Creative Entrepreneurship

Photograph: Mark Strozier/Alamy

Photograph: Mark Strozier/Alamy

Evil is a bit strong, but it’s hard for me to imagine anyone, even professional photographers, not stressing over photographs of their work to be submitted for acceptance into an art fair. Photographers have the technicalities down, but I’m guessing they still worry about content.

My modus operandi the last couple of years has been to assemble a fresh set of photos for that year’s jury photos. It helps me look at what I submitted the previous year, so I can be sure to show new work, to show growth as an artist.

This is my Sticky Notes jury photo from 2013. I like everything about this piece, the colors, the complexity of the pattern.

This is my Sticky Notes jury photo from 2013. I like everything about this piece, the colors, the complexity of the pattern.

This is my Sticky Notes jury photo for this year. The stitching isn't very complex at all but  it's different from last year and I know people love the songbird motif, it's been a good seller for me.

This is my Sticky Notes jury photo for this year. The stitching isn’t very complex at all but it’s different from last year and I know people love the songbird motif, it’s been a good seller for me.

What I am newly working on is trying to make sure the entire photo looks good. I tend to focus on the subject only. That’s how stuff like this happens.

See that brown shadow on the right? Yeah, I know. Guess what happens when that gets blown up to poster size? It's ALL I can see. :::cringe:::

See that brown shadow on the right? Yeah, I know. Guess what happens when that gets blown up to poster size? It’s ALL I can see. :::cringe:::

At least I can say I'm learning a little. I spotted that dark shadow at the top of the 1st photo and got rid of it. Of course, that was after I sent it to two shows. Baby steps, people.

At least I can say I’m learning a little. I spotted that dark shadow at the top of the 1st photo and got rid of it. Of course, that was after I sent it to two shows. Baby steps, people.

As many of you know, I help organize the Maplewood Y Craft Show, held each October. (Applications are online and due June 30.) Last year was the first year the show was juried. Organizer Sara Senour and I pretended to be jurors, just for the experience. It was eye-opening and Sara wrote a guest post about it.

Based on that experience of seeing a wide range of photos, good and bad, I decided to try something new this year. I included one very close-up photo of my stitching, so the jury can see the stitches individually and really grasp the technique used. The stitching fills the photo, you can’t even tell what the piece is (though I explain in the caption, where possible).

Good or bad idea - remains to be seen. I'm hoping the visible detail outweighs the fact that there's no context. (This piece is 9" in diameter and will be framed in a 12" x 12" frame. It's a gift.)

Good or bad idea – remains to be seen. I’m hoping the visible detail outweighs the fact that there’s no context. (This piece is 9″ in diameter and will be framed in a 12″ x 12″ frame. It’s a gift.)


The photos in this post were resized to appear correctly on Facebook. The images I send to shows are much larger. I’m not a pro, not by a long-shot, but I’ve become much more familiar with a free online photo editing program, PicMonkey. (I actually use the paid version now, you get a few more features and options.)

The other upside to sending clear, large photos is that shows are always looking for photos to use in their advertising of the show. Kind of a nice ego-boost when that happens – and makes it even more fun to promote shows you’re in.

And yes, I’m still nervous every time I apply to a juried show. Heck, I’m even nervous putting these photos “out there” on this blog post!

Please share any good tips & trick you’ve had success with, in the comments.

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Comments on: "Jury Photos, a Necessary Evil" (1)

  1. […] ← Jury Photos, a Necessary Evil June 26, 2014 · 7:33 pm ↓ Jump to Comments […]

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