Fine Art Photography: My First Art Festival

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The Festival for Fine Art Photography – Newport Beach

I’d been thinking of doing an art festival for awhile. The idea of getting my framed fine art photographs out on display at a gathering of artists seemed like it would be right up my alley, because, after all, the framed print is really my greatest passion in photography.

In order to test the waters a bit before I attempted a large multi-day show, I submitted my work for the Newport Beach Art in the Park at the Newport Beach Civic Center in Orange County, CA. This would be the perfect avenue to get my sea legs on this whole art festival thing – it was only one day and it was close to my home base in Tustin, CA. So if it didn’t go well, I’d only be out a Saturday and I’d be sleeping in my own bed to cry it off.

About the fine art photo video

This video chronicles my work leading up to and including the festival (and I’m happy to say there was no need to cry it off at the end of the day!). From planning to execution, I wanted to show what’s really involved in an undertaking like this. I learned a lot doing this show, but I’m sure there is still plenty more to learn.

This won’t be my last festival. Despite the immense amount of fine art photography work and expense involved, it was just too damn fun and rewarding to stop here!

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31 thoughts on “Fine Art Photography: My First Art Festival

  1. Thanks for sharing this man. I can totally relate with that self-consciousness about looking like you’re trying. The first time I had a booth at an event with my prints for sake, I was just dying. I didn’t do very well either because I wasn’t into it and so wasn’t prepared to have a good showing. Lesson learned.

  2. Nick, I think you have no idea how good you are at making these videos, please make more.
    Greetings from Mexico

  3. Aaron Palabyab thank you for the comment. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to relate to that, but I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

  4. Your videos are always impart some great tip, and are always super inspiring, and they make me want to get out there and shoot more.

    By the way, I really love your work man. Your effort shows. I think there are photographers who focus solely on the final image, while some just focus on the process of taking the image. I can tell with your work that you value both, and the journey and destination shine through in your images as well as the care and attention to detail you have.

    Thanks for making and sharing these videos, and keep up the beautiful work!

  5. I enjoyed the video Nick. I’ve done some festivals in the past and found that it was indeed a very rewarding experience talking to the people and sharing my work. One thing that was a bit disappointing through was seeing the sort of work that was selling. There were a lot of over-processed images that were being printed way too big. You could see the rough edges of selections, sloppy use of photoshop, and colors that were literally falling apart because the saturation was cranked way too high. I looked at that work, then my own, and came to the conclusion that if that is the sort of work that sells, I really don’t want to be in that category. There wasn’t a lot of originality — the same sort of photos again and again, and people were rewarded for printing the biggest and having the most saturated colors. I did get a few sales out of it here and there, but there was so much effort involved that I did the shows for only 4 years before I called it quits.

    What I really like about your work is how classy and clean the images are. The black and white multi-exposure prints in particular turned out fantastic, and I can definitely see why they sold. Vey well done sir!

  6. Justin Le wow, man, thank you very much. Your comments here really make me feel good about making these videos. It’s one thing to know that viewers appreciate them for entertainment value, but I’m especially glad to know that I might encourage others to shoot and/or print more. Thanks for watching and for taking the time to comment.

  7. Stephen Lloyd yeah you’re absolutely right. I sometimes revert to the more popular “epic style” just because it’s fun to do when the conditions are right. However, in general I’ve found I get more joy in the challenge of creating something that breaks out of that mold.

  8. I agree with “do it because you want to do it.” I feel drawn to watch other people doing something they love to do. I don’t think it matters what they’re doing, as long as they are enjoying it. It’s that energy; that vibe. I not only see something beautiful, I can feel it. Enjoyment is a feeling and I think that emotion is captured by the artist’s work. Thanks for the video, I appreciate it.

  9. I learned a long time ago that in chasing trends you’re always late for dinner. Do what you love, do it well, and some day, when it is your turn, you will be the first one sitting down to a new feast. In the meantime, never disparage the current trend. Enjoy it for what it is and how different it is from what you love.

  10. Really liked the video! I am not planning on doing any art festivals anytime soon, since I am just getting used to my Mamiya RB67, but it was really exciting and inspiring to see someone else do it. Thank you for being so open and sharing your experience with us. Great tip about not sitting in the booth by yourself, scaring the people away. I am sure I would be doing the same.

  11. Man, Nick, I’ve just watched three of your videos in a row, and I gotta say I flat out love your content. Your genuineness and casual charisma really comes through in these videos which I’ve found really informative and fun to watch. Keep it up!

  12. Thanks for video, Nick! You are inspiring me to do my first art fair! Thanks for setup tutorial! Not sure what tent setup yet, but thanks for ideas.

