Fraud Blocker


With our call for exhibitions open only until Sunday, we thought now would be a good time to give you some tips for submitting.

But first, you might be asking yourself why you should exhibit in a festival – not just Head On – but any photo festival?

It costs time and money, so what’s the advantage? When asked this question, we like to paraphrase an American photographer who exhibited with us a few years ago who said that, for him, this is not an expense, it’s an investment.  It’s an investment in your work, your profile and your career. In a short amount of time, the festival’s duration, your work gets seen by a broad audience, not just people who like photography, but also curators, photo editors and hopefully even people who would commission you or buy your work.  So yes, we too believe this is a good investment in yourself as an artist.

So if you think that you have a body of work that you would like to share with the world, but you’re not sure how to go about it, here’s a handy 5 tip guide to getting your work ready for submission.


1- Make it cohesive

The most important thing with the submission is to ensure that the work is cohesive.

It needs to have a similar style and narrative and be sequenced in a way that makes sense. So whether you have a particular theme or story to tell, make sure the work sits well together.

Matt Smith – Beyond the break


2 – Make it your own

The next tip is to avoid clichés and concentrate on a body of work that is uniquely yours and different from others.

When people are exposed to similar imagery over and over again, they tend to end up ignoring it, so think about how you can create a series of images that will make people stop and look – both the judging panel and ultimately the audience.

Anna Bedinska – Clothes for death

a unique take on a topic that is taboo in many cultures

3 – Subtle post-processing

Our third tip is not to overdo the post-processing; subtlety is key!

Don’t go hard on Photoshop unless it compliments your work or your narrative. Don’t use Instagram filters or strong vignetting. Often these elements confuse the narrative. Concentrate on your story and your aesthetics.

Remember that selective colour craze?


4 – Write well about your work

The next element to pulling your work together is your artist statement. 

This is about the work.  Don’t go overboard with this – we just want to know how to interpret your work’s subject matter.  Provide an overview in two or three sentences, and don’t just describe the work – tell the story behind it. 

Also, avoid long, arty sounding words… have a look at to learn what not to write!!


5 – Ensure it’s technically good

The final tip is to make sure that the work is technically good. 

Sounds crazy, right – but you’d be surprised how often we receive photos that are so poorly executed no one would want to look at them.

We want to see good photography that demonstrates a deep connection with the subject matter or an in-depth understanding of the genre.

Will the image file hold up at the reproduction size in the exhibition?


Head On Photo Festival has moved to November, and this year we are grateful to have some funding that will allow us to cover the costs and offer a participation fee to several of the best submissions.

Remember that when you submit to Head On Photo Festival, our selection committee only sees the photo and the title, not the artist’s name, which ensures that all work is chosen on its merit and not just on the photographer’s pedigree!! 

So go on, what are you waiting for – take the plunge and submit your amazing photos to Head On Photo Festival 2021.


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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage