Photographing Your Artwork - Advice

Your time on the screen will be very short, perhaps only a few seconds. Make the most of that brief time to communicate the quality of your work.


  • Keep backgrounds simple. Don’t use busy textures or outdoor scenes behind your items. The object itself should stand out clearly.
  • Use the same background for all of your slides.
  • Keep white space to a minimum – it can be distracting. Too much white space can draw a juror’s eye away from your work.


  • Images must be sharp and well composed.
  • Choose an angle that adds a degree of dynamism to the item, but don’t go overboard.
  • Come in close. Fill the frame, but don’t crop the item.
  • Work that fits the format of the slide or image has an advantage over work that does not. For example, a very long thin item will look small in a large rectangular space, while an object that naturally fits the space will appear larger and show more detail.
  • The eye will be drawn to the brightest and sharpest parts of the image. Use that to your advantage. Be sure that there is a satisfying amount of detail in those areas.


  • Images should have a full tonal range. Watch for overexposed (washed out) or underexposed (dark or muddy) areas.
  • Don’t let shadows obscure the details. Use them as a means of producing depth or showing texture.
  • Use the correct film or digital camera setting for your lighting. Incorrect settings will result in images with false color.

Selecting the Group:

  • Choose consistency over variety. Avoid confusing the juror with too great a range of styles or techniques.
  • Choose slides that complement each other, and have a flow, or relationship with each other.
  • Look at the interaction between your images. If possible have your first slide introduce the group and the last slide summarize the group. This may help the juror stay focused on your group of images.


  • Models can have a strong influence a juror’s initial reaction to your work. Work with a professional, if possible.
  • An artful crop can draw attention to your work and away from the model, but it also can be distracting. Use caution.
  • Use models when photographing wearable art only.

Detail views

  • Detail slides can be useful if a close-up view will give the juror a greater appreciation and understanding of the quality of the workmanship
  • Detail views do count as part of your slide total, so use them only if you feel it is absolutely necessary. 


  • Never leave tags or identifying labels on your items.
  • Don’t include a ruler or other item for scale unless specifically instructed to do so.
  • One item per slide is standard. If you have a very good reason to group items, keep the number to four or less. Don’t submit more than two group slides.