  13. Congrats on the sale Nick. I like your thematic presentation. It lends cohesiveness to the art work.

  14. I have been thinking about joining the art festival scene. One thing I noticed was the over processed images, especially the HDR images (makes me puke). That being said, I love going to them and talking about photography and really trying to learn how some people make it. I want to learn their process and what makes it POP. I often get the feeling they only talk to you to make a sale and not because they are interested in the art. Some people I get that instant vibe where they genuinely don’t care about if they sell an item and are just happy to share what they do and love that someone takes a genuine interest in how they do.

    If I do ever do an art festival I think I will do things differently. I’d love to set up a demonstration booth with a laptop or whatever demonstrating the process. I want to limit the number of prints I bring to the plate because I’d rather people buy it for the love and not the novelty.

  15. Nick, this was such a great discussion and appreciate how you shared your feelings on “trying” and in general the whole art show scene. I really think you have it right in thinking that the next logical step with your craft is showing your work. Thanks for sharing your journey! Peace.

  16. @Nick Carver Exactly – “Peter Lik cover bands” makes me sad when I go to festivals. I’ve been tempted to give one a try and have a couple of folks who’ve tried to encourage me to give it a try but I just can’t quite decide how to approach it. This video and the newer one have given me some things to think about. Thanks.

  17. You’ve created a really special channel Nick. It is really enjoyable see you shoot on these old film cameras, see you create all the print work and build the result yourself and then see it actually here now on the festival – thanks for creating these videos, it must be a tremendous amount of work that many people probably never see. Greetings from Germany, Dirkson!

  18. I so enjoyed this! I stumbled on it and couldn’t stop watching. Love the way you reason and share. Also, I like your work so I guess I’ll learn more because now I’m subscribing ;-). Thanks, and yeah it was actually very inspirational.

  19. I really enjoy your videos Nick!! So casual and informative!! You have the perfect personality for instructional videos and your Art is amazing!! Thanks!

  20. Be happy for the Peter Lik cover bands and all the artists that copycat each other. They help your art stand out and be different from the crowd.

  21. Nick – I just found your channel and I’m really loving it. Your style is honest, calm, and informative and your work is great! Looking forward to watching more of your videos…

  22. I’m an amateur digital enthusiast. However I love watching your work as well as other film photographers.
    It’s so different and refreshing. Glad that the Art Festival went well and hopefully more of them in the future 😆👍

  23. Hey! 1st time watching a video on ur channel. I was doing some editing and stopped my work to listen to what you had to say…especially towards the end. It was really inspiring and very transparent of you to share that with the world. I have done 2 art shows but never really made much …but liked doing it…it made me feel like I did something big. I will invest in my passion from now on simply because I believe it deserves it🙂…and I wish you would do a workshop on creativelive or something about using film cuz i didn’t understand anything you said towards the beginning of the video lol…great video, appreciate it!💞

  24. Another great video Nick. You’re so inspiring to me and I can tell you put so much thought and effort into your art and that’s what makes it great. Not everyone does that. I especially love these fine art videos and your on site photo shoots. So great and inspiring. For someone like me who’s dealing with an illness it’s so valuable to find inspiration and something to keep me going. Thank you for giving me that. Please make more videos.

  25. Trying is so damn scary. It is akin to bearing one’s soul and saying “this is the best I have to offer”. At that point you are open to any and all criticism, and ultimately as artists we can tend to judge works of art, especially our own, against some imaginary bar set by the masters of our medium. The surprising thing about it is how others are much better at seeing what is good in our work, and after a few times it gets so much less scary. As a musician performing I recall being so utterly focused on and tortured by my mistakes that I almost quit, until I finally realised that I was literally the only person who cared about them. I’m on the verge of producing my first real photographic works for public consumption at the moment. I know that this will be the scariest part. In regards to what you said about you trying to be inspirational, you are a massive inspiration! Your passionate and good humored approach to life and your artform are so admirable. Keep rockin bruh

  26. A great guy, so laid back but hugely informative and inspiring. I did a university course in fine art photography, did exhibitions in London and sold prints, and like you I get super excited about creating that final object, the print. Now retired from my career of furniture design and making, living in southern France, I’ve let slip my time spent on photography, especially using my Shen Hao 4×5 view camera, as I work on my newly acquired house and build a large new woodshop here at home (to continue another of my passions, this time furniture for myself instead of clients) so that coming upon your videos is inspiring me so enormously and reminding me of how so much (?) I love doing landscape photography. For this, I thank you!

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