Want to showcase yourself and your photography in the best possible light? Our guide to planning a degree show has the answers.
A successful degree show is about more than just displaying years of work. It can also be a valuable opportunity to network and make your mark in the world of photography.
“Degree shows are always exciting to attend as you get to see such a breadth of work and inspiration from photographers whose work you might never have encountered before,” says Hazel Watts, co-owner and director of Spectrum Photographic.
“A good show makes you remember the artist and want to seek out their work again.”
To help make your show a success, the team at Spectrum – including photographers, master printers and marketing specialists – have come up with a checklist of things to remember.
- Have a plan
- Make a list
- Give yourself deadlines
As soon as you start thinking about your degree show – whether it is graduate or postgraduate – it is vital to have a clear plan in mind of what you want to achieve.
Think about how you would like to showcase your images and ideas. If you’re not sure what you want, try visiting other exhibitions for ideas.
Make a concise list of what you need to get done and by when. Not only will this help give you a clear plan, it will also give you something to refer back to and make sure you stay on track.
Remember to allow yourself enough time to produce the exhibition panels – ideas may not be possible if you don’t leave yourself long enough.
- Know your space
- Be ambitious
Knowing the space is vital as it might affect which images you would choose to show. Visit more than once – ideally at the times of day your show will open – and immediately before the show check everything is clean, tidy and as you expected.
Choose an exhibition presentation display style that suits your images but also works in relation to the space.
Don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Consider objects, aside from photographs, that will complement the display and message you want to convey.
- Quality over quantity
- Make a good edit
After spending so much time on a body of work, it can be tempting to include as many images as possible in your degree show. However, it is better to be selective.
Busy curators and gallery owners might not have time to view dozens of images so choose those that really showcase your talent.
Once you have made your initial selection, go back in a couple of days and edit it down to ensure each image has earned its place.
Consider your image titles and captions and how you want to display them – does it all fit in with your overall vision?
- Optimum quality
- Test prints
- Lead times
When it comes to printing, go for optimum quality. Big isn’t always best – don’t go beyond the capability of your negative/file.
Allow time for running test prints and experimenting with different types of papers to ensure your vision is best for the work.
And don’t forget to take lead times into account – how long will all of this take and how long will it take for the final exhibition panels to be produced?
More top tips
- Get ideas from other exhibitions you enjoy
- Write a clear and concise artist statement
- Get advice where you can
- Market yourself
- Research gallery owners and curators you want to invite
Spectrum Photographic has been working with students for a number of years, so understands the importance of getting every detail just right.
The team also appreciates photography can be an expensive subject to study so offers a 20% student discount on all online services.
Whether you are looking to produce portfolio prints or create your final degree exhibition, we will work with you from the initial consultation right through to the date of dispatch.
For more information on how we could help you create your dream degree show visit spectrumphoto.co.uk/students.
Main image, Assembly by Martin Seeds, University of Brighton Masters graduate.
Copy by Sheena Campbell