I am now officially a professional photographer! After the Kenya trip where I was with a ton of professional photographers that inspired me, I decided to take a chance on something I have wanted to do for a really long time but have never had the nerve. I signed up for the Occoquan Spring Craft Fair, got accepted, and got to work severely overbuying inventory (think souther woman afraid of running out of food for her kin at Sunday dinner) and getting ready! It was stressful, but with the help of 7 of my friends that came over to help 200+ mat photos the weekend before, I was able to get ready.
My sales weren’t on fire (expected first time out), but highlights include:
- Having a ten year old chat me up for 15 minutes, tell me I was the “best photographer ever,” and then realizing later her dad worked with my sister-in-law after I posted a pic my friend happened to capture on facebook
- Talking to people about my photos and reliving the memories
- Having strangers buy my photos and/or tell me they were amazing!
- Having my coworker tell me “I didn’t think this was yours because it was so beautiful” as the second best compliment of the weekend
- Having someone thank me for my work
- Chatting with the scuba store people in the tent next to me & spending two days outside
- Nerding out on tracking the financials, setting up my square point of sale system, and getting to swipe credit cards
- Having my parents and friend Ione (and her mom) spend significant amounts of the time with me
- Having other friends/coworkers stop by, including a surprise visit from 3 of my Kenya folks that lovingly conspired behind my back
- Getting to prep all my photos and see a whole portfolio of work come together from the past 3 years
- Letting myself ask for help
- Changing my booth setup 3 times as I saw what worked/didn’t (#lessonslearned)
All in all, it was a great experience and since I have all the inventory, I signed up for the Sugarloaf Craft Festival in Chantilly October 18th-20th!
Then last night, my Kenya trip friends and I partnered with Old Ox Brewery and the African Wildlife Foundation to sell our work and raise money via that and raffles/beer/silent auctions. It was such a fun night! It was also major validation for me because I outsold my 2 days in Occoquan. While people had an incentive to buy since I am donating my net proceeds to charity, all of my buyers had no connection to me (stranger sales!). I also had two people place custom orders when the ones they wanted got bought out from under them! I am happy to report I’ll be making a strong donation to the AWF!!
Now it’s time to get to work on practice sessions for people photography to continue to work towards and official side hustle 🙂