosaic. And it worked very well. But this old method was a bit messy for me, too many stuff to carry.
Now I just carry a bag with my framed prints and a table and that is it. Easier and lighter.
I still have a lot to learn. Unfortunate I wasn't able to do it often enough to discover if it could be a side job for me, because I work most nights and weekends in my "day job".
But even the days I don't menage to sell any print. Seeing people being impressed by my prints is always a very good feeling.