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  1. #1
    darinwc's Avatar
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    submitting a portfolio to a gallery

    I'd like to show my work in a local gallery.
    How many prints should I have in my portfolio to show a gallery?

    I've read that it is better for a photographer to concentrate on one type or style, like landscapes or portraits or something. But I have a mishmosh of different styles and themes. Do you think it would be better to present a group of similar photos?

    Any advice will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darinwc
    How many prints should I have in my portfolio to show a gallery?
    No more than 20... as few as 10. This way they either won't get bored and dismiss you as having too much, or they will think. "Hey, I'd like to see more". Personally I think the fewer the better if you have many that shine. If you don't have 20 good images, don't add filler to make 20. Keep a few shiners in reserve so they can see you have depth and the ones you've shown aren't all there is.

    Quote Originally Posted by darinwc
    I've read that it is better for a photographer to concentrate on one type or style, like landscapes or portraits or something. But I have a mishmosh of different styles and themes. Do you think it would be better to present a group of similar photos?
    Yes. They're not looking at you like a potential commercial client would. They're not looking to see what you can shoot. They're looking for something YOU shoot. Unless you're God's gift, stick to what you do best. They're looking for a vision, confidence of direction, etc. Showing a mish-mash shows a lack of confidence in what you do as far as they are concerned.

    Good Luck!!

    Bill

  3. #3

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    30-40 seems to be a number used around here Darin. If you can show a large number on one subject, it will show them how serious you are and give an insight into the depth of your abilities on a subject. Seems a good idea to put in a smattering of the best from other areas of interest. It could lead to further opportunities.

    Ahh .. Bill got in before me. I'd take his advice.

  4. #4
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    You might not want to show more than 20, but I think you should have 40-50 before you attempt to get anyone to take you seriously. If they really like your work, they'll ask to see more and not having any "depth", as Bill put it, will probably put you in the lightweight column.

    Some other tips:

    Don't insult a gallery owner by asking them to don cotton gloves or any of that nonsense. If they don't know enough to handle your prints properly, you don't want to be represented by that gallery in the first place.

    Don't bother with interleaving any paper in between the prints. Their time is valuable. Such affectation has only nuisance value.

    Put your best foot forward. Don't show anything that isn't absolutely the best you can possibly do. Don't show anything that isn't mounted and overmatted. It's amazing how many people take good images and present them sloppily, immediately springing the trap door. A gallery owner will not show your stuff if to do so doesn't put his best foot forward.

    Galleries and museums like themes. They want the work to be "about" something. To me this is nonsense. A good photograph is only about the emotions it evokes in the viewer. But, that's not the way the gallery circuit works. They like work which "tells a story".

  5. #5
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    Don't bother with interleaving any paper in between the prints. Their time is valuable. Such affectation has only nuisance value.
    Excellent point Jim. Dealers have seen so much work from so many that the least little thing can put someone off. One thing I have really noticed... if you're refused once, the chance with that particular gallery rarely comes again. Make it count.

    Bill

  6. #6
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    12-20 - NO MORE. Unless you just LOVE rejection. And send them a 35mm slide page. They won't take the time generally to see your prints personally. Most gallery owners find the risk a generally unpleasant thing. Good luck.

  7. #7

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    so does that mean just a slide page - no actual prints just slides of prints?

  8. #8
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    That's right. Most galleries refuse to look at anything else. Antiquated as it might seem. It helps to have stuff framed up first. But it really depends on the gallery. This is ABSOLUTELY de rigeur for an 'art gallery' of any kind. Though perhaps 'specialty' photo galleries may be more sensitive to your silver printing concerns. Seriously though - do a search on google. Use the terms "submission requirements" and "gallery" and I'll bet that 9 times out of 10 that's what you'll get. Your mileage may vary though. In this day and age though - I'd probably just scan the photos and have slides digitized at a lab. It'll probably look better than you could ever photograph in situ.

    J.

  9. #9

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    i dunno,
    galleries like to look at a page of slides,
    but if you have matted prints it is always better
    to show the real thing.

    there is nothing worse that "the squint" while looking at
    the page of slides :rolleyes: ...

    i won't send slides, only prints, and if the gallery only accepts slides, i don't bother ...

    -john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  10. #10
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Is this a gallery that you know for a fact that is looking for new submitters? if they are, it is not that difficult to give them a call to see what they are looking for and how they would like to see it, now if it is just a cold call, I would suggest visiting the galleries and looking at what they currently have hanging...I have taken slides, prints and such, and have never noticed a big difference, either they are looking or they aren't, if your doing cold calls, then your running a 50-50 chance that they will even see you, the pat answer is I am not interested! But it never hurts to try, you never know when your going to hit one that is really looking for new exhibitors...

    As has been said, your better have your ducks in a row, your images better be better that the best and you have to be ready for rejection far more often that you will get praise..also, I never take more than 15 shots with me, this seems to be about the limit that gallery curators are willing to look at.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes.

    R.

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