Photography shows and competitions are a great way of showcasing your artwork. They can help you gain recognition, awards, and can help you succeed as an artist. Preparation is key to successfully showcasing your work. Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for a photography show or competition:

1. Know The Rules!

The first step in preparing for a photography show is to know the rules. All shows have specific guidelines for artists when sending your art. Be familiar with how and when the gallery wants to receive your work. Some shows have specific dates and other’s may have size and packing regulations. Having a clear knowledge of the guidelines before-hand can steer you away from any stress or frustration during this process.

2. Shop Around!

As an artist, monetary limitations can affect the way you present your work to the world. Do your due diligence when producing products of your own to showcase. Research potential outlets or vendors that will justify your budget and aim for quality over quantity. In other words, shop around.


Being accepted usually means they liked your digital submission(s), but prints are a whole different arena. Own a professional photo printer, but don’t know how to make prints properly? Check out ‘How to Prepare for Perfect Prints’. If you don’t, shop around your local area for reputable print shops. Doing a little research on social media, local directories, or google can go a long way.

My Go to print shop on Oahu is 529 Print Co.


When it comes to framing don’t go too cheap! This not only decreases the potential value of your work, but it can also decrease the longevity of your art. Off-the-shelf, pre-made frames from retail stores are usually the cheapest, but not the most durable. To make your prints live the longest, you want to opt for Plexiglass or UV-Protective Glass. Seeking advice from a professional framer can help present your work in the best possible manner. They will know what colors and materials to bring out the best in your image(s). In the end, you want your work to sell!

[Side Note – Some frame shops provide discounts if you place bulk orders or have them print, frame and ship the same print for you. ]


Two forms of delivery include in-person and shipping. If you have a means of delivering your artwork, make sure to wrap them in protective material. Place them upright and from face to face, and back to back. Secure your work gently with a ratchet strap. This prevents movement while on the road. Don’t forget to place protective material between the frame and the strap as well as between frames that are front-facing.

If you can’t deliver the work on your own, contact a local art installation or moving company. White glove services are also an option, but the most expensive. Having a company hand-delver your work can save you time, effort and can be insured. Do your research ahead of time to ensure that everything is delivered safely and in a timely manner.


If you are transporting your artwork overseas or out of state, be prepared to know the risks that are involved. Shipping anything brings on the risk of involuntary breakage Make sure to insure your work. Declare the value of what YOU purchased it at and not the cost you are selling it at. This can reduce the cost if you have a tight budget. Schedule pick up and drop offs ahead of time so that you aren’t doing things last minute. Also, include a return shipping label in case your work doesn’t sell.

Shop around for companies that are reputable and that you can trust!

3. Reach out to the Coordinators

Keep in contact with those in charge of the show or competition. There is always a person in charge so reach out to them if you have questions or concerns. It’s usually the person that emails accepted participants with important dates, rules and guidelines about the show. This has personally saved me a lot of stress and frustration. Simple problems pertaining your involvement can simply be solved by an email or phone call to the coordinator. If in doubt, REACH OUT!

Knowing how to prepare for a photography show or competition doesn’t have to be stressful. Learning the guidelines and knowing its important dates can help set you on the right path of preparation. Find trustworthy resources, know your work’s worth and don’t be afraid to reach out! Simple as that! Now go out and showcase your art to the world!

So which tips did you find helpful? What problems came about during your experience entering photography shows or competitions? I’d love to hear them in the comment below.

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