What Should A Booth Slide Look Like?


Here is a topic that should interest many of my readers:

Hi, Connie,

Several months back, I asked you to do some consulting for me and we had a really nice long conversation as you gave me tips for getting started on the art show circuit (after 20 years of teaching art and music). I’ve been doing well and as I’m learning the ropes, I am striving to get in the bigger shows.

I am not quite sure what juries want when they ask for a picture of tent with displays. Do they want a photograph that shows the top of the tent to the bottom of the ground (because then you really can’t see that much detail as to how things are displayed). OR do they want most of the tent top and a closer view of the displays within the tent?

I’m also wondering specifically about one show I tried to get in for February and was rejected. The form that they sent back said they liked my art but then they checked the denial reason as “tent/display.” The company was Howard Alan and I have a white tent just like they show, so the only other thing I can imagine is that they require covered display walls (I have open grid panels). Could that have been the problem?

I’d appreciate your help. I am getting ready to try for more spring shows and am in a quandry as to whether I should take another picture of my tent. Here is what I have presently:

Hello E.S.,
It is great to hear you are doing well. This is a great question! Thanks for asking.

Of course the goal is always to get into the top art fairs and I appreciate your allowing me to discuss your booth in this newsletter. There are two questions here.

1. What is a jury looking for in a booth shot? A jury is looking for a body of work in a booth that will be a credit to the event. They want a professional presentation of professional quality work. Artists take many liberties with interpreting this image from closeups of a corner of their display to imaginative setups of the entire tent on the beach surrounded by palm trees, to being shot in a “cyclorama” with perfect lighting.

Basically though, include the whole tent with your art in it is a good starting point. How it should look:

  • good light exposure, take lots of shots
  • tent corners pulled down snugly
  • art work displayed neatly
  • no view of the neighbor’s booth
  • if you have a doorway open to other areas of the fair, cover it
  • make sure your name is not visible
  • no people in the photo

2. Why did Howard Alan check “tent/display” on your letter? Like any other event he wants to present a great looking show to the public. How can you get into this one next year and others also? Here is a critique of the image you sent me:

  • yes, cover your panels
  • straighten your art work, arrange it in an artistic manner
  • group art work by subject matter
  • get a professional looking table for displaying small things
  • take half of the work out when you are shooting the image
  • for the purposes of this shot you might want to put down a rug
  • the more professional looking your booth looks the better your chances of being accepted

When a jury is looking at your slides there may be plenty of people in your category that have work just as good. The booth slide is your place to set yourself apart. It is about marketing yourself to the jury.

You can make your own panel covers. I recommend a polyester fabric because it doesn’t wrinkle, is easily washed and doesn’t show the holes from the hangers. Add some velcro and you are good to go. Flourish also makes fireproof panel covers for artists.

This is hardly an exhaustive list. The best thing you can do is to “walk the show” this weekend and look at everyone’s display. Which one looks great to you? Which one is inviting? Really critique the others and steal their ideas for your own use.

You may decide after looking at the other displays this weekend on many changes before you shoot your booth slide for next season’s shows. If so, do not hesitate to make the changes, set up your booth in your yard or a park and shoot it again with the changes. Yep, lots of work, but well worth it. Good luck!


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One Response to “What Should A Booth Slide Look Like?”

  1. Cheryl Clements Says:


    I am a newbie to Art Fairs and looking to submit to a couple and they of course are asking for a Booth Shot. Now never having presented before I do not have a booth shot and after searching in vain on the Internet I can’t even find any ideas! They have agreed to accept a drawing of how it will be laid out but here are my questions. Keep in mind I would like an all black booth with lighting to display my glass art/furniture.

    1. Do you have to supply your own booth/frame for the air fair’s?
    2. If yes, where can I find these supplies? All I can find are more trade show items.
    3. Do you know of any websites that display artfair booths that I can look at as examples?

    Thank you very, very much for any help, my first application deadline is March 21st so any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,


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