London Photo Festival & London Photo Gallery

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Writing about your photographs.

Do you dread having to write about your photographs or avoid having to do it altogether?

You are not alone.  When I am entering competitions or exhibitions, I try and skip the part that asks for a description of the image or come up with some random sentences which ultimately do not say anything at all.

Here are some questions to ask to yourself when writing about your photography:

  1. What led you to take the photograph?
  2. What is it about?
  3. Did you plan it or was it spontaneous?
  4. Where there any ‘unusual’ circumstances behind the image?
  5. Where and when was it taken?

And it goes without saying; remember to check your spelling and grammar!

It’s a skill worth learning and it is an important part of exhibiting your photography because people are intrigued about the story behind the image and if the viewer has a connection with the image, it enhances their visual experience.

This struck me at one of our earlier Festivals when I noticed a man looking intently at an image and he kept returning to the image several times during his visit, clearly struck by the subject matter.  I went over to talk to him & he said that he’d visited the memorial pictured in the image (it was taken in Washington). The image also contained the reflection of a young man reading the names on the memorial and I went on to explain that the young man was the photographer’s fiance who was tragically killed not long after the photograph was taken.

The man was silent for a moment and then said; ‘Despite the sad circumstances, I am pleased I know that because it has made the image even more special and powerful to me’


© Amanda Webster


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How to Prepare for An Exhibition


  1. Read the Terms and Conditions and FAQs page!

These are two very important documents and should not be overlooked.  They will contain vital information about how the exhibition is run and what is expected from you as an exhibitor.

Is there a theme?  This will enable you to select your images more easily

2. Insurance

Please see our recent post on this:

3. Framing & printing

Presentation of your work is extremely important and the wrong frame or inferior printing can mean the difference between a sale and a non-sale.  At one time, we would have recommended a well-known Scandinavian company for frames but recently we have found that they becoming too ubiquitous and break easily (however, if you want to use these frames then don’t let us stop you bear in mind that your frame must reflect the price of your work)

If you are on a tight budget, research on-line framing companies and you will find some very reasonable prices out there and they will also provide bespoke mounts.  The same goes for printers, or foster a relationship with a local framer & printer and ask if they are offering any deals or discounts.  You could also think about getting together with some other exhibitors to negotiate a group discount.

Visitors also like to see variety and there are other options to framing: acrylic, aluminium or canvas etc. and these are just as effective as frames and sometimes more cost effective to produce. Do you want to display your work another way? Get in touch with us as we are always happy to discuss alternatives.

4. Do you sign your mount? 

The jury is still out on this one but at the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference.  If you choose not to sign the mount,  then at least sign the back of the frame (or stick a business card on the back) and the image – it’s all about the marketing and if the buyer decides to get your image reframed, then at least your details are on the image itself.

5. What’s your story?

Visitors and buyers love to know the story behind the image, so tell us as much as you can (within the word limit) about what inspired you to take the image and what your personal story is – why do you take photographs and tell us know if you’ve won any competitions.

Titles:  tell us where and then the image was taken – try and choose relevant titles and avoid using ‘Untitled’ when possible.

6. Pricing

Pricing your work is probably one of the hardest tasks to undertake.  One of the rules of thumb is to sell for three times the cost of producing your work (print, frame etc).  It is also imperative not to undersell yourself, to take into account who the target audience is and any costs that will be taken off your profit line (commission etc.).

7. Spread the word!

Tell everyone you know that you are taking part in the exhibition – you never know who might buy your work or another exhibitor’s work, so spread the love.

8. Enjoy and learn from the experience.

Yes, it sounds like a cliché but you will learn from every exhibition you take part in – we, as the organisers of Festival, are constantly learning and implementing changes. Learn from your fellow exhibitors: How to others present their work? How do they write about their images?  How do others price their work?

There is always something to learn!


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The Devil’s in the Detail.



When you enter photography competitions and exhibitions, do you ever read the Terms and Conditions?

If the answer is ‘no’, then you are not alone, especially when the T&Cs go forever (and ever) and are written in a language to confuse even a member of Mensa.

However, they are there for a reason and it’s important that you get into the habit of reading them, or at least skimming them for the salient terms. 

Here are a few things to look out for (this is not an exhaustive list):

Additional Charges/fees

You may be charged an initial entry fee and then if you are selected, you may then incur additional fees. Will you be charged a commission if your image is sold?  What about getting additional prints done? Who pays for getting the image delivered to the buyer? Questions questions, but all things need to be considered!


Most competitions state that the copyright will rest with the artist but see ‘usage of image’ on how they can still use your image without consulting you.


Are you responsible for getting your image to the venue?  Is there a date & time that it needs to be collected? Sometimes you’ll be charged daily for storage fees.


Cropped, nipped or tucked – they reserve the right to edit your image!


Following on from our recent blog post, always check whether you are responsible for insuring your work, including delivery to and from the exhibition, at the exhibition and if the image is sold, to and from the buyer.

Usage of Image

I’ve noticed that a lot of competitions reserve the right to use your image in perpetuity. What does that mean?  In a nutshell, they can use your image forever, as often as they like and without paying you (and often without even crediting you as the photographer).  Plus, they can sell your image for third parties to utilise.    

Usage of Personal Details

Again, your personal details can be sold to third parties to use and you’ll start receiving annoying emails selling you things that you do not need or want.


It’s not all doom and gloom and I would encourage entering competitions and exhibitions (especially the London Photo Festival!) but just ensure that you protect yourself and your images.

Have you been caught out by onerous Terms & Conditions?  Comment and let us know.