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Photography 101 
How to Better Your Jury Images

This short photography 101 lesson is written by Ryder Gledhill, a professional advertising photographer. He offers tips and suggestions to help you with your jury images. Submitting high quality shots showing off your work in the best possible light increases your chance of being accepted to any given show. You'll see samples below of excellent jury images. How do yours compare? - Lynn Wettach, Show Director


When photographing art the most important thing is to make the work the star of the show, and not overwhelm it with fancy photography backgrounds or ingenious lighting formula. I have seen jewelry and artwork photographed where the piece's reflection outperforms the piece itself, relegating half of the image's frame to a false reflection. This is never a good thing.

Good exposures and accurate colors are very important as well. Try to find some way or somewhere to get a nice soft light as you would enjoy on an overcast day, but with a neutral colored light. Try not to position the piece next to any brightly colored walls or ceilings.

Artist - Ted Elder 

Jury Image - Ryder Gledhill Photography

There are graduated photography backgrounds on the market made for small to medium sized "product photography". These can be used and are okay to achieve an “art house” look. However, they can be limiting as to where you can place your work and the camera but still get the light/dark transition in the right place. I personally don't use them.


Good images are the difference between acceptance and rejection, between a sale or no sale, or as an artist friend so eloquently put it: Salon de Refusés. And that's not going to change any time soon.


If you're determined to shoot your own art, here are some tips to better images:

  1. Get to know the camera. How close can it focus? If you are a jeweler can you fill the frame with your work? And this might sound obvious but check that the lens is really clean.

  2. Make sure the camera is greater than 7mega pixels. Most digital cameras are capable of this. Set the camera to its lowest ISO number and largest image size for best results.

  3. Know what file type you are shooting: J-peg, Tiff or Raw. J-pegs are most common and will let you save more images on your flash card or camera.

  4. If you're doing a lot of image adjustment, save the image as a Tiff file until you are finished, then convert back to J-peg. Then size to 1920ppi - 300dpi

  5. Download a free program called Quick Gamma. This will give you some information about the performance of your computer monitor so you are closer to industry standards.

  6. Always use a tripod and set the camera to a short self-timer setting of a few seconds. This allows it to settle before the shutter activates, giving you the sharpest images possible.

  7. Check to see if any direct light sources are reflected in the lens; this will cause lens flare. Use a lens hood to correct this.

  8. If you are photographing small to medium size reflective objects, try using a white opaque material over the object. This will give you a uniform soft light.

  9. For larger pieces photographed outdoors, use the roof of your light dome tent as a diffuser. Try to find clutter free neutral backgrounds.

  10. Get familiar with your Digital imaging software, this is where you can spend a little extra time with your image to fine-tune color, contrast and clean up the backgrounds.

  11. Seek professional support. The best art images require thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment and decades learning how it really works. If you treat your art seriously, harness the photography skills of an expert. 




If you have any questions or would like help with your photography please contact me at


About the author: Ryder Gledhill has worked as a professional photographer for 30 years – in London, New York and across the Southeastern United States. He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in photography and advertising, including Saatchi & Saatchi and Mario Testino (UK Vogue). Ryder specializes in photographing artwork, jewelry and developing it into a perfect image via Photoshop. 




Artist - Terri Lawson 

Jury Image - Ryder Gledhill Photography

Artist - Sandy Lent 

Jury Image - Ryder Gledhill Photography

Artist - Sue Ayala 

Jury Image - Ryder Gledhill Photography

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