Tips and Tricks for Artists: Part 2

Last week, I wrote about websites and social media. This week, I’m going to talk about creating a portfolio, and submitting to juries. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.


ABOVE: David McDonough, Nightwatch, mixed media, 16 x 20 x 2.5 inches

Creating a Portfolio

  • Your images are important. If you can’t shoot them properly, hire someone who can.
  • If you do shoot your own work, make sure you always do so with a tripod.
  • Shoot in natural light if you can. Play around with other light sources if you can’t.
  • If possible, shoot with an external flash. Your camera’s built in flash will not do.
  • Shoot each piece many times with many (if not all) your camera’s settings. Pick the best ones.
  • Get Photoshop (or an equivalent) and learn how to use it.
  • The order in which you place your images matters.

Submitting to Juries

  • Juried shows and fairs are a great way to build your resume. When starting out, they are obligatory.
  • You should apply to many, but be weary of online competitions. I only apply to them if they’re free.
  • Pay close attention to a show’s theme/subject matter (if they have one).
  • A standard application includes: bio, statement, resume and 5-10 images. Have someone proof-read your written materials, and make sure your images are sized according to the juries’ requirements.
  • Artistry is subjective, consistency is not. Ten good images of a similar theme are better then ten excellent images of different themes.
  • Accept rejection. It will happen.

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