Standing Out in Your Market: Vendor Booths

It doesn’t matter where your business is located, chances are you’re in a market saturated with other photographers. We’re all looking for ways we can stand out and make an impression to our potential clients through our marketing strategies. One way to have this impact is to display our work at vendor events or expos. That was definitely my way of thinking when I signed up as a vendor at an upscale “Day for Women” event this past spring.
I had never done a vendor booth before and I needed some inspiration for my booth design. Browsing on Pinterest and in some photography Facebook groups turned up a few ideas, but there really wasn’t a lot out there. Being an IPS photographer who focuses on wall art and album sales, I knew I wanted a clean, home-like look to my booth. I wanted to create a space that would invite the people passing by to stop and imagine seeing these types of images and products in their home. So I channeled my inner Joanna Gaines and sketched out some ideas on a piece of scrap paper for my husband. Honestly, I really thought he was going to draw the line at the faux mantle, but the man is truly a saint and he built it without any complaints!
Our display consisted of 3 sections of wall, all built with a 2x4 frame and finished with 1/4” sheets of plywood painted white. The back wall is 10’ wide by 8’ high, and each side wall is 6’ wide by 8’ high. Pinterest is actually a great resource for figuring out how to construct walls like this. Because of our design, we were able to utilize the whole footprint of our 10’x10’ booth without having any feet or supports off the backs of the walls that might stick into our neighbor’s booth space.


My idea for the layout was to create three separate galleries that showcased the different wall art finishes that I sell: canvas, frames, and wood blocks. I mocked up the designs for each gallery in ProSelect so I would be sure to love both the layout and the images I selected. I wanted the largest area to be the frames because I LOVE the clean, modern look of Design Aglow Frames and I knew they would be the most eye-catching for my display. I used the back wall to create a gallery using two sets of the Grab & Go Collection 5, in the Hollywood Champagne finish.
The side walls showcase a canvas gallery composed of three 20x30” gallery wraps, and a heritage wood print gallery above the faux mantle. Both the canvas and the wood prints are from Simply Color Lab, which I love as well! Along the back wall is a sofa table (also built by my amazing husband) that holds my albums and folio boxes. I finished off the space with some homey touches like a rug, a chair, and some plants and decorations. For my sign, I framed a poster print that had my logo and a special offer for anyone who purchased a gift card during the event and displayed it on an easel at the front corner of the room. I made sure to have plenty of brochures and business cards to pass out as well.


The networking I was able to do during the event was fantastic and reassured me that this was an effort well spent. I had a hunch that this event would be well-attended by my ideal client, and that proved to be 100% correct. Not only did I see several past clients, but people who recognized their friends and family’s photos on display at my booth as well. This was the perfect opportunity for engaging in conversation with them and whoever they were with, which tended to draw in even more attention.
Going into this, I set my expectations low. I did not plan on booking anyone at the event, but I wanted to focus on brand awareness and having memorable conversations with as many people as possible. I handed out all of my brochures and had 10-20 min conversations (mini consultations!) with at least a dozen new people. I had answers prepared for the inevitable “how much do you charge” question, and took it as an opportunity to ask them more about their needs and explain how my process worked. I did not have a price list to pass out, but I did commit to memory the prices of each product in my booth so I could use that as a reference if someone asked for specifics.


In the month that followed the event, I received two inquiries, one of which booked and resulted in a sale that was on par for my average. If this pace continues, I will have my return on investment back in 3 months!
I will definitely attend this event annually and build it into my marketing plan. I anticipate that my brand presence and the number of people who stop by my booth for a mini consultation will only continue to grow. However, there are some things I will fine tune for next time. The biggest thing is that I’ll put more thought into a way to collect leads from the people I speak with. I know if I had a way to follow up with the people I spoke to I’d have booked at least a few more consultations. The other thing I’ll definitely spring for next time is art lighting. I saw lots of booths with lights specifically made for trade shows and they really made a difference and enhanced the products they were showcasing. Overall I feel that this was one of the best marketing strategies I’ve implemented to date in my business. It’s producing high-quality leads, great brand recognition, and puts me face to face with an expo center full of my ideal clients!

The breakdown on costs:

Vendor fee


Materials for display

$500 (includes $200 for the sofa table now in our home)

Sample products

$1,100 (wall art only)


migrated_Headshots_2017_medium.jpgv1529507185Ashley Clauss of Bluebird Photography is a boutique style photographer specializing in high school senior and family portraiture in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. She believes in crafting a unique portrait experience for each client and delights in creating custom artwork to preserve their images for years to come.

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