Rejected Again? Here’s Why

Buyers Market of American Craft trade show floorTired of all those rejections? Use these strategies to get the green light to more shows, more opportunities, and more sales



You struggle to get into better shows and fairs. You apply for upcoming gallery exhibitions, and keep getting turned down. You send out press releases and they are ignored. No one wants to represent you as an artist, or make a purchase. You may even start thinking, “Should I change my style? Doesn’t anyone like my work? How can I get ahead?” From where you stand, it’s hard to know why you got rejected.

On the other side of the fence, however, it’s easy to see why rejections are given, and how to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Juries, gallery staff, promoters, agents, licensees, and editors make choices all the time.  They see many, many submissions, and look at many, many images.

The truth is that the number of poorly taken photographs of art and craft work submitted for consideration is absolutely astounding.


Designer Susanne Williams handmade leather purse

Leather Dress & Bag by Susanne Williams/Photo Credit Jill Ockhardt


There are many “average” photos submitted to competitions, but only about 5% of artists and craftspeople submit truly outstanding photographic images of their work that stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.

Yes – you have to have good ideas, good design, and technical skill to create work that is noticed, accepted and purchased. Unless that’s your issue, it’s very likely that your photos are holding you back.

It is an investment to get gorgeous, glamorous images of your work taken. Great photographers don’t come cheap, because they can often make their subjects look even better than the real thing. But the results speak for themselves.

What do outstanding photos say on your behalf? 

  • You are a total professional
  • Your work would be an asset to the show/fair/exhibition
  • The quality of your work shows through in your photos
  • This is an image that belongs on the cover!

Of course, you need images that comply with the requirements of the competition or show, but have other photos taken of your work as well.  You may want to show your work in a room setting – notice how retail sites like offer room views to help purchasers visualize art in their homes.

Show your work as a collection, a tabletop grouping, or on a model (use a professional model who knows how to show your work to its best advantage.)


dramatic trade show booth

Dramatic images enhance booth design


How can you use these images?

  • In advertisements
  • On the home page of your website for the “wow” factor
  • Blown up and used as retail or trade show booth signage
  • On the cover of your brochure and other marketing material
  • In press releases and press kits

Start using high-quality professionally-taken photos of your art or craft, and you will see noticeable results in the amount of respect and attention your work is getting.


Visit WilliNilli to see more handmade leather design by Susanne Williams.


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