Submitting and Posting Digital Images

Submitting Digital Images

Most applications will call for specific image sizes. Pay careful attention to these specifications. If you do not follow these rules, many places will disqualify you from the pool of applicants. There are many ways people ask for images. Pay attention to file size and type specifications. If there are no specifications, size your images at no larger that 1MB, 150dpi- a good middle range. I do not recommend submitting your images as pdf’s- keep them as jpegs unless otherwise instructed. Many places, if not using Slideroom or CaFE, will put all the jpegs into a powerpoint for the jury process.

Now, The administrative functions of much of the art world change at a much slower pace than the technological world. It takes a long time to reboot an infrastructure. the rules you are asked to abide by in a given application may seem ridiculous to you.

I’m going to take a step back here and talk a bit about empathy. Your art is the center of your universe. It is not too far of a stretch then to naturally expect that your art is the center of another person’s universe as well.

It’s not.

Most galleries, art fairs, exhibition and sales venues are understaffed. This is a simple truth. Each venue comes up with a formula in their applications to streamline the process on their end. When your work is done, you are not done. This is a good time to step outside of studio mode and begin to consider your audience- from galleries to collectors.

Why do I have to resize my images every single time?! Images sizes are specific to make it easier to for the venue to put them all in one place for viewing. More than one person is likely deciding who is “in” and who is “out”. Many places use SlideRoom for this process. Others us services like Dropbox, or Hightail or WeTransfer. Sometimes venues want you to put everything into a pdf. Some still use email! From there, your images are either viewed using one of the aforementioned services, or by putting them all into a PowerPoint presentation. Image sizes matter. Do whatever you can to make life easier for the recipient. Imagine some poor (most likely intern) having to resize thousands of images. If you add an extra step to their process, you will either be eliminated, or your images will be manipulated incorrectly, or “lost”.

This goes for your documents as well. Do whatever you can to make it easier for those on the receiving end. Follow the directions AND make sure your name is on every single page.

  • email: will work for many, though while gmail offers the ability to send and receive large images, most servers will not send, and many will not receive large files.
  • google drive: while a little cumbersome to use, google drive is a great way to share images
  • Dropbox: a great file sharing service, lots of free storage, though not endless. Paid plans up to a TB
  • WeTransfer: free and fairly user friendly
  • Hightail: free or paid plans
  • SlideRoom: most commonly used, though the applicant has to pay a processing fee
  • CaFE: similar to SlideRoom, also asks for a processing fee


Keep in mind that jurors, museum curators, art dealers, and art administrators sometimes look at thousands of images at one time. Make sure that the information you provide answers any possible questions that they may have. Some of the questions that come up when viewing images are:

“Where is the art in this image?” or “Where does the art start and end?” If your background image overwhelms the art it will be hard to see the work. As we suggested previously, use neutral grey, white, or black backgrounds, and avoid fancy backdrops. Do not set your painting on a chair in your yard, and include the chair and yard in your image. If you must do this, then be sure to crop the image digitally before submitting it.

“Is this the same artist?” Try not to confuse the viewer with work that is so varied in nature that it looks like multiple artists made it.

“Whose image is this?”Always include your name on the title of the file unless otherwise instructed.

“What is this made of?”If you can, include this information on the annotated image list. Include the materials if at all possible, don’t just write “mixed media.”

“What size is it?”You may be surprised at how often a viewer cannot tell the size of a work. Be sure to include this  information if it is not clear in the image. This is why some artists will include an installation view with a person in it for scale.

Always follow directions. If the application asks for 10 images, send ten and only ten images. Sending more means you cannot follow directions. Only submit requested materials. DO NOT submit additional materials.

Never send original images. Duplicate your images and send copies.

Posting images:

 Websites: Just as we discussed earlier, it’s a great idea to read the directions. Each web platform has information out there on how to optimize your images for their particular platforms. See below for some links about common platforms. Later on in the class we will talk about the various ways to get your work out there via websites and social media. For our purposes today, let’s just talk about some basics standards. These standards have changed so fast so its a good idea to stay up on these things. Until very recently, it was discouraged to try to upload anything larger than 800 pixels wide- now, it’s suggested that you use 2500 pixels wide or even higher. Screens are getting bigger, and websites are becoming more responsive to the changes in size.  BUT…. If you upload very large images to your website, your website will slow down when those images are viewed by your visitors. The solution is to learn how to optimize (trim images down to size) before you upload them.

Please take a dive into the following links. There is so much great information out there.

Resizing an image: Squarespace
Resizing images for web photografica *THIS ONE IS REALLY GOOD

So that was websites. What about social media? As with websites, we will go into more depth later on in the course. For now, and as far as social media pertains to images, here are a couple current pointers. In general, here are the best sizes for sharing images on social media.

  • Facebook – 1,200 x 628
  • Twitter – 1,024 x 576
  • Instagram – 1,080 x 1,080
  • LinkedIn – 552 x 368
  • Pinterest – 600 x 900
  • Google+ – 800 x 320

10 thoughts on “Submitting and Posting Digital Images

Leave a Reply