Thursday, November 5, 2009

Promoting Your Art Via Images of It

Aside from avoiding excuses, not being afraid to ask questions, and remembering to say thank you, you need to think about how you're representing yourself and your art. In this post I'm going to touch on the importance of having good, quality images of your work.

It is crucial that you have images of your current work and that those images do it justice. People will likely see more images of your artwork than your actual artwork itself, between promoting your work to galleries and publicizing it to viewers. So it is very important that your images are accurate representations of your work and make you look good.

I don't really have much to say on this topic except that it really really needs to be a priority. Keep in mind that high quality images are a must. This may be the only way some people see your artwork at all, so make sure to provide an accurate representation that reflects well on yourself and your art. If you don't feel you can do a good job shooting images of your artworks, then hire someone to do so. Make sure to arrange licensing & copyright agreements and payment in advance so that you have permissions to use the images of your artwork for publicity, promotion and to apply for opportunities.

Slides are becoming less common and digital images are used for pretty much everything nowadays. There is no standardized format for submitting digital images as it varies vastly from opportunity to opportunity, so always follow directions when submitting digital images to shows and galleries. It reflects poorly on yourself and decreases the likelihood that you will be considered when your files are improperly labeled, corrupted or saved in the wrong format or size. Check to be certain that your images are readable. It helps to look at your submission from multiple computers if possible to make sure that your files open and are readable and to see what your artwork looks like on different monitors, since that can change how color and detail is conveyed depending on screen size, resolution, type, brightness and so forth.

Digital images used for printed materials need to be much higher quality and greater resolution than those viewed on a computer monitor, so make sure you have an idea of what the image will be used for. It is also generally preferred that images used for print have fewer effects applied to improve them, except when those effects are used to create the artwork itself, since that can have a big impact on print quality. So it is far better to shoot good images in the first place than to correct them drastically later on when considering printed materials. And be aware that some print opportunities specify that images need to be saved in different file formats than you may be accustomed to otherwise, so don't always assume that you can send along a jpeg and be done with it and keep in mind that saving from one file format to another can alter the image quality.

Another consideration is where the images of your artworks will be viewed and by whom. If you or your representatives plan to post high resolution images online in the public domain, it is a good idea to watermark them with your copyright information to prevent others from using or printing them without your permission. Also consider whether or not your work can be traced back to you - I have gotten numerous emails about really cool art that people have forwarded so many times that there is nothing more than a string of images of artworks without any information about the artist or where to find more of the artist's work.

I recognize that I do not have the highest quality images of my work and so am not really the best source of advice on this topic. I prefer to shoot everything myself and do so on a regular basis to keep as many current artworks on file as possible so I can promote and submit them. I use my best pictures of my work to represent my art and myself for publicity purposes, and I tend not to post super high resolution images online so as to not draw attention to their imperfections.

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