Juried shows have been on my mind lately. First of all, because I've been busy filling out show applications right and left. And, secondly, to my great surprise, I've been asked to be an Invited Artist to the 2011 CraftBoston shows. My first reaction to the email was that they sent it to the wrong person. My second was doing a really happy dance and my third was relief that I wouldn't have to finish my CraftBoston JAS application!
Which brings me back to the topic of applying to a juried show. Having done a few in my time and having been a juror for several local art and craft shows and organizations, I can't emphasize enough the importance of good photos. If you can afford it, have some professionally done. But you can also take really good photos on your own. Take some time to read your camera manual. Research on the web - there some really good tips at TableTopStudio.com. If nothing else, at least:
- use the Manual setting on your camera
- turn off the flash
- turn on the Macro (for sharp close-ups)
- up the white balance so your pictures are slightly overexposed
- use 'center weighted metering' so you can choose where to focus
- set your camera to the biggest pixel size and the finest resolution
- invest in high quality daylight bulbs of at least 2100 lumens.
- Use a lightbox
If you use the correct settings and have good lighting, you shouldn't have to correct your pictures too much. You don't need invest in Photoshop - I use Picasa (free) to edit and organize all my photos. Pixel size and resolution is important. You want a nice big picture with good resolution, but you don't necesarily want to email or attach such a big file to an application. Resize to around 1000 pixels and 300 DPI. I use a neat freeware tool, fastone.org, to adjust size and resolution.
Once you have the pictures set, take some time to really think about your product descriptions and artist statement. Write several versions - what you send to CraftBoston will be very different than what you submit to Bazaar Bizarre!
Selecting the photos you submit to a jury is also tough. Some people think that you should submit a variety of items to show your artistic range. Personally, I think jurors prefer to see consistency in the work and a definitive voice.
Applying to shows has a learning curve. A good exercise is to register on JAS and Zapp. Load up some pictures, write some descriptions and get your portfolio started. You may never apply to the higher end shows that use these services, but the experience will sure help when filling out the application for your local juried art festival!