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Professionally Presenting Your Work Digitally

laptop table artist ideas

In this era, it is essential that artists can present their work digitally. Whether you need high quality images for digital purposes such as an online portfolio, a website, an application, social media promotion, or you require images suitable for print for a press pack, a publication, fliers or to create a print from an original work, an understanding of software and a baseline of key technical skills is required.


Firstly, you need to photograph your work professionally using a good camera and preferably in a photo-studio set up where you can control the lighting and use a tripod so the colors are a true representation and you end up with sharp, clear, evenly lit, high resolution photos. The other option if your work is 2D, is to use a scanner. If you are a performance artist or are documenting an exhibition or event you will require a different approach, it may be worth hiring a professional photographer if you don’t have the equipment or know-how.


In this post I have put together a basic guide to what software artists should be using to professionally present their work in digital format.

Image Editing 


Software Options


There are some good free options and there are industry standard software programs. It’s good to be aware of all options even if it’s just to show a certain level of professionalism so you are not lost in conversation when a gallerist is making requests.


Adobe Creative Cloud, previously known as Adobe Creative Suite, is a collection of over 20 apps or software programs that are widely used across creative industries for a variety of different applications. For example, Illustrator is generally used for creating vectors (logos and graphic design), InDesign is used in publishing and creating document layouts and Premiere for video editing. Photoshop is the important software for mastering image editing and is still the industry favorite.

Getting to grips with this software is essential so I recommend taking a short course or teaching yourself using YouTube guides. Sometimes the hardest thing is learning the technical language in order to know what queries to search for.   Canva is a popular choice of image editing software that hasn’t been around for as long as Photoshop but is generally considered more user friendly for beginners. It offers a lot of templates to work with and although it isn’t regarded as the more professional option, it’s free.


Formatting, Creating and Managing Digital Files

Before creating and editing digital files it’s important to understand resolution and Dots Per Inch (DPI). DPI refers to the number of ink droplets a printer will produce per inch while printing an image. The higher the number, the closer together dots will be and the higher the resolution. The higher the resolution, the crisper the image will be. The industry standard is 300dpi for images that will be printed and 72dpi for digital images. You can edit an image from 300dpi down to 72dpi but you cannot do it the other way around and retain the same quality. If you send a 72dpi image to be used in a printed magazine, at best you will look unprofessional, at worst they will run the image without checking and your images will be pixelated and you and the magazine will look unprofessional.

If you upload 300dpi images to your website the whole site will suffer with slow loading times and you may also have to pay more in hosting. If you use these images on a proposal or within a digital PDF portfolio the file will be much bigger than required and this can be restrictive when sending via email and reduce space on your computer or storage device. Labeling may seem like a silly thing to cover but this is really helpful for journalists and galleries and anyone else that requires your digital files. I always label my files including my name, work title, date and whether it is 72dpi for digital or 300dpi for print. An example would be: ‘MarinaChisty_Grace_2023_72dpi’, I then save in a variety of formats: JPEG and PDF. This usually covers me for every opportunity I have to apply for or image requests I receive.


Once you have created and labeled your images I advise you to organize your files in a way that best suits your needs and art practice so when requests come in you can act efficiently. I separate and duplicate my images into the following sections: portfolio (print and online), press pack (print and online), event and exhibition documentation (print and online), artwork for limited edition prints. Always create a digital backup using an external hard drive of a reputable brand!

Exhibition Mock-Ups Using CAD

If you really want to show off your digital skills you could experiment with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. SketchUP is a 3D modeling software that is often used by architects to create detailed representations of buildings and other structures. Artists use CAD software to work out exhibition layouts when they are planning a show or to present a mockup when applying for a creative opportunity.  


I will be covering AI for making original work and documenting work using photography and video in another post. Please share below your top tips and software preferences.

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Apr 02
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Awesome piece!

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