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How to Label Your Portfolio Images

How to Label Your Portfolio Images

by Harriete Estel Berman


artWhen you're submitting an application, an unlabeled CD may become useless without the artist's name. It may not be shown, it may not be returned. It might be thrown away.


Always label your images EXACTLY according to the instructions specified in the prospectus. Follow the instructions for labeling your digital images. Some programmers prefer all lower case letters or an application might specify an entry number as the file name. Use only periods(.) or underscore(_).


If not specified differently, digital Images should be titled with last name, first initial and a short description. If all your images start with the same letters, they will automatically organize themselves as a group every time they are loaded or reloaded on a computer or disc. For example:






Avoid sticking labels on your CD that can jam, get stuck, or throw the disc off balance. Write with a Sharpie in the clear center of your disc, or use one of those special pens for writing on CDs.




Slide mounts should look neat, conforming to the prospectus instructions. The slide film can be removed from your slide mount and inserted into a new slide mount for new labeling according to the instructions. Fine point Sharpie works the best on plastic mounts. If the instructions do not require your name on the front (for example, some shows use a number system) try to put your name in some other area that does not require information (like on the back.)


Information to appear on your slide label may include:


  • TITLE of the artwork
  • Date of artwork
  • Dimensions: height, width, depth
  • Materials/Media (example: Type of print, acrylic, wood with decoupage, glitter)
  • Sometimes "media" simply means your craft-jewelry, ceramics, etc. Better check to make sure you know how much information they want.
  • Avoid using the term mixed media - specific information regarding materials can make all the difference.
  • Type of Object (example: bowl, teapot, plate, box). Even if it is simply a non-functional object, that fact needs to be recorded.
  • An UP arrow indicating which direction is up
  • Number of the image entry, corresponding to the entry form if appropriate
  • Photo Credit (this could be on the back)
  • Artist's address, phone number, email or web address (this could be on the back)


Mark your slides or transparencies as 'original' or 'dupe.' Your original slides are irreplaceable! Send out only duplicates and retain the originals in a binder or slide file clearly marked as such. Put these in a safe or safe place such as a safe deposit box. Only upon request for publication use should you send out your original slides. They are important documentation of your work, even when the work has sold or no longer exists. A back up plan might be to store one complete set of original slides with a friend or family member.


Adhesive labels need to be very securely attached or avoided completely. They can come loose or snag when taking the slides in and out of the slide sheets. Sometimes they fall off or the glue deteriorates from the heat of the projector. Slide labels should not extend past the edge of the slide mount. A slide that "sticks" in the slide carousel and won't drop into the slide 13 projector during jurying may be excluded. Avoid "stacking multiple labels" one on top another on slides, it makes the label too thick and increases the likelihood that the labels will come off and jam the carousel.


If your object moves or changes in some way make sure this information is clear. Movement is very hard to depict in a static image. Do your best to describe this in your text description. Or consider submitting video if permissible.





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