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Image Guidelines

Images for your online Portfolio page should be:

  • 72 dpi, and a minimum of approximately 1600 x 2400 pixels
  • saved as an RGB, JPEG file, with a compression level 6 or 7 (“medium quality”)
  • as close to 700 KB in size as possible, but no larger

You should save the image file as close to 700KB in size as possible, so that the Viewing Program Curator and other viewers are able to see the work clearly and in detail. File sizes will range based on the complexity of the image, but as long as the file size falls under the 700 KB limit you may upload it. When you click “Preview My Portfolio” at the bottom of the Manage Portfolio page, you’ll notice that when you click on a thumbnail, that image will appear large in the viewing window. If you then click on the large image, the image will open in a separate window that allows you to see the work closer and in more detail. Examining the drawing up close can be an important factor for the Curator to accurately assess and understand your artwork. Note: The Curator will view your Portfolio using a Macintosh Intel iMac with a 21-inch widescreen flat-panel display.

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If you have a problem uploading an image to your Portfolio, check these possible problems:

  • Your filename might be unreadable. Try renaming the image filename so that it is short and composed of only letters and/or numbers, and does not have any other characters, such as hyphens, colons, commas, etc.
  • Check the colorspace setting of the file, to see if it’s CMYK or RGB. For your online portfolio, files should be RGB. To change the setting, open the file in Photoshop, click on Image > Mode, and select “RGB Color.”
  • Your file might not be the right file type. You can tell the type of file by the last few letters of the file name—a JPEG file should end with the extension “.jpg”
  • Your file might be too large. File sizes should be no larger than 700 KB. To downsize your image, you should first try to save the JPEG with a compression level lower than 6, or reduce the pixel dimensions in Photoshop (Image > Image Size).

Create a Digital Image

There are a few ways to create digital images of your artwork. Here are the most common:

  • Take a digital photograph of the work
  • Scan a slide or other transparency
  • Scan an actual artwork (using a flatbed scanner)

In most cases, the easiest way to create a digital image of your artwork is to take a photograph using a digital camera. Just as if you were shooting slides, you should make sure that the work is properly and evenly lit. If you already have slides or other transparencies of your artwork, you can use a slide scanner to create digital images or have the scans done professionally by sending the slides or transparencies to a photo lab. You can also scan the actual artwork using a flatbed scanner; this option works best for works on paper that are opaque, flat and relatively small (since the artwork would have to fit within the frame of the scanner bed).


There are two main types of digital files appropriate for saving images of artwork: TIFF and JPEG. TIFF files are less compressed, of higher quality and therefore larger in file size. JPEGs are more compressed, of lower quality and therefore smaller in file size.

When creating an original digital image (such as when you take a picture using a digital camera, or scan a slide or artwork), if possible, it is best to save the image as a TIFF file for your own records—you can always create a smaller, more compressed file from a larger image later, but not the reverse. After you load the digital images onto your computer, you can change the file format from TIFF to JPEG using a program such as Adobe Photoshop, a software program that is extremely useful when working with digital images. Some Photoshop basics follow below.

Adobe Photoshop Basics

In order to use Photoshop tools, you must first open the digital file in the program. In Photoshop, click on “File” then “Open.” In the new window that appears, you will be able to select your image file. In shorthand, the directions for this action are represented by: File > Open.

  • To rotate your canvas, click on Image > Rotate Canvas.
  • To find the image size, click on Image > Image Size. A new window will appear that shows your image’s pixel dimensions (width x height) and document size (width x height x resolution). For your online portfolio, images should be a minimum of approximately 1600 x 2400 pixels
  • To crop your image, choose the crop tool (left column, third square down) from the tool bar on the left side. (See Help > Photoshop Help for clear instructions and visual examples)
  • To undo an action, click on Edit > Undo.
  • To make the image brighter or darker, click on Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.
  • To adjust colors, click on Image > Adjustments > Color Balance.
  • To let the program automatically adjust the brightness and colors of the image, you can shortcut the adjustment process: click on Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels.

When you are done making adjustments, you can save the file by going to File > Save As, then enter a new file name and choose the type of file you want to save the image as—for your online portfolio, the image should be in JPEG format. When saving an image as a JPEG, you can choose from a range of compression levels, from 1 to 12 (the higher the number, the less compression and the larger the file size). For your online portfolio, you should save your images in “medium” quality, i.e., at compression level 6 or 7. As a rule, each time you make adjustments to your image, you should save it under a different name, i.e., as a new file. You should always keep a copy of your digital file in its original form for your records. This way, if you make a mistake in the retouching process, you won’t have to reshoot or rescan.

Keep in mind that images will vary when viewed on different computer screens since each monitor has slight hue and tonal differences. Generally, images look better on Macintosh monitors, which have a better range of color and more capacity for detail; images on PCs tend to appear darker. Ultimately, however, you cannot control the way a person may view the image, so don’t worry too much! Note: The Viewing Program Curator will view your Portfolio using a Macintosh Intel iMac with a 21-inch widescreen flat-panel display.

If you’re still having problems, you can send an email to for further technical support.