Documenting Artwork

Documentation of artworks for exhibition

An examiner sees only the photograph, not the original work, so make sure the documentation is as good as can be

Once students have completed and selected the works for The Exhibition they will need to focus on documenting their work in the best possible way, and make sure to adhere to the formats and files compatible for uploading. This page looks at the key issues in documenting work for E submission for Exhibition

Accurate "professional" documentation

Take care to photograph work as professionally as possible as this is the only evidence that the moderator will see and distractions such as poor quality, blurry photos, background interference etc will detract from the viewing of the work. Schedule some time for a proper photoshoot. Photos should be accurate representations of the work, not altered in photoshop, except for adjusting exposure etc.

Still or Video?

Both formats are acceptable, it is up to the student to choose the one most suitable to the artwork. In most cases a good still photo is preferable, but some works will benefit by being documented as a moving image, ( i.e time based work, performance, some installations or sculptures that require moving around the space). There is also the option of including two Additional Supporting Photos -see below.

Tip for students:  Keeping a Digital Portfolio -essential reading! Keep your portfolio updated each time you complete a studio piece. This will make your upload much easier!

Photographing work

• Well lit environment, use natural or artificial light, but no flash
• You can make adjustments of brightness in photoshop but careful not to distort or alter the truth.
• Crop photo to show only the artwork (2D), no background interference, no frames or glass please!
• Photograph 3D work with a plain background, no confusing backgrounds!
• For large scale work or 3D work that needs to be seen from more than one angle you may include up to two additional supporting photos


You can photograph 2D work in full sunlight quite easily. This works well for smaller pieces: Lay flat on a neutral ground and take picture from above, keeping the camera lens perfectly parallel to the picture plane and avoiding any shadows.

Filming work

If filming using natural light whenever possible.

Be wary of bright backgrounds. These can cause the camera to “narrow its eye”, making the foreground dark and difficult to see. Draw blinds or curtains to exclude background brightness (such as windows). Alternatively, perhaps a different room can be used, so that the camera is looking away from the brightness (for example, away from a window, rather than towards it).

Keep the documentary footage very brief! When the artwork is a video piece you need to upload a short clip for assessment, remembering that examiners don't need to have large, long files to review..5 minutes is sufficient and 500 MB is max.

Marking the Exhibition as a "digital document"

The teacher is the one who will see the actual student work, the examiner will only be looking at the digital documentation. Teachers are therefor asked to refer to the digital on screen version of the exhibition that the examiner sees when marking the exhibition. The reasoning behind this is to keep the evidence consistent. . .hence the importance of high quality documentation.

Temporary Works

Include documentation of works in the form they appear in the actual exhibition.

When a temporary or ephemeral artwork is included as part of the exhibition, the student must decide which is the artwork, the installation, or the ( photo/video) documentation. Whatever is submitted for assessment must be the same as what was actually displayed at the exhibition. For those of you interested in learning more about temporary artworks or trying this out with your students, go to page on Ephemeral Art.

for example....

In the case of temporary artworks that are digitally documented, the artwork that the student submits for assessment must be the one that was actually displayed in the exhibition. The student should decide what will be shown at the exhibition and document accordingly.

LIVE a student piece is performed live during the exhibition, the student documents the piece in video and uploads this video for assessment. The medium however remains the actual performance and this should be indicated in the exhibition text.

VIDEO a video showing the performance piece is projected at the exhibition. This is submitted as a time based artwork, the medium is video, the duration of video indicated in size field

PHOTO a photographic print of the performance is presented at the exhibition. This is submitted as a digital version of the photo but the file specifies the size and medium of the printed photo that was exhibited.

When a photographic print is part of the exhibition submission the original digital file may be submitted for assessment. Do not take a photo of a photo as the image quality will be poor.

The two exhibition overview photographs are required

The two exhibition photographs (no video documentation is accepted ) are mandatory. This documentation helps examiners to see an overview of the exhibition and provides insight. Take two good photos possibly from different angles. Avoid showing the student in the picture, and try not to show other students work.

For 2021/22 assessment only one overview photo is required and the number of pieces submitted has been reduced,

please visit Assessment Updates page

For schools that are closed see Remote Exhibition  

OPTIONAL:Two additional supporting photographs per image

For each of the artworks submitted students can also include two extra photos, called supporting photos, when the work requires it.

This is not usually necessary and should only be used when one image isn't enough to show the whole work properly. For example, a sculptural or installation work that needs to be seen from several angles, or maybe a very large piece or composite image that requires a detail close-up ( although examiners can zoom in on screen). More info at Additional Supporting Photos

Files accepted and sizes

Image: JPG, TIF- ........MAX 5 MB

The maximum size for image files is 5MB, however it is expected that the majority of files will not exceed 3MB.

Video: F4V, M4V, MOV, MP4 .........5 minutes/500 MB

File Order

Upload files in the order you want them to appear. File slots are numbered so students can select the order of the presentation.

Minimum slots for SL are 4, minimum for HL 8, but up to seven artworks at SL and 11 artworks at HL can be submitted.

You can use the exhibition artworks log on this page: Exhibition Texts


No prescribed number of art making forms for the Exhibition ( that requirement is for the Process Portfolio only) The emphasis here is on presenting a selection of successfully resolved work that meets the Exhibition Assessment Criteria . Advice from the teacher is important but this is ultimately the students choice. Be sure to describe the medium accurately in the Exhibition Texts

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