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Admissions . Apply . Submitting Your Portfolio . Tips for Photographing Your Work 

Tips for Photographing Your Portfolio

These tips will help you photograph your work for your admissions portfolio. For extra help, please see the two instructional videos in the right sidebar of this page.

  • Preferably use a 35mm, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, or if using a digital camera, use a three-megapixel camera or higher.
  • Use the correct film or setting for the lighting. For outdoor shooting with natural light, use a high-speed film. If shooting with a digital camera, make sure the white balance setting is for outdoor or daylight. For indoor shooting, block other sources of light and use two tungsten bulbs. Place a light on each side of your artwork at a 45-degree angle. Use Ektachrome tungsten film with tungsten lights. If shooting digital images, make sure the white balance setting is for indoor or tungsten.
  • Photograph each piece individually. Try to fill the camera frame with your work. If you use a background, it should be a neutral color, preferably black.
  • If unsure about exposure time, take three slides of each piece: one at suggested meter reading of the camera, one at an exposure (f-stop) higher, and another at an exposure lower.
  • Most importantly, take your time. Photograph your work again if necessary. Select the best shots, put them in the order you want us to review them, and preview your work by projecting it.

Portfolio Prep Videos

This set of two videos will help you build your portfolio, whether you're a CIA admission candidate or a practicing artist or designer.

How to photograph 2D artwork

How to photograph 3D artwork

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Show the world creativity matters: make a gift to the annual fund by 6/30.

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