Portfolio Tips

Portfolio Tips

Image Resizing Information

Images must be saved as JPG files (sometimes called jpeg).

Images should be saved as RGB color mode, not CMYK. CMYK will not display properly on our equipment.

Below are generalized instruction for resizing and saving your images. Many photo editing software programs will contain these same controls, including Preview (for Apple), Paint (for PC), and Photoshop. Additional online programs can provide additional tools for free.

  • Be sure to do any cropping, color balancing, rotating, etc. BEFORE you begin the resizing process. It is best to begin with an original uncompressed file that is no smaller than 1920 pixels at 72 ppi (pixels per inch)—many cameras produce images that are much larger than this.
  • Open your image and use the option to resize.
  • Uncheck the “resample image” box
  • Set ‘Resolution’ to 96 ppi. Make sure that the drop-down on the same line is set to ‘pixels/inch.’ Our projector can display a maximum of 96 pixels per inch. Higher numbers than that create larger files sizes that take up more room in our website without any benefit to the image.
  • Recheck the “resample image” box.
  • Make sure you are viewing the image measurements in pixels. Pixels serve as digital units of measurement.
  • Make sure that the ‘Scale proportionally’ button is checked; this will keep the proportions of your image correct.
  • Then, set the longest side to 1024 pixels. 1024 is the maximum number of pixels that our projector can see.
  • Save or duplicate your image. Use the Save For Web command to make a new file with this altered image. Save for Web will also keep the file smaller than Save As. Always keep your original files separately. If given further quality options, select anything in the upper 80% of the provided range (e.g. 10 – 12, or 70 – 90). Check sRGB if given the option.
  • Choose a new name for your image and make sure that the file type is .jpg. It is a good practice for your file name to have your name in it (i.e. DoeJImaged1.jpg) and include the extension “.jpg”.

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? For outstanding work, the jury might be willing to overlook your cat in the background. For the rest of us, crisp images lend a level of seriousness and 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.