Portfolio Tips for Artists

Your portfolio is a presentation of your work…true statement.

Here is another one…galleries represent artists.

The objective of your fine art portfolio is to use it as a tool to build a long-standing relationship with a gallery. Look at your portfolio as if it is an extension of you as an artist not just a display case. Ask yourself; is it polished and professional or a little rough around the edges?  Does it contain only your best work or everything you ever did?

Does it answer the questions?

  • Is the artist serious?
  • Does the artist have a chance to succeed in the world of art?
  • Is the artist worth representing?
  • If you answer yes then click next, you do not need to read any further.  If you answer no, continue reading and we will work through this together.

The packaging

Your choice of portfolio case is a personal preference, one you will determine by your budget.  There are several choices in varying price ranges; however, if you are the archetypal “starving artist” a nice well-organized binder is perfectly acceptable.

Whatever portfolio case you choose it should match the proportions of the work it holds.

What to include in your portfolio

A cover page, with contact information in the following order, full name, address, phone number(s), email and if you have one, professional website…http//.

  • Your artists statement
  • Your Biography
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • An itemization of  the included  works
  • A media package containing business cards, logo, and any media from past shows or events.

Your work samples

Work samples are best organized chronologically and grouped by medium or subject matter.  The quality of your photos should be clear, professional shots are best. Display them in transparent plastic sleeves labeled with the dimensions, medium and price.  Lastly, show only your best work and never include sold or unavailable pieces.

Yes, you need to state the price.

If you are uncertain how to price your work here are some general guidelines.  Take into account how many years you have spent developing your style and technical skill. Do some market research and check out the pricing on comparable pieces. Then using a little common sense set your fee.

Important, do not digitally alter your photographs, it is a misrepresentation of your work and will come as an unpleasant surprise to any gallery that has agreed to do business with you.

The portfolio CD

Having a CD version of your portfolio is simply a smart move.  Relatively inexpensive, it allows you to have several copies at hand to mail-out or leave with a curator after a portfolio review.  Organize it in the same manner as your presentation portfolio, including a cover page, artist’s statement, resume’, bio, list of images, logo and scans of your media package. Important note, make certain that the CD you use is readable on all systems.

A word about slides

At one time slides were necessary for your portfolio, these days…not so much.  That is not to say you should not get slides made of your work.  If you plan on entering juried shows, they will generally be required.


A winning portfolio is essential if you seek representation at a gallery. Keep in mind the fact that you are also leaving an impression of yourself as an artist.   Do this and be as well remembered as the work you put forward.


2 thoughts on “

  1. Pingback: Portfolio tips for artists | Ramona on Art, Life & Kicking the Cat

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