How to Host a Photo Show

by Danielle Seivers

How to Host a Photo Show
Once you have entered a few photo shows and gained some experience, holding your own photo show is a fantastic way of seeing other people’s work and a great source of ideas for improving your own photos. Remember, the bigger your class list, the more work the show will be, so start with a small show.

You will be responsible for receiving the entries, judging the show, typing and sending out the results, and returning the results/photos to entrants within two to three weeks after the show date.

So now you have decided you want to hold a show, you will need to choose a date. Check the Show Biz column in the newsletter for the available dates for the next quarter. When you’ve chosen, email the Editor with your selection. (Have a back-up date in case your first choice has already been claimed)

You may choose to hold a points-only show, or offer awards. Ribbons can easily be hand made, or perhaps you`d like to offer a small trophy or rosette to the Supreme Exhibit. This decision is yours.

Entry Fee
The show entry fee should be kept reasonable, dependant upon the size of the show and whether or not you choose to award ribbons and/or trophies. Some people like to hold a photo show to fundraise for a particular event (such as a live show), or to benefit a club or charity (such as AIMHC or Cancer Council Australia). If you are offering prizes, your entry fees can be used to purchase those.

Class list
Next is choosing a class list and naming your show. When starting out, it’s best to hold a small show of 10 to 30 classes. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of photos each entrant may submit, to avoid being swamped with photos! A 50-photo limit, for example, is reasonable for a show that has 25 classes, or a 25-photo limit for a show with 12 classes.

A good class list should have several Champions and Reserves, and a top placing, such as a Supreme Exhibit. Study other class lists in the newsletter to understand how they work.

When you have finalised your list, you can email it to the Editor to inclusion in the newsletter.

Judging a Photo Show
Once the entries have arrived, you will need to make a note of each entrant’s name, note how many photos they have entered, check that the entry fee has been paid, and that a SASE and postage have been included. Then you have the task of sorting through the photos and dividing then into their classes. Before you begin judging, read the Judging Basics page to get an idea of what to look for.

Judge each class in order, and write down the results before moving onto the next class. You may need to continue sorting through photos from previous classes, as many photos are used in several classes throughout the show. Be careful not to leave any photos out of their classes.

Sorting Photos for Judging
A useful way of organising photos for judging during a show is to use a card file system in an old shoebox. Using large index cards, attach index `flags` to the top of the index cards, and number the flags (these numbers will correlate to the class numbers for the show). The flags can be attached in a staggered fashion, which makes flicking through the classes easy! As photos arrive for the show, just sort them into their classes. Starting with class 1 - photos entered in multiple classes can then be slotted into the following classes quite easily, after the preceding class has been judged. You can even include slots for championships, and slip eligible class winners and second place getters into those slots for easy reference - no need to keep re-sorting photos each time a championship comes up! The beauty of setting up such a system is that it can be used time and time again, each time you hold a photo show.

Once you have finished judging, sort out each entrant’s photos and pack them up ready to send back to each entrant. Then type up all of the results, and email them out. If you don’t have email, or an entrant has requested a hard (printed) copy of the results, you will need to print them out. If you awarded any ribbons or prizes, don’t forget to include those with the photos.

Before sealing up envelopes, check the weight with a scale, and if necessary, use the entrant’s extra stamps on the envelope to make sure their photos arrive safely.