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How To Set Up Your Own Pop-Up Photo Gallery

15 Aug,2019

Setting up your own pop-up photography gallery is part art, part business. We can't help you with the artistic side of this venture - that's all up to your vision - but we can certainly help with the business side. So when starting a pop-up gallery, what are the first things you should know? Let's look at some fast tips.

All the successful photo exhibitions, DIY or not, have a clear goal.Your DIY photo exhibition will need a clearly defined goal.

Tip 1: Set a clear goal

You can't just start a pop-up willy nilly and suddenly become world famous. The most successful galleries have a clearly defined goal, and everything they do is designed to meet that one established target. In fact, as you read tips two and three below you'll start to see how even a slight change in goal could change how you approach the business side of your photo gallery.

So what are some common goals you could think about?

  • Show new work to an audience/demographic that knows you.
  • Find a completely new audience/demographic.
  • Test the waters in a new city.
  • Promote a larger exhibition/event.

Tip 2: Get your location and timing perfect

Your gallery's location and the time at which you host the event can make or break the success of your goal. Imagine trying to reach a new audience of young working people, but you host your gallery during business hours on a week day. What busy millennial is going to take time off work to show up? Probably not many. 

During the planning stages of your pop-up gallery, consider these three points:

  1. Timing: Time your event to a point where there's more of your ideal audience in the area. Think about holidays, festivals and other major events (especially art events), weekends or busier times of day.
  2. Location (for foot traffic): Ideally you want to be in the CBD, on the ground floor, somewhere extremely visible. But OK, that's probably not so possible. So prepare to compromise - maybe you're centrally located, but on the second floor instead. You'll need a little more signage and maybe a bit more marketing as a result. Or maybe you're somewhere with less foot traffic, but more of the right traffic (e.g. located near, say, an art gallery).
  3. Location (for budget): Can you borrow a space or lease at a discount? Shopfronts in high-traffic areas are going to cost you, but somewhere unexpected close by could have less demand, and so a reduced price. Think about the vision of your work. Does it need whitewashed, sterile walls like an art gallery, or would something with more character add to the tone? Examples include empty warehouses or workshops, abandoned buildings, hotel lobbies, interesting pubs or cafes, even somebody's house - imagine hosting your photo gallery in an old villa. Find an area you think will have the right traffic and look around - there's probably more space available than you think.
Popular cafes make for quirky photo exhibition spaces.Imagine the eyes you'd get on your work if you hosted your photo gallery in a popular cafe.

Tip 3: Save money where you can

Now it's time to save money.

First, how are you getting your photos printed? Professional imaging companies can be expensive, especially for the high-quality prints you need for your gallery. But buying your own photo printer isn't as expensive as you might think. There's an up-front cost, sure, but it's a one-off. And the consumables won't be as dramatic as you've probably been led to believe - one cartridge of ink costs a similar amount to a single fine art photo printed by a third party, yet the cartridge can print multiple pictures. The more photos you print, the more your device pays for itself.

Other ways to save money:

  • Borrow your exhibition space as above.
  • Use lots of Facebook advertising because it's pretty inexpensive, and use your printer to print flyers/brochures instead of outsourcing them.
  • Find friends willing to volunteer as staff.
  • Clean, repaint and decorate the space yourself (if applicable).
  • Borrow furniture for the space, or see if local furniture stores will sell you discounted 'damaged' goods, which you can tidy up.

To find out more about a photography printer that might suit you and your new pop-up gallery, check out the Epson SureColor P800 or browse Epson's range of photography and fine art printers.

Epson SureColor P800