Exhibit Photo Guidance

For artists entering Saint Louis Watercolor Society’s exhibitions a photograph of your work is needed whether it be a virtual or gallery exhibit. For virtual exhibits, the juror will use your photograph so it needs to be excellent. For gallery exhibits, the photograph will be used for the catalog where quality still needs to be good. The photographs should be evenly-lit, with neutral color balance, and should clearly represent your art as if it were displayed. There should be no evidence of a frame.

Your photograph will be uploaded from this website when completing the entry process. There is an online form that includes your contact information and information about the piece – title, size, medium, description, etc. Before submitting, please check your entry information for errors. After uploading the photograph and submitting the entry information, the online fee will be paid by check sent to the STLWS PO Box or with credit card through the STLWS website shop. You will either receive an email stating that your entry was received successfully or one stating that it was not and that you need to submit again.

As with most things, it is best not to wait until the very last minute to complete a submission. When things don’t go correctly this can cause undo stress on both the submitter and the receiver. Improper submission may lead to disqualification.

You may use a camera or smart phone to take your photos. It is best to take the photo before the artwork is framed to avoid glare and reflections from the glass. However, if the artwork is already framed under glass you can still take a great photo using the tips below or use a scanning app like Google’s PhotoScan.

Tips for taking a good photo:

  • Place painting on an easel or some other stand, making sure there is no glare on the painting. An overcast day works well.
  • Set up the camera or smartphone on a tripod or some other make-shift structure so the lens in perpendicular to the painting. It is best if there is no light coming from behind the camera – a shaded area is best for the camera.
  • Check to make sure the light is evenly spread over the painting. Move the painting until it is. Try using a flash if you are having trouble.
  • A smartphone camera will adjust settings automatically, but when using a camera, manual settings usually work best. Here are some good settings: lowest ISO, aperture priority, F5 to F8, focus well, align edges of painting with the edges of the photo viewer.
  • Take multiple photos changing the focus, exposure, and distance.
  • Edit the background and/or frame out. This can be done right from the smartphone or using photo processing desktop software.

Using Google’s PhotoScan App:

  • Download the PhotoScan app from the given app store and open it.
  • To start the scan, hold your phone directly above a photo. Tap the button to take a picture. If you are close enough to the painting and the background is high enough contrast, the app will find the corners and you are finished.
  • If you would like to adjust the corners, press Adjust corners and move the four white dots until the corners are the way your desire. Choose Done.
  • You can also choose Rotate or Delete.
  • The scan is automatically saved in your photo area and can be chosen when uploading for exhibit receiving.