Last show of the year – welcomed rewards

Well, we’re home after a long weekend at the LaFayette Apple Festival . . . a long weekend and a very good one. As a matter of fact, from a strictly dollars and cents perspective, this was the best show of the year.

This image, taken in the Smoky Mountain National Park this past spring and the two below (an icy scene from Horseshoe Falls and an early winter scene taken near home) were among our customer's favorites this year. Click on any image for an enlarge view.

There are other measurements, however, that proved even more rewarding and certainly more important.

One is the public’s reaction to some of my most recent images. As a photographer who has only been trying to sell his work for a couple years, the customer’s response is more important validation than the sales totals could ever be. As I stood under the red-striped roof of our festival tent I welcomed at least several hundred festival goers to the largest exhibit space we’ve filled to date. What I saw will motivate me every time I take my camera into the field.

First, my most recent images were obviously the most successful in the eyes of those who visited our exhibit. That was evidenced by the sales figures. More importantly, it was evidenced by the reactions of those who strolled past each image. Many walked back and forth, revisiting image after image. Some returned later in the day and enjoyed visiting again.

I watched proudly as some images moved more than one viewer to reach out and touch them. Others, tucked an image or two under their arms while leafing through our bins, not wanting to lose an image before making a final selection. It was with mixed emotions that I took the last copies of two images off the wall because customers were validating my decisions behind the camera by purchasing the images, leaving us without two images that we knew were attracting people. This, despite having printed additional copies following Saturday’s success.

At least as invigorating were visits by several people who had purchased images from us at previous shows. Some came back to see what was new and walked away with a new image in hand.  One returning customer brought her daughter (a senior in high school) by, with a new Nikon D40 casually hung around her neck. Mother had purchased one of my images at last year’s Apple Festival, as a gift for her daughter. Now her daughter was experiencing those first sparks of excitement that all of us, amateur and professional nature photographer alike, enjoyed at the outset of our journeys. To make a good thing even better, for me, both agreed it would be a good idea for the newest member of our photog family to participate in my upcoming Let’s Get Ready for Winter workshop, November 13. That made the whole experience doubly rewarding.

More than a dozen customers also signed-up for the November workshop and even more, nearly two dozen, added their names to our workshop list so we can keep them up-to-date on future workshops.

As though that’s not enough motivation for one weekend, imagine how good it felt to have people tell us that other exhibitors has encouraged them to visit us.

Oh yes. We’ve already reserved our booth for next year’s Apple Festival.