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

  1. 1. If there are no specifications, size images at no larger than1MB, 150dpi- a good middle range, and don’t use a PDF format.
    2. Make sure that the information you provide answers any possible questions that they may have:
    / Where is the art in this image? or Where does the art start and end?
    / Is this the same artist?
    / Whose image is this?
    / What is this made of?
    / What size is it?
    3. Never send original images. Duplicate images and send copies.
    4. If upload very large images to website, 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.

  2. This assignment and reading was a great exercise in submitting work. It is so true that everyone has their own specific guidelines, that vary ever so slightly, for submitting work. As of recently, I remember submitting work into slideroom when I was thinking about transfer schools. I had to change the MB of many of my images because they were larger than the size limit.

  3. Sizing images has always been a huge struggle. I have often had others doing it for me. Knowing this will help me cut the middle person and have control over how my work is being presented. I really hope to make my wordpress website a work of art. Knowing how to upload the proper sized images is the first step!

  4. Again, sizing the images is the part I struggle with most so this post was also helpful in getting me to understand a bit more. It was also helpful to note that if you keep uploading large images to websites, it will significantly slow it down. That was something I’d never really considered as I’ve yet to make a website for myself. And, in general per post, I appreciate that you give your take on a topic as well as including several links. I like having multiple sources to refer to because if I’m not understanding one, I may be able to relate to another better.

  5. This assignment and series of reading has completely made me rethink how I photograph and store my digital files. When I went back to look at my files to post, I found that most of my images were in all different sizes and I had to go through and resize images, this made for more time than I anticipated. So if an application asks for 10 images OR LESS, would you ever send less than 10 images or would you always send the maximum number of images to give the person on the other side the most amount of information? The advice I was given was sometimes it is best not to submit all the images especially if adding more images will hurt your portfolio.

  6. I did not know that one could be doing better or worse in a social media algorithm simply based on the image’s size. The attached articles did a good job of allowing me to further see just how important being aware of your image size could be, and I will have to pay more attention to that from now on. In terms of questions, I wonder where the duplicated images of a different size should be stored?

  7. I had never thought about how different galleries need specific image sizes and not just that you can submit a “good quality” size as long as it’s at least 300 ppi.

    What should you do if they want you to submit through email certain size images, but the images are too large and the files won’t send?

  8. Is it important to make a more cohesive image list? this writing talks about ensuring that the art all appears to be from one artist, so what if the works vary quite substantially? shouldn’t the image info explain this well enough?

  9. I was unaware of several of those other file sharing platforms, good to know.
    I have piles of the same images in different folders for different applications, all different sizes…. How do you organize photos and how do you limit your duplication though drafts and copies etc.

  10. I did not consider that the people reviewing my portfolio would look through 1000 Photos. This makes me consider how clear my photos should be about intention and direction.

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