Tips for Submitting Art for Exhibitions


You’ve read the Prospectus and your artwork is signed and complete.  Its time to complete the entry form and submit your entry, but now you’re suddenly unsure.  How is this photo of the artwork supposed to look?

Most competitions and exhibitions will have information in their prospectus or entry form on exactly what size image and filetype they’re looking for.  They’ll also in all likelihood instruct you on how to name the file.  Following these instructions closely will ensure your entry is received in good order, readily viewable and can easily enter the jury process without getting lost or being overlooked.  Badly photographed images can often lead to your entry being excluded and you missing out on the opportunity to exhibit.

We’ve put together some tips on what to do and what not to do!

Image 1 - Perfect Submission!

Image 1 is a good example of what your submission should look like. 

The image is clear, in focus, well lit and true in colour to the original artwork.  There is no frame or distracting background and unfinished borders have been cropped off.  The image is high resolution and showing no pixelation.

Image 2 - Distracting Background

Image 2 – When photographing your image, make sure you crop to only include the artwork – avoid including distracting elements around the image.  

Image 3 – Photograph the artwork before framing to avoid reflections and make sure frames are not included in your submitted image.  If you have already framed the art, make sure you crop the frame out.

Image 3 - Frames should not be Included
Image 4 - Avoid Bad Lighting and Colour Correct

Image 4 – Bad lighting can cause your images to be too dark and can also influence the colour of the image. 

Try and prop your artwork up outside in open shade.  Open shade refers to an area where it is not in direct sunlight (direct sunlight can wash out the colours on the photograph), but not under a roof or next to a bright wall casting coloured light.  I often prop my artwork up on the steps outside my studio during midmorning.  The sun is then usually high enough to avoid the very blue hue of early morning shadow, there is no direct light falling on it as the sun sits on the other side of the house and the walls surrounding it are off-white.

If at all possible use a grey card to colour correct or use your phone or free software to adjust colour to be as close to your artwork as possible.  These days the smartphones have many tools to assist with this and offers rather high resolution images.  The other option is to have your image professionally photographed or scanned.

Image 5 - Image distorted due to the Angle of the Image

Image 5 – Make sure you photograph your artwork square on to avoid distortion or skewing.

Image 6 - Low Resolution or Blurry Image

Image 6 is an example of a low quality image where details has been lost as the resolution is low.  Blurry or out-of-focus images are also a no-no as one cannot discern the details of the artwork.  Pay attention to the image size as specified in the entry information as this will allow for easy viewing.

Photographing art is not always easy, but its so important.  Aside from submitting good images for Exhibitions and Competitions, its critical to have good quality images for marketing and social media and even to submit to galleries.  

We hope these pointers have given you a clearer idea of what is needed for your submissions.  A good photo is the start of your success!