Submissions FAQs

Open Show’s main format is 5 presenters with 10-15 minutes each to show a 20 image or 3-8 min. video or multimedia project and field audience questions, comments and feedback. Our focus is on sparking a conversation rather than a lecture-style presentation.

Find the submission details & requirements here >>

Do you have to be a professional to submit work?
Definitely not–we try to maintain a healthy mix from beginners to seasoned professionals. It's that mixture of experience and perspectives that provides a an organic conversation about the images. We encourage you to use the format to get feedback on your project!

Can commercial or other types of photographers show their work?
Open Show is open genre–one of our mottos is "visual omnivores wanted." Reportage, documentary, commercial, fine art, abstract, historical, and others are all accepted. We also accept 3-8 minute film and multimedia pieces. As long as the work is yours!

Can painters, illustrators, graphic artists or designers present at Open Show?
Open Show work must be comprised of or make use of photo or video content. If 100% of the content is animation, graphics, paintings, or other purely non-photo or film elements it will not be accepted for Open Show. We love animation and graphic work, it’s just not what we focus on.

How can I show film/slide-based work or projects using alternative photographic processes?
Non-digital work must be scanned since our show is digitally projected and we judge projects based on content submitted via our website. If you have a unique piece that is performance based or requires other equipment, please contact the co-producers of your specific city.

Are collaborative projects eligible? Can multiple creators present?
Absolutely. Open Show has a long history of collaborative presenters and we feel it adds value to the show from both an audience and creator’s perspective. In fact, collaborative projects are given extra weight in our curating process as one of Open Show’s goals is to highlight non-solo work.

Can I submit a project with more or less than 20 images?
Presenters must show exactly 20 images. We have found that 20 images is the perfect balance between demonstrating a substantial body of work and tight editing to focus the purpose of the work. It is also a requirement given the time available at each show for the five presenters.

Can you help me edit down my project to 20 images?
To remain unbiased in the curation process, our busy volunteer co-producers are not allowed to help edit work. However, we suggest finding people you respect to give you feedback about selection, order and overall impact. We also encourage people to attend shows before they present and ask others at the show for help. Nine times out of 10 they say yes, so don't be shy!

What files do you need for multimedia or film work?
All multimedia and video projects must be within 3-8 minute runtime and packaged in a single MOV file. MPG may be acceptable given the setup, but we prefer MOV for consistency and resolution quality. Please send files via the FREE

If there are only pictures and music in my project is that multimedia?
mage slideshows with generic music are not multimedia according to Open Show's definition. We have two rules regarding work with audio:
1) Audio must be project relevant or complementary (ambient sound, subject talking, layered soundtrack, etc.)
2) All audio used must be properly licensed (music, sourced material, etc.).

Can I include text on photos or transition slides?
No, we do not allow any text on images or transition slides, including watermarks, stats, explanatory text, captions, poems, etc. Open Show is focused on standalone images put in context by the presenters verbal presentation. One important exception applies to title sequence and credits for film and multimedia pieces–those are allowed.

Can I include a watermark on my work?
We follow the rules of standard contests and exhibitions and do not allow watermarks. This helps maintain presentation consistency and improves the overall audience experience. As photographers ourselves, we place the utmost value in protecting your intellectual rights, and have outlined how your work will and will not be used in our Terms of Use.

What DPI should I use?
DPI doesn't matter when you're publishing to the web, so just make sure your images are 1500px (or larger) on the longest side.

Do I have to attend the show in order for my work to be shown?
Yes–Open Show is strictly a live, interactive event. If you are unable to make the show, your project will automatically be dropped from the lineup and not eligible for future shows unless there are substantial extenuating circumstances.

How much time do presenters have to speak?
There is 10-15 minutes of time per presenter depending on amount of questions/comments the audience has for each presentation. Each show contains 5 projects.

Does the time allotment include the introduction?
It does indeed, so we recommend keeping your introduction under a minute if possible. Typically a presenter gives a brief introduction, then the slide show starts and they continue to both talk about the project and field questions from the audience throughout the presentation.

What is the audience size?
The average attendance to an Open Show screening is 80, but can get up to 150. We tend to cap the size at 150 to maximize the interactive experience of our unique social screening format. Each show also depends on the capacity of the venue.

What type of people attend the shows?
Our goal is to be accessible to anyone, so the crowd is usually a mix of creators, photo/film fans, friends and the general public. There is often no dominant age, gender, background etc.

Where in the show's order will my presentation fall?
Order is not finalized until we setup shortly before the show. If you come 45 minutes before the showtime you may talk to the presentation co-producer handling the laptop regarding order, but the final decision is up to the co-producers and not the presenter.

Do I have to stand up to present?
A key part of Open Show is creator's explaining directly to audiences their intention with a project and interacting with them about the effectiveness in reaching their goal or the overall impact of their work. This feedback loop is only possible through creators personally representing their work. That said, this is not a lecture event; our goal is conversation, not just presentation.

Can I use my own laptop to present?
All presentations need to be run from our own laptop to both ensure a seamless viewing experience and eliminate any potential technical issues between the projector and laptop.

Can I bring my photo book to sell, postcards or other promotional materials to hand out?
We allows our presenters to bring props, promos, books and even their subjects to the event to make our shows as interactive as possible. If you are selling prints, books, etc. we ask that y0u donate a suggested 10% to Open Show. If need a dedicated table, please contact your city's co-producer at least a week before the show (and after being accepted) to confirm if the venue can accommodate your request.

Is it okay to film the show and post online (YouTube, etc.)?
A core part of Open Show's mission is focusing on unique, collective and personal experiences of creative work that give context to work. We do not allow audiences to film Open Show events as it takes away from the casual environment we wish to create. Also it may violate the copyright of presenters and dilute the potential professional or commercial value of presenters work.

Can I play music with my still photo project?
Open Show's mission is focused on interaction between presenters and audience, so audio with still images is not allowed. However, film and multimedia projects are allowed; we play the full piece with audio and then loop on mute to allow for audience questions and feedback. All audio must be properly licensed in any work at Open Show – we are in a stronger position to defend the rights of photographers if we treat fellow creative people's work with respect.

Are we expected to speak in English?
Despite our website being largely in English (it's headed towards being multilingual), all of our local shows in non-English countries put local creators and audience first for primary language. That said, we want all to be welcome and local co-producers are encouraged to translate for presenters and audience. Please check with them upon acceptance of your project.