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Are your image descriptions the best they can be?

Your image description is an important ingredient in the successful presentation of your work in all media. The image description can play many roles. Once written, it can be used over and over in multiple applications and situations.  Too frequently, artists are not taking full advantage of this important opportunity in developing an identity for their work.

Your image description should ideally be short and to the point. It is NOT an artist statement or bio. It should include:

  • Title of the work
  • Copyright
  • Date of the work
  • Name of artist
  • Materials
  • Dimensions
    • height
    • width
    • depth
  • Photo Credit

If your work has a mechanism or some element that is not apparent in the photo, add one short sentence about this feature in the description.

WomanizerFULL72 Write the image description as soon as you complete the work. Then you can use it over and over.  Get in the habit of including the image description EVERY TIME you  show your work. This includes all postings on the web for Facebook, Flickr or portfolio sites like Crafthaus. There is no excuse for not posting your description. It only takes a few minutes to copy and paste the description into any situation.

Do NOT use the term "mixed media."  It is not descriptive enough to help the viewer figure out if you used oil paint, or nail polish, glitter, sequins, rhinestones or gemstones, oil paint to enamel, just to mention a few scenarios.

Avoid using "fluff" terms that might be found in a T.V. commercial or print ad or catalog.  Terms such as "designer,"  "showcase," "special," etc. are not appropriate in your image description.  A selling situation is completely different than an image description. If you are selling your work or describing your work for a catalog, then you can modify the image description to suit a particular context.

Place or link your image description with all your work that appears online. This is not conceited self-promotion, this is sharing information with your viewers. 

Your image description can also be used for on line jury sites and applications. Keep the information to the facts. Advertising verbiage is inappropriate in this context. 

A sample image description is shown below.

Womanizer, Kitchen Queen    © 1982  Harriete Estel Berman

Blender body and lid are a painted copper construction.
Button panel has a plastic lamination with applied lettering reads:

Pierced Nu-gold brass lettering on button panel Womanizer, Kitchen Queen and
crown (Misstress of the Home).

Ballerina inside the transparent plastic blender container pirouettes in conjunction with the music by wind-up mechanism.                                            

15" height   x   5” width   x   5.5" depth

Photo Credit: Philip Cohen