In early October, I dipped my toes very gently back into the ‘world of work’, with a stand at my local NCT baby fair.
Bookings-wise, it proved a success. But not only that, I realised that it was a needed change for me. Sam took both the boys, so for four child-free hours, I was able to do my own thing. I haven’t had that much time to myself in a good while, certainly not in the five months since Rory’s been here.
At the moment, I’m not really feeling the Stay At Home Mum thing. I know not to take it for granted, I know it is a privilege, and that I won’t get this time back again. But the truth is, that recently, the role has been making me anxious and a bit panicky. Sometimes, I think I’d like to have a job where I get to be myself for a while.
Anyway. The point of this post is to talk about how I set up my photography stand. Having never exhibited my work before, and having limited memories of how other photographers have displayed their images, I was a little unsure of the best (and also most budget-effective) way to go about it.
Thanks to an unhealthy habit of picking up a new frame every time I go to IKEA, I have a decent collection of white picture frames at home. So I swapped the existing prints out for some of my favourite portraits. I wanted a big banner so that people could see what my stall was about on first glance. And I wanted to print a portfolio for people to flick through.
I got everything printed at Photobox, and they kindly gave me the photobook free of charge for the purpose of this review. I chose the A4 Lay Flat photobook, which was perfect for display purposes as I could leave the book open on any page and it would stay in place.
I use Photobox for a lot of my personal prints, so I’m already a fan of their service, but I have to give them extra credit for this particular order. I was smugly confident that I’d ordered my photobook well in advance of the baby fair. Actually, due to my own rushing (have I mentioned I’m pretty short on time at the moment?), I had neglected to press the final button to complete my order. I only realised this fact when I got an email from Photobox to say I still had items in my basket ready for checkout. Photobooks take 5+ days to print, and the new ETA was the day after the baby fair. I used the ‘live chat’ option on the website to rather anxiously ask exactly just how accurate these timing estimates are. Pretty accurate, came the response, but they offered to upgrade my postage option free of charge to next day courier delivery, just in case the book was ready before the estimate (I didn’t mention that this was a review product). In the end, the book arrived just in time on the morning of the event, so I was very grateful for the courier delivery.
Vibrant colours and black and whites printed really well in the photobook, but skin tones came out more red than the creamy tones I’d worked to achieve in Photoshop. Confusingly, I used the exact same files to order prints for the frames, and those turned out perfectly – so maybe there is a different printing method used to print the photobooks compared to the printing method used for enlargement prints. However, this seems to be more of a picky photographer point – to anyone who hadn’t spent time editing these photos, ie, anyone but me, the colour differences weren’t noticeable, and I lost count of the lovely comments I received as people flicked through the photobook.
The poster was exactly was I was after. It was the first time I’d printed those particular images at that size, and they remained sharp and good quality. The photobook is smart and striking, the lay flat feature works really effectively. The Photobox customer service continues to impress me.
I love that I now have a ready-to-go display, so I’m fully prepared the next time an advertising opportunity crops up. And I love doing ‘my own thing’.