Application Tips

Applying to TOAF? Here are some useful tips to help you prepare your submission.

1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

  • Valid files types: .jpeg or .png.
  • Maximum size: images should be 72 dpi and no larger than 1024 x 1024 pixels and 4mb (max) in size. Images that exceed this size will be automatically resized to fit and may be distorted.  
  • Minimum size: no less than 500 x 500 pixels (height & width) and 72 dpi
  • File Names: should be named as follows: YOUR NAME_IMAGE NUMBER OR TITLE_YEAR

Don’t neglect your images! Your images are an important part of your application. You may only submit 7 images of your work so they need to be eye catching!

Images should be high-resolution, clear, in-focus and well-lit so that the jury can properly assess your work. Jurors will be viewing applications from a projector in a dark room. Take a fews test shots, review them on your computer, and make sure that they are oriented in the proper direction before uploading your images.

We recommend hiring a professional photographer to document your work, if you don’t have experience making digital images. If that is not an option, here are a some tips for shooting good images yourself:  

  • We don't recommend that you use your phone camera to capture this work! Ask a friend or colleague to borrow their camera. Cell phone photos are more prone to distortion.
  • Photograph your work in a room with soft, even light. Avoid direct hard lighting.
  • If possible, on a soft cloudy, diffused day, take your work outside to photograph.
  • Do not include any distracting background; crop your work.
  • If your work is framed or has a glossy finish, do not use the direct flash on your camera.  
  • Put the work flat against a wall at a 45-degree angle to a window with indirect light.  Use a tripod to adjust for the angle.
  • Choose the correct white balance to make sure that your colours do not get distorted.

For more tips, check out this great video from Satchii Online about how to photograph your art

2. Cohesiveness is Key

The images you submit should be a single cohesive body of work that you intend to show at the Exhibition. The works you submit should relate to each other visually, with a similar style and subject matter. If you make different kinds of work in different media (e.g. painting, collage, sculpture) don’t include them all. Your application should focus on 1 medium only. Want to exhibit on more than one category? No problem! You can submit up to 3 applications in different exhibition categories (fees apply). We strongly recommend tailoring each application to each exhibition category you are applying under.

3. Start Strong, End Strong

Your images must be strong and the order in which you present the images is important. The order that you upload your images is the order that the jurors will see. You need to provide 7 images so consider which order to submit them to wow the jurors. When you are uploading your images, select your strongest image to upload first - this will be your ‘feature image’ and the first image jurors see. Similar to a job interview, you want to start and end strong.

4. The Booth, the Whole Booth, and Nothing but the Booth

Don’t skip your booth/grouping image. It is as important as the rest of your submission material. Why do we need a booth image you ask? We ask for it because the Jury wants to see how your work will be displayed and how it will look at the show. Your booth image also allows jurors to get a better sense of the scale of your work. Your booth image should be:

  • professional looking 
  • free of clutter
  • with no people (including yourself), or signage with your business/artist name, in the shot

The booth image may not be digitally created. It should be an accurate representation of the display you will bring to the Exhibition.

Here is a great example of a strong booth shot

Image courtesy of Lizz Aston

Why is it Good?

  • It is clean and free of clutter and people, allowing jurors to see the pieces in the booth.
  • The works are arranged symmetrically along the same sight line and evenly lit.
  • The picture is taken straight on, using a tripod, and cropped to the edges of the canopy which helps make your work stand out.

Click here for more advice on how to photograph your booth.

5. Don’t have a booth photo? No problem!

If you don’t have a booth image from a previous show, you can provide a grouping image of the pieces you are submitting. Your grouping image should give jurors a sense of the scale of your pieces. Works should be installed against a neutral backdrop, without furniture or other objects in the way. Two-dimensional work should be installed directly on a wall as a grouping. For three-dimensional work, you can make your own ‘mock’ display using a table top with a neutral tablecloth. To avoid unwanted reflections, don’t use a flash. A sampling/similar artwork to your first 7 images should be included in your booth/installation photo.  You do not have to include all 7 images in your installation image, a sampling of 3-4 is okay, depending on the size of your artwork.
Good Luck! 

Booth Shot Alternatives:

Image courtesy of Simone Collins

Image courtesy of Luc Bergeron