Copyright Central Texas Pastel Society. All Rights Reserved.

​how to enter an art competition

​By Jane Frederick

  •  Get the prospectus and read it carefully
  •  Are you eligible?
  •  Is your art eligible?
  •  Can you meet the deadlines?
  •  Was any of the work completed in a workshop or class?


  •  Did you take the photo yourself?
  •  Did you use a photo from a magazine or from online?
  •  No matter how good the photo, if you did not take it yourself - DON’T USE IT

Setting up the Photo

  • ​ Take your photos AFTER painting is finished and BEFORE framing with no glass or mat. Do not make ANY changes to the painting after taking and submitting the photo to the competition. 
  • If you have an easel that will stand vertical (straight up and down) use that • Make sure no shadows fall on painting (camera or your body not casting shadow)
  • Put camera on tripod or flat surface so it stays steadier when taking the photo - if possible use a timer or remote control to take the photo without wobble
  • Make sure the camera is square to the painting.  Adjust camera angle until the edges of the painting are square and don’t skew. Zoom in slightly so that image fills the viewfinder as much as possible
  • Diffused daylight is best lighting (outdoors on an overcast day) - if indoors adjust white balance on camera to compensate
  • Do not use flash

Transfer Images to Computer - Crop & Size

  • Transfer your images to your computer
  • Select the image you want to use
  • Crop the image to eliminate any background or skewing can be done using Picasa, Gimp, Preview or other apps.
  • If in doubt how to do it, search on YouTube for directions “How to size photos using Preview...” or “How to size photos using Paint...” or “How to size photos using Gimp...”

Color Correcting

  • It may be tempting to edit your photo to make it look better - be careful
  • Don’t make any changes that make the photo look better than the actual painting
  • The painting you present for hanging must look pretty much like the photo you turned in to enter
  • Paintings which don’t look like the photo could be rejected

Check YouTube Videos for Ideas on How to Size, Crop & Edit Pictures Using a Mac or PC

Gimp is Photo Editing Software Similar to PhotoShop & is Available FREE for PC or MAC

Sizing images using Flickr for Free

  •  If you have a Yahoo ID sign up for a free Flickr account (if you don’t have a Yahoo ID get one first - it’s free too)
  • Once you have a Flickr account you will be given an email address. Email your photo to that address. Give it a few minutes and check the camera roll on your Flickr page.
  • Open the image on your Flickr page on the bottom right there will be a downward arrow.
  • Click the downward arrow to download your image back to your computer. You will have 4 size options.
  • Choose the size option closest to what you need to enter the competition
  • Download and save to your computer
  • Use it to enter the competition
  • Picasa can also be used in a  similar way


  • Image should be clear and in focus. Remember the  image you submit represents your work. In juried shows it is what determines who gets in the show
  • Image must not exceed file size in prospectus.
  • Image should be .jpeg format unless otherwise noted
  • Image should not contain frame, mat, or watermark.
  • Image file name should be labeled as requested in the prospectus (usually ArtistName_Title_Size.jpg)

Other Options

  • If you simply do not want to get into cropping and sizing your images there are other options
  • Precision Camera in Austin said they would size images for $10 (up to 3 images)
  • There are professional photographers who specialize in taking photos for artists. Don’t know about pricing, but could easily be Googled.