Got yourself a photography exhibition? Here are some tips to make it a success:
Consider Your Images
A photography exhibition is all about your images. Nearly anything can be displayed, but depending on the gallery it may be wise to make sure every photo is suitable for a general audience and is non-offensive.
Think about the space. Are the walls aged with painted brick and cracked plaster?. Or is it a more clinical space. There are may different types of gallery and venue. Which of your prints works best in that space?
If your space is large or small, don’t overcrowd it with too many prints. And don’t have too few prints. Usually one or two rows of prints works best. The number of images you want to display will determine which size of space you book to display them in.
Consider making the images suitable for the venue, or booking a venue that is suitable for your images. A Cafe by Kew Gardens will probably suit different images that a small gallery in Shoreditch. And the audiences will differ too.
Choose How To Print
Most people choose to display framed prints or print onto dibond (a hard material that is directly printed onto). Both of these formats work well and can be hung easily on the walls. Consider the cost of printing. If budget is tight, you can just make prints which can be attached to the walls with bulldog clips.
Work On A Project Or Theme
The exhibits that work best usually have a theme, tell a story or are part of a project. It’s good to have something which ties your images together, whether it’s a style, a subject or a place. A good question to ask yourself when looking at your potential exhibit is “What are these photos about?”. If you can answer that relatively easily then you probably have a good set of photos to exhibit.
Work Out Logistics
If you have an exhibition space, you will need to account for the time it takes to install your work. Don’t underestimate how long this can take and it’s better to finish before time, rather than not on time! Plan what tools you need to take, and who will help you. What times can you get access to do your installation?
Some questions to ask of the venue include: Does the exhibition space have a hanging system and how does this work, or can you put nails in the wall? Who is responsible for filling holes and painting after you take down you prints? Where can you store the boxes you transported your prints in? Do you need to book extra days for installation and de-installation? Who do you know who can help you install?
Also think about who will be on site during the exhibition. Will it be you?
Get People To See Your Exhibition
The success of any exhibition rests on people seeing your photos. Invite your own network and let them know that you’re exhibiting. Print flyers and posters to display in local cafes etc. Make sure you’re listed on all of the listing sited for things to do. Arrange a private view with drinks! Invite groups and associations that may be interested in your subject or project.
Be Prepared For Feedback
This may, or may not, be the first time that you’ve had images on the walls with lots of people looking at them. It’s quite interesting to stand on the other side of the room from your display and watch people look at your photos, see which ones they point to, and try hear what they say to their friends. You can also stand next to your prints and talk to visitors about your work. If you take this approach it can be a really rewarding experience as you the photographer greet people and they listen to you talk about your photography.
Enjoy The Experience
Everyone who takes part in an exhibition gets a huge buzz from doing it and a sense of pride and satisfaction. Make sure you organise a private view, soak up the atmosphere and take part in your own opening party.
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