Member Resources

Image Requirements and Photographing Your Work

Most of us have struggled with our cameras trying to take a photograph that accurately represents our work. A good image can make or break the chances of getting into an exhibition and good digital photos are also a powerful marketing tool. Previous Gallery Manager, Helen Duckworth, discusses what is expected of artists, when photographing their artwork for online submissions, to make sure your image meets the below listed requirements and your submissions don't fall at the first hurdle.


Image requirements:

  • The image must be a true copy of the original art work in values, intensity and colour.
  • File format must be JPEG (.jpg) only. Non-JPG files will NOT be converted by the Gallery.
  • Minimum 24-bit true colours.
  • Please ensure the image you upload is cropped so that only the painting/image is visible. Use a photo or image editing program to remove unwanted parts, such as frames or borders.

  • The minimum pixel size is 1500 on the longest side (for a portrait image, the height should be this size or greater, and for Landscape, the width will have to be that size or greater in pixels) at 300 ppi.
  • We recommend a pixel size of 2000 pixels on the largest dimension (either height or width).

  • The the maximum file size is 24MB. If your image file size is greater than this, use a photo or image editing program to reduce the size of the image before uploading.


Photographing Images for Online Submission


In the following photographs, we have given examples of things to avoid when photographing your artwork ready for submission. We’ve used SFCA member Donna Baspaly’s mixed media piece “Doorway to the Past” to illustrate how not to take pictures for submissions. We did this fantastic work an injustice to show just how important a good submission photograph is.




Underexposed with shadow, background, frame and matte:


Even if this piece was taken with clarity it would be declined for jury as it includes the matting, frame and background. Make sure your uploaded photographs include only the artwork itself.



Underexposed with flash reflection, frame and matte:


To solve the issue of under exposure, many artists utilise flashes on their digital camera, which as you can see here not only doesn’t solve the problem, it creates an additional issue by creating a flash reflection.




You can solve the under exposure issue by playing with your camera’s aperture and shutter speed settings. Be careful though, open them up and extend them too long and you run the risk of overexposure. This makes for washed out images that don’t reflect content or colours correctly.


Glare and Reflection:


Glare and reflections happen when you leave your artwork under glass and attempt to photograph from a well-lit area.


Flash and Reflections:


In addition to the previous issues, we’ve got a flash going off here. Many digital cameras have auto flash settings, be sure to learn how to adjust and turn yours off to avoid this problem.


Matting angle:


Almost, but we can still see the matting and your image is taken at an angle, making the image appear distorted.


No matting angle:


Even without the matting in the shot, if your photograph is taken at an angle there is a marked difference between the image submitted and actual image as it is intended to be seen.


Well taken:


Accurate colours, good exposure, no extraneous background, no matting, no shadows, glare reflection or frame, this image is ready to be uploaded for jury! See what a difference a good photograph makes? “Doorway to the Past” comes alive and speaks to jurors through their screens fully reflecting the intention and skill of the artist.


Shortened version of the article "Photographing Images for Online Submission" for the "Devil is in the Details Series" first published within the July/August 2015 issue of Art Avenue.


Image Courtesy of Donna Baspaly, SFCA, Doorway to the Past, 29 ½ x 38 ½, Mixed Media.