"Can I offer you some constructive criticism?" the officious lady loudly asked.
"No." I replied.
It didn't really matter what I said, as she intended it to offer it anyway.
"You need local interest pictures." she began (and never ended) "I think you'd catch more peoples' attention if you had some local interest here. The other photographer," she gestured to the other side of the show, "has pictures of this town. This town! That's getting him a lot of business. That's what you need. I mean from a marketing stand point. That's what I'd do."
"I..." I attempted to answer.
"Yep, these are okay, but really what people want is local interest. You know what I mean? That's what people expect."
"Okay. That's great. I know that other photographer, and that's his thing. All he has is local interest. This is my thing. Besides, I have some local interest. Just not a lot."
"Well, what you need to do is come to the town you're going to be in, take some shots beforeheand and then you'd be set."
What's sad is that she thinks that she is the only person with this idea. How did she think the other photographer got pictures of that town. He's retired, and with that time he recons places and takes local pics.
"The thing is, I already have all of these pictures, and it's not cheap to make them. I'm just starting out, I don't need to boost my inventory right now. And, I like to think they're pretty pictures and it doesn't matter where they were taken."
It was about here that this ladys friend started to flip through the 5x7s. She pulled some our showing to her friend and asked me where they were. "Gettysburg. Harper's Ferry. Boonsboro. See, maybe I don't need local interest after all."
She seemed to soften. And backpedal.
"You know what, I think you're going to do just fine." She continued to browse and repeated "You're going to do fine, honey."
Oh, God would you please buy something or leave. The whole interaction lasted far too long and earned me no money. What's nice about having my own business is that I don't have to worry about them complaining to anyone when I dismiss their suggestions immediately.
I'm often asked if I have local interest pics. And, I do have a few, but the majority are non-local. I used to apoligize for not having local pics, but I don't bother anymore. It's not my thing. At least not now. The non-local pics are what I have and if you don't like them, no one's got a gun to your head. I think I've sold enough non-local stuff to have confidence in it and I'm not too worried. People largely want pretty pictures and I like to think I have a few.
I meet all kinds at these shows and that's half of what keeps it entertaining. I hate to rant, but the local interest thing was getting to me. Thanks to all who come out and enjoy the pictures. Thanks more to those who don't ask for local interest.