How to get your photography exhibited in a real world gallery

Jul 19, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to get your photography exhibited in a real world gallery

Jul 19, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The biggest aspect that many photographers struggle with is getting their work seen. Whether it’s on social media or by potential clients and customers. It’s just tough. There’s so much competition out there. In the real world, a great way to get your work seen and become known is to exhibit your work in a gallery. But this is also not always so easy.

It’s not impossible, though, and there are a number of things you can do to help yourself. This video from photographer Jordan Matter goes through some of them, and provides 10 great tips to help you get your work in a gallery.

YouTube video

As you can see, getting your work into an exhibition doesn’t have to be that hard. And you don’t have to follow all ten tips to start showing your work. Each just opens up different opportunities.

  1. Pay for your show
  2. Build relationships with exhibition spaces
  3. Have your prints ready to go
  4. Build a strong social media presence
  5. Develop a video presence
  6. Share everywhere!
  7. Define your vision
  8. Do your research
  9. Take baby steps
  10. Think outside the gallery

Paying for your own exhibition at an art expo or other art fair is the simplest option, if not the cheapest. You have to pay for your space, obviously, but it gets your work out in front of an audience of potential buyers. Jordan notes, though, that it will take some time to build up a paying audience for your work. As a new artist at a fair, people don’t know you and don’t value your work yet. So, it’s a long term investment.

Building up relationships and networking is vital in everything we do, not just in order to run an exhibition. You never know who you may come into contact with that can help you get your work seen. But it is in your best interest to build relationships with those that you know can help you. Building strong relationships will benefit you in more ways in business than just this one aspect.

Exhibitions can take a long time to prepare. Weeks, months or even years can go into some of them. But you always want to have your work ready to go. You might get a phone call from a gallery or other venue that’s desperate to fill a space. Perhaps they have a gap between major exhibits. Or maybe they’ve been let down by another artist.

Being able to present a gallery with an existing audience for your work can be a huge advantage. And this is a big one, but don’t let it discourage you if nobody really knows who you are. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook or Instagram, or a million subscribers on YouTube to get into many galleries. But it’s worth building up these platforms.

You’ll notice a lot of these tips sound very familiar. It’s the same sort of advice you hear about business in general. Forming relationships, planning ahead, self promotion, building yourself up gradually, doing your research and trying to approach things in a new way.

There’s some great insight in the video, and a lot of sheer common sense. So, if you didn’t watch it all yet, go ahead and do it now. Then think about how you can apply some of these tips to getting your own work out there.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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