CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Challenges for a Juror Using CaFE
Behind the CaFE Curtain: Tips to Improve Your Statement Information

CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Tips for Improving Your CaFE Juried Application Starting With Photos

Recently, I was a juror for an exhibition using CaFE for entry and for review of the submissions. It was a real eye opening experience to be on the other side of the CaFE curtain discussed in previous posts. Cafe curtain with green wall

In the next few posts, I will make specific suggestions to help artists improve their juried application on CaFE.

The Professional Guidelines includes a document titled: TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine. I talked about this many times but the first four tips are critical to success.

TIP #1. DAZZLE THE JURY WITH AMAZING IMAGES!  
TIP #2. DYNAMIC DETAIL IMAGES ARE KEY.
TIP #3. DO NOT SEND A BAD IMAGE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
TIP #4. CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE ARRANGEMENT OR ORDER OF THE IMAGES CHOSEN.

Read the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine for more explanation.

Harriete Blue Face The first two tips seem obvious. Fabulous photos are your most important step to success. I've talked myself blue in the face....but why would anyone waste money on jury fees with bad images.

Detail images need to offer information, information, information. The detail should not be confusing. The juror should be able to tell in a fraction of a second that this is a detail image.  If they have to figure it out, you've lost them.

Make sure that the detail image will be shown after the full view. This is where TIP #4. is sooooo.... important.  CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE ARRANGEMENT OR ORDER OF THE IMAGES CHOSEN.

Don't count on the juror being able to look back and forth with the previous image on CaFE. The juror may be unable to  compare images. Your close up needs to directly relate to the full view, yet still be a fantastic image all by itself. A mediocre detail image is a wasted opportunity to impress the juror.

Apples ONE  ROTTEN This ties into TIP #3.    DO NOT SEND A BAD IMAGE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you don't have enough good images, don't include a bad image just to fill your quota in your juried application. A bad image is a rotten apple. It spoils the juror's impression of ALL your work.

CaFElogo2 CaFE offers clear explanation for images preparation. It is very specific. All images must be formatted to the following specifications in order to upload successfully into the system.

    Dimensions: 1920 x 1920 pixels
    File Format: Save all images as BASELINE Standard
         JPEG.  Do not save as a Progressive JPEG.
    File Size: JPEGs must be under 1.8 MB.
    Color space: Save images in an RGB color space,
        preferably sRGB.

THE VERY UNFORTUNATE REALITY is that the jurors are looking at 500 x 500 pixel images. This is very small. Why in the world are artists required to upload 1920 x 1920 pixels if the jurors only see a 500 pixel maximum. Insult after injury!

All images are required to have black masks unless the image takes up the entire 1920x1920-pixel CaFÉ™ format. So I recommend submitting an image that is 1920 x 1920 if you can.This gives the artist a slightly larger image.

CAFEbars-verticalTo the left is a vertical image with a black mask.

Cafebars-horizontal 

To the right below is a horizontal image with black mask. Both images were taken from the CaFE site.

 

The reason that CaFE asks for black borders is that the background for their site is completely black. Thus the edges of the black mask run into the black background seamlessly.


For very dark images this was very bad.
The edge of the photo melted into the background. As a juror, a dark image on a black background was confusing. It was hard to tell where the photo stopped and the black mask started.

I recommend keeping your images lighter and brighter with clear edges for CaFE applications. A lighter background for your image might look better on CaFE.

Cafesloppyborders

One more thing, do not submit images with messy masks. (I created the example image on the left.) This seems so obvious, but I saw images with white slopping into the black mask.

 


Summary of recommendations when submitting images to CaFE:

Submit an image that is 1920 x 1920 (without a black mask on the edge.)

Submit images that are properly lit with clearly defined edges.

A lighter background for your image might look better than a dark background on CaFE.

If you need to create a black mask for your CaFE images the edges should be solid black.

TIP #1.  DAZZLE THE JURY WITH AMAZING IMAGES!  
TIP #2.  DYNAMIC DETAIL IMAGES ARE KEY.
TIP #3.  DO NOT SEND A BAD IMAGE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
TIP #4.  CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE ARRANGEMENT OR ORDER OF THE IMAGES CHOSEN.

Harriete

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