Sunday, November 11, 2012

No photos, please!

Hello Polite Readers!

Well, we're back to talking about business, and today's topic is quite timely for me because I'm writing this before taking off for my biggest vending event of the year! One of my FAETeam mates asked me what to do when someone comes to your booth and starts photographing your work.

This is a pretty big problem in highly competitve, cut-throat arts and crafts. I've seen numerous booths at art festivals and Renaissance Faires with signs requesting no photographs. After all, it's bad enough when someone is closely examining your work to try to figure out how you do it, but even worse when they're taking pictures so they can study it at home and copy it.

You can definitely put up signs, but many people just don't seem to read signs -- or they pretend they didn't see them! So you may sometimes have to stop people. In addition to the copy-cats, if you create wearable art you may have people trying things on and taking photos of themselves in it for a lark, and you'll have to decide if you're OK with that.

If someone is taking photos, all you need to do is smile and say in your best firm-but-polite voice (my favorite kind of voice!), "Please don't photograph my work!" You don't have to offer a reason why, just ask them not to do it. Offering a reason lets them offer up excuses about how they just wanted to show their FB friends, or they're photographing it so they can remember which ones they wanted to buy, etc etc.

Of course, there are times when you'll want to relax your no-photography rules. If someone wants to photograph your booth as a whole for their blog, that's generally OK. Of course if the event promoter loves your work or your display and wants to use it in promotional materials for future events, you should allow that photograph.

Do you have your own sticky customer situation that is making you dread holiday craft shows? Send it to me at and I'll help!


  1. Huh.. my solution would have been to take their camera and beat it with a baseball bat Office Space style.. I guess that's not a good idea?

    1. As satisfying as that might be, it would probably get you kicked out of the event.