Most exhibitions require that all works be labeled with the artist’s name, the title of work, and the date. This is to ensure that viewers know who created the work, what the work is titled, and when it was created.
If you are an artist who wants to submit your photographic work to a show, or you are just starting out and want to learn how to label photographs for exhibition, read on!
In this blog post, we will discuss how to properly label your artwork for exhibition and look at a few examples. We will also provide some tips on how to make your labels stand out from the rest. Let’s get started!
Why label photographs for an exhibition?
Labels in an exhibition are important for two reasons: they help viewers identify the artist and title of the work, and they can also provide additional information about the photograph, such as the date it was taken or the location.
By having all of this information on the label, viewers can get a better understanding of the photograph and the artist’s intention.
Additionally, a label will encourage regular art lovers to see if the artwork or photograph has been sold (they look for the little colored dot sticker).
What should be included on a label?
When working how to label photographs for exhibition, you will want to include the following information:
- The artist’s name
- The title of the work
- The date the photograph was taken
- Medium or paper
- Any other relevant information (optional but useful – see my Lag Hack below)
- If you have an agent or gallery representation, include that information as well.
- Mark the price of each photograph in the price section. If a piece is not for sale, put NFS (not for sale) in this space. If you are unsure how to price your work, speak with an artist or gallerist friend for guidance.
- A QR Code (optional – links back to your website, your agent’s website or to the photo’s information)
My Lag Hack to attract the crowds
So I have a little psychological hack I call the Lag Hack. And before I explain what it is, I want you to think back to when you were last at an exhibition. Did you want to see the artworks that had nobody around them or did a crowd of people get you curious?
I’m betting that the crowd made you curious to see what all the fuss was about.
A simple way to achieve a small crowd is to create a label that contains either very interesting or unique information in the relevant information section and to make it a bit longer so that you will get 2 to 4 people standing around reading it.
Once you have a few people creating a lag in the flow, you will have more people coming to have a look. Don’t believe me? Go to a gallery and see for yourself.
Use a consistent font throughout your entire exhibition
This will make it look more professional and clean. A great way to achieve this is by using a sans-serif font for your labels and chapters.
If you want to get really fancy, you can use a different font for each chapter, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it can look quite messy.
Include all the relevant information and if possible, use a template so that you can give the impression of consistency and professionalism. A handwritten label screams amateur hour!
Make sure all of your text is legible from a distance
This is especially important for the titles of your photographs. If someone has to squint to read it, they probably won’t bother.
Use a simple and large font like Arial or Times New Roman in a size (around 20 to 24 point type) that is big enough to be seen from a few feet away for people who may need glasses. If you are unsure, I suggest a quick visit to a few galleries or museums nearby or even online and have a look.
I have included a few examples below so that you have an idea of what to go for.
If you wish to follow an art gallery example for labels then I have a post called “How to make Art Gallery Labels in a day like a Pro” already written for art gallery labels that you can adjust for a photo exhibition.
It even has a link to a free Canva template that I made that you can download and print off.
Printing your photograph labels for the exhibition
Use a high-quality printer to print out your labels and make sure they’re well-adhered to the back of each frame. If you do not have access to a high-quality printer, I suggest paying a visit to Staples and getting some printed on quality label paper, Fome-Cor, or JAC paper for a small but worthwhile cost.
An alternative is to create some nice professional looking business cards that contain the photograph’s details on the back. This is practical only when you are exhibiting a small number of works.
How to label photographs for exhibition – wrap up!
Learning how to label photographs for exhibition is an important part of exhibiting your art. By following the guidelines we’ve outlined in this post, you can ensure that viewers know who created the work, what it is called, and when it was made.
Remember to always include your name, the title of the work, and the date on any works that you submit for exhibition. Feel free to share this post with your artist friends – they will appreciate the information!
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech).
While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.
While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.
He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.