booth shot 1.jpg

Here are the two photos combined. In Photoshop, I layered the darker photo on top of the lighter photo. I added a Layer Mask to the darker layer. Then I selectively erased areas of the darker layer, using a soft-edged brush on the Layer Mask, to reveal areas of the lighter photo. This is mostly the dark photo. The light photo is only used for the pots and the logo curtain.

booth shot 2.jpg

Here is the lightest photo that I took. The pots along the back wall of the display are now correctly exposed. But everything else looks obviously blown out. The canopy is still brighter than the display, and it is closer to your eye than the display, which means it draws more attention that it should. 

Here's a great article about how one artist, Mea Rhee, displays her 3D work AND how she prepares her booth shot for show applications. Notice how she raises her work to different levels. Also notice that even though she's using her white sidewalls, she adds her own touch with a nice sign. Her booth is bright and well organized. There's no clutter that confuses the eye for the customer and booth shot.

"When applying for art festivals, many shows ask for a photograph of your booth. It's not that hard to photograph an indoor booth, with controlled lighting and no weather. But shooting an outdoor booth is kind of like nature photography! It's hard to get the conditions just right, and it takes a lot of patience. You really can't use an indoor photo to apply for an outdoor show. Some shows state specifically "white canopies only" and some shows will even get picky about which brands of canopies are acceptable or not. Therefore, your booth photo must show that you can handle outdoor logistics, and that you have a decent canopy. 

I hadn't taken an outdoor booth shot in at least five years. I changed my display a lot since then, so it was time. Earlier this year, I realized there was only one show this entire year where I would have a chance to take photos during daylight hours, without any customers around. This was at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, where setup takes place starting at 6pm on the day before the show. It's the middle of summer, so the sun stays out past 8pm. All of my other outdoor shows this year had setup hours in the early morning or after dark. 

I once paid a professional to photograph my booth, but I wasn't happy with the result (he might want to ease up on the sharpening filter). However, I did learn a neat trick from him while he was shooting. He took a bracketed range of photos, from underexposed to overexposed. The final photograph was a composite of different exposures, choosing areas of each shot where the lighting was ideal. 

I had to shoot these photos around 8 pm, with the sun starting to sink. I took a bracketed range of photos. Here is a darker one. Everything here is too dark, but I like that the canopy is not glaring white, and the bright ray of sunlight on the right wall is not too glaring either."