Portfolio Tips

Portfolio Tips

Image Tips

  • Images must be submitted as jpgs (sometimes called jpeg) or pngs.
  • Make sure to save your edited image with a different file name, so that if you make a mistake, you still have the original file.
  • Be sure to do any cropping, color balancing, rotating, etc. BEFORE you begin the resizing process.
  • Do not include your name, or any other text on your images
  • Do not create ‘collages’ of your images, e.g. having two views of one piece in one image.
  • Resize your images to 1500 px on the shortest side with a resolution of 300 ppi.
  • Image files should be labeled with last name, first initial, and numbers, indicating your preferred viewing order (example: DoeJImage1.jpg).

Technical questions can be directed to Amanda Dobbratz at amandadobbratz@northernclaycenter.org.

Video Uploading

You may choose to upload video work samples, provided that the video is a work sample or documentation of an installation or physical work that cannot be portrayed by a still image, and not a biographical piece, documentary, or process video. Our image guidelines stipulate 30 seconds exchange for 1 still image.

  • Please upload your video to sites such as youtube.com or vimeo.com using information found on their sites.
  • Once the upload is completed the site will send you an email to notify you that your video is done uploading and processing.
  • Include a link to the video in your image list, and email your links to nccinfo@northernclaycenter.org after submitting your application.

Documenting Work &
Building a Portfolio

Giving general advice about building a portfolio is risky business and can be taken with a grain of salt. The most important advice: be yourself, be confident in your work, plan ahead, and ask for help where you need it.

  • The goal of photographing your work for our submissions should be to eliminate any distractions and show your work at its finest. Many artists shoot their work on white or gradient black backdrops. Dirty and wrinkled backdrops should be avoided.
  • Does photography matter? Crisp images lend a level of intent to your application. We want your work to be viewed in the best way possible and often the only representation we have is that one image. The internet abounds with tips, tricks, and DIY solutions to provide even lighting from daylight or household lamps, and using inexpensive paper backdrops rather than fabric, carpet, or your kitchen counter. While professional photography is certainly a privilege, it is not always accessible. Take your time and plan appropriately for supplies and time to photograph and edit.
  • The work in your portfolio should flow from one image to the next. It can be difficult for the jury to understand you as an artist if your portfolio jumps from figurative work to functional pots to abstract sculpture. You might also consider having all of your images the same shape (landscape versus portrait) and all shot on a similar background (white versus gray). This might mean leaving out work that you’re very proud of, in order to keep your application more concise and effective.
  • Strike a balance of work that shows your most current interests and your past achievements. The jury is interested to see what you’re currently pursuing and what you have done in the past (and how they might be related), but does not need to see your full arc of growth and development.
  • Keep in mind that this portfolio is not a commercial pitch or social media campaign. Individual jurors will vary, but in general we prefer to see pots themselves, not a staged shot, e.g., your pots being used for breakfast. Of course, if your proposal is about social events using your pots, or you’re asking for funding for website development and professional photography, etc., it might be helpful to have these examples.
  • Ask a trusted friend or mentor to review your portfolio and application with you, or contact your local regional arts council (listed in the resources section) or Springboard for the Arts. Our program manager is also available to review and advise on your submission with at least two weeks before the grant deadline. Contact us at nccinfo@northernclaycenter.org.