Digital Image Submission Guidelines

The following guidelines pertain to calls for SAQA Global Exhibitions and Virtual Galleries only. Regional calls may vary so check the prospectus for details. 

Additional Links:

For SAQA calls, jurors select the work through images submitted online as part of the entry form - they do NOT see the actual artwork. This is why it is vital to send the best possible images. Using a professional photographer is recommended but not required.

Overall Guidelines

The photo images must be excellent: artwork edges are included, no pins or hanging rods show, any visible background has no distractions. The lighting is good and consistent across the entire piece; everything is in focus and shot squarely, not distorted. 

The artwork should be the only item visible in the image other than a neutral background (white, black, or gray preferred). For 3D pieces, you can include a plain pedestal or dress form. You may use any image-editing software as needed to change image sizes, crop backgrounds, or make small color-corrections to better match the actual piece.

Full-view images of the artwork must show all the artwork edges. Do NOT crop your photo into any part of the artwork as this may disqualify your entry.

Detail images reveal the stitching or some intriguing portion of the work. They are separate photographs of a selected area, not merely a cropped area from the full image. For 3D or ceiling hung pieces, you will be asked to submit one overall front image, one overall rear or side view image, and one detail image.

Please note:

  • Artists are no longer asked to blur signatures, initials, or other identifying marks on their submissions to Global or Virtual Gallery calls for entry. Any blurring will be done by SAQA staff prior to the jurying process. This change does not apply to regional calls - check prospectus for details.
  • Your artwork must match the digital images submitted - no further changes or stitching can be made after submission. If there are material differences between the photographs and the artwork, the Exhibition Committee Chair reserve the right to disqualify the work.    

Digital Image Requirements

When entering a SAQA Call for Entry, the submission form will include the specific file requirements for the particular call (these may vary). While the form does NOT check the pixel size or file size on uploaded files, you will want to ensure that your images meet the specifications.

  • For each wall hung 2D entry, submit one overall digital image and one detail digital image. 
  • For each 3D artwork entry, submit one overall front image, one overall rear or side view image, and one detail image.
  • Full-view images of the artwork must show all the artwork edges. 
  • Detail images should be in portrait orientation. Do not simply crop your full-view image.
  • Digital images must be saved as a high-quality JPEG or JPG file (No TIFF files). Do not include your name or initials in the filename (title is ok). 
  • Finished images should be at least 2100 pixels on the longest side and not more than 4200 pixels. 
  • Files should NOT exceed more than 12 MB per file for 2D submissions, 8 MB for 3D submissions (form max is 25 MB)


Important Info about Sizes

You do have to be mindful of file sizes as the submission form cannot exceed 25 MB in uploaded image files (usually there are a maximum of 3 per artwork). You will receive an error if this limit is exceeded. You also have to make sure your pixel size meets the specifications on the submission.

Here's how you can find these sizes on your computer:

  • Open the folder or file location where the image is saved.
  • Right-click the image.
  • Select Get Info (Mac) or Properties (Windows). For Windows users, you also need to click on either the Details or Summary tab for the information. The tab will depend on your operating system.

If your file exceeds the maximum pixel size, you will need to resize it smaller. This can be done using Preview (MAC), Paint (Windows), or other software products. If you are not familiar with how to do this, there are many resources available online that can provide you with specific instructions for your computer and software version.

There are also some online file resizers such as or In addition to pixel size, they also have the ability to resize image size in MB.

If your file size is below the minimum pixels, you will need to get another picture. You cannot increase the number of pixels without a loss of image quality. 

Even if your image file is within the specific pixel range, it may still be too large for uploading due to image resolution, number of colors, compression/quality, etc. You can check the file size using the instructions above. Remember that 1000 KiloBytes (KB) = 1 MegaByte (MB). To reduce the file size, you may need to set a pixel size closer to the minimum requirement.

Since there are slight variations in how file sizes are calculated, we recommend a 24 MB target size for ALL your uploaded images (12 MB each if submitting 2 images or 8 MB each for 3 images). You can slightly decrease the image quality or resolution when saving the image to reduce the file size.

If you are accepted into a SAQA Global exhibition, you WILL be contacted if your image isn't suitable for printing in the exhibition catalog. This can be due to resolution issues, lighting problems, or blurriness. You may need to provide updated photos or make arrangements for a professional photographer. Note that this does NOT apply to Virtual Galleries. Due to the tight deadlines, artists will not be able to provide revised images.

Additional Resources

Tips for Successful Art Quilt Photography by Lynn Krawczyk

Basics of Copy Photography by Kestrel Michaud

Photographing Your Quilts by Vicki Conley (online class)

Photographing Art Quilts: Tips from a Pro by Frank Klein (extracted from Art Quilt Quarterly #29)

Submitting Photos to SAQA Publications by Deidre Adams

Help with Resizing Photos by Gloria Hansen (video)

Shoot That Quilt! Digital photography for textile artists by Andy Baird and Holly Knott

Preparing Your Digital Images for Juried Exhibition by Gregory Case

Photoshop Help / Image size and resolution