Fraud Blocker

If, like many photographers, you feel your work is buried in digital limbo, unseen and unappreciated, read on.

Exhibiting in a digital world continues to be an essential practice for photographers to be discovered, and there are numerous avenues for showcasing your photography and sharing your distinct perspective to a broader audience. From intimate collective displays to prominent solo gallery exhibitions, presenting your work can forge connections with an audience, enhance your standing, and elevate your career.

Here are some creative ideas and suggestions exploring the relevance of exhibitions in the digital age.

Magic of print

The true essence of a photograph may not be captured entirely by the limited pixels on a phone screen. Opting to create a physical print for exhibition purposes honours an image by converting it into an art piece that invites thoughtful consideration. A tangible print enhances the individual character of a photograph, giving it a significance and stature that elevates its presence beyond the digital realm.

Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Head On Portrait Awards 2016 finalists’ exhibition, Museum of Sydney

Forge connections

Online platforms only allow a glimpse at an image before swiping to the next, whereas galleries cultivate authentic, frequently enduring relationships. There’s the opportunity for dialogue, to address enquiries, and to divulge the muse inspiring the image-making. These significant exchanges link the photographer and the viewer, establishing a fellowship centred on your artistic expression.

Rob Johnson
Emma Hack’s exhibition, Head On Photo Festival 2018

Elevate your credibility

Showcasing your work in a curated environment, such as a gallery or festival, imbues your artistic endeavours with a layer of distinction and professionalism. This approach announces to the world that you are more than merely a camera enthusiast; you are a dedicated artist graced with a compelling vision.

Such exhibitions can potentially draw new audiences, discerning buyers, and media interest throughout the event. Furthermore, developing an exhibition portfolio enhances your professional profile and may lead to opportunities for gallery representation and connection with art collectors, elevating your career trajectory to new heights.

Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Erika Diettes installation, St Canice church, Head On Photo Festival 2014

Opens doors to new opportunities

Exhibitions are more than mere displays of prints; they may act as catalysts for new opportunities. When you gain recognition from the public, curators, art directors, and photo editors as a committed exhibitor, the doors open to various collaborative projects, commissions, and engagements that could extend well beyond the timeframe of the exhibit.

Your forthcoming exhibition has the potential to be the very launchpad that propels you towards the realisation of your artistic aspirations.

Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Tami Xiang’s installation, Head On Photo Festival 2019

Embracing the journey

An exhibition represents more than a retrospective showcase of your previous achievements; it is a dynamic leap towards what lies ahead. Having your photographs presented in such a manner propels you further on your artistic voyage, sparking innovative thoughts on presentation methods, encouraging experimental approaches, and facilitating encounters with intriguing individuals who may pave the way for fresh avenues of creative exploration.

Above all, it provides the invaluable chance to reflect on your evolution, recognise the strides you’ve made and warmly welcome the array of promising opportunities awaiting you.

Monique Harmer
Nancy Borowick’s book signing, Head On Photo Festival 2018

How to get started

Are you ready to dive into the world of exhibitions? Here are some tips to set you on your path:

Explore other exhibitions

Immersing yourself in the exhibitions of fellow photographers can be a source of inspiration. It allows you to absorb new ideas, discern current trends in photography and network with established and new talent. These interactions can lead to valuable feedback on your own work and help develop essential industry connections. Check out our What’s On page to see happening in photography throughout Australia.

Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Herlinde Koelbl tour, Head On Photo Festival 2017

Participate in photo competitions

Engaging with photo award competitions can offer exposure, the chance to win accolades, and the potential for sales. See our list of Photo contests/awards to consider in 2024.

Dean Sewell
Head On Portrait Awards 2023 finalists’ exhibition

Show at local art exhibitions

Making a mark in local art shows is a brilliant method to present your work to an audience and engage with your community. These events are also perfect for meeting curators and arts professionals who may play a part in your growing career.

Stephen Godfrey
Installation at 107 Gallery, Redfern, Head On Photo Festival 2022

Start Printing Your Work

Mastery comes with practice. Test various paper types and sizes to discover what resonates with your vision. Additionally, decide how involved you want to be in the printing process – printing at home, relying on professional services, or finding a balance between the two.

Steve Marshall
Portfolio review, Head On Photo Festival 2012

Cultivate Your Audience

The trepidation that nobody will attend your exhibition can be daunting, but by proactively nurturing relationships throughout your artistic journey, you can ensure a supportive crowd beyond just family and close friends will be there to celebrate your work.

Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Sophie Howarth’s exhibition opening, Head On Photo Festival 2022
Stephen Godfrey

How Head On gets you exhibiting

At Head On, we share a deep connection with photography, fully understanding the exhibition landscape’s intricacies and the journey many photographers embark upon. Our Festival is carefully curated to ensure that there is value on offer for you, no matter your stage in the creative process.

Throughout the Festival, we arrange a diverse array of complimentary and ticketed events to spark dialogue about the latest developments in photography.

We also facilitate artists’ talks and celebrate exhibition openings. For those who are newer to the scene, our AddOn event presents a non-competitive group exhibition and a book project that offers an excellent platform to showcase your work.


Stephen Godfrey
AddOn 2023 exhibition opening

We conduct two major international calls annually – the Head On Photo Awards and the Head On Photo Festival submissions. The Awards centres on a single image that could lead to inclusion in the finalists’ exhibition, while the Festival submission invites a series of related works, providing the opportunity to become a festival exhibitor. Both calls are highly competitive due to space constraints and are judged anonymously to ensure a level playing field for all entrants.

Festival submissions for 2024 are open till 17 March 2023.

Submit your project


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With a bit of research, planning and passion, exhibiting your work can be a transformative experience that leaves a lasting impression on you and your viewers.

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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