Creating a strong profile

Your Te Wāhi Toi profile says a lot about you, your work, and your offerings. The stronger your profile, the better it represents you as an artist or an arts group, so it’s really important that your Creative Directory listing is informative, considered, and visually appealing.

Your profile listing should effectively communicate your vision, style, and skills, and provide insight into your…

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Your Te Wāhi Toi profile says a lot about you, your work, and your offerings. 

The stronger your profile, the better it represents you as an artist or an arts group, so it’s really important that your Creative Directory listing is informative, considered, and visually appealing.

Your profile listing should effectively communicate your vision, style, and skills, and provide insight into your background and artistic journey. To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve collated a few tips for writing a good bio, taking a good profile photo, and photographing your work as a creative individual or organization.


Writing a Good Bio

Your artist bio is often the first real impression that people have of you and your work, so it's important to make it engaging and informative. Your bio should accurately highlight what you do, what you offer, and your journey so far.

1. Make it sound like you.

Don’t worry about trying to sound like anything other than yourself. Your bio should reflect your authentic personality - so write like you’re talking to a friend, or telling someone about your business at a BBQ. For a personal profile, use first person, so ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘my’. For a group or business, try saying ‘we’ or ‘us’. And if you can’t imagine yourself saying it, change it.

2. Highlight your achievements and experiences.

This is the time to toot your own horn a little. List any exhibitions, awards, accreditations or publications you’ve been featured in. Highlight your previous education and training, and any other accolades you’re proud of. This is a great way to establish some credibility as an artist, so don’t shy away from sharing your achievements.

3. Share your background and personality. 

Your bio is a great place to connect with your audience on a personal level. You might want to share a brief overview of your background, your artistic influences, and what drives you to create. Give your audience a little insight into your personality and artistic style, and don’t be afraid to share why you’re passionate about what you do.

4. Keep it concise and easy to read.

You want to make sure you’re including all the relevant information, while also keeping it short, sweet and concise. If you’ve got a lot to say, break it up with smaller paragraphs, as large bodies of text can be daunting for your reader.

5. Triple-check your spelling and grammar.

Your bio should be a well-written piece of work, with no spelling or grammar errors. This is a quick way to devalue what you’ve written, so make sure to triple-check your bio before going live.

Taking a Good Profile Photo

Your profile photo is a visual representation of you as an artist, whether an individual or a group. While your work will do most of the talking about your skills, consider your profile picture as a way of representing your brand, style, and personality right from the moment someone finds your profile listing. Your photo should be professional, engaging, and representative of who you are.

1. Choose a clean, neutral background.

A cluttered, busy background will distract people from the main focus: you. Make sure you find a clean, clear background that will keep the focus right where it should be.

2. Use natural lighting.

Choose a location with plenty of natural light, as this is the best way to capture your features accurately. Harsh light can make you appear washed out, low light can add unnatural yellow tones, and bright direct light can mean unwanted shadows. Ideally, find a naturally lit spot close to a window. If necessary, you can also use studio lighting, just make sure it’s diffused light so it doesn’t appear too harsh.

3. Dress to impress.

Your profile photo should reflect your artistic style, and clothing is a great way to do that. Dress comfortably, in a way that best represents you as an artist. Keep it simple, keep it appropriate, and keep it reflective of you.

4. Use a good camera.

A good camera can make all the difference in the quality of your profile photo. Use a professional camera, or use a smartphone with a high-quality camera app. A high-quality image speaks to a high-quality artist! If you don't have the newest or flashiest phone, perhaps ask a friend. 

5. Experiment with poses and angles.

Experiment with different angles to find the most flattering one. A slightly elevated angle can be more flattering than a straight-on shot.

6. Show some personality.

A profile picture is your chance to show a bit of personality and give us a real sense of you. Smile, relax, and be yourself.


Photographing Your Work as an Artist

Good photographs of your artwork are crucial for showcasing your work online. Your artistic portfolio is the best way to attract new clients or represent your talents to the right people, so it’s important your photos reflect the high quality of your work as best as possible.

1. Use a high-quality camera.

While you don’t need the most expensive DSLR to shoot a good photo, using a high-quality camera will do a lot of the work for you. If you’re using your phone, make sure the quality settings are at the highest they can be. A high-quality photo speaks to high-quality work, while a low-quality, dull or blurry photo can give the same impression about your art. If you don’t have a good camera, consider asking a friend or getting a professional photographer in.

2. Ditch the clutter.

Much like your profile picture, a busy, cluttered background distracts and takes away from your work. Even if you need to move some things around, make sure you find a clean, clear location to photograph your work that gives it all the attention. If you want to include other objects in your shot for creative framing, make sure it’s intentional.

3. Use natural lighting.

Where possible, try to photograph your work in natural lighting, as this is the best way to accurately capture the right colours, textures, and contrasts of your work. Low light or overly bright lighting (ie the flash on your phone or artificial lighting) can distort the colours and make your work look dull or washed out.

4. Use a tripod or stable surface.

A shaky camera can make your photos look blurry or distorted, so try to keep the camera as steady as possible.

5. Capture the details.

Unless you’re working in 2D, there’s a good chance a photo won’t quite do your work justice. It’s a good idea to share one image of your work as a whole (if applicable), and then experiment with different angles to capture the smaller details and textures a zoomed-out shot might miss.


At the end of the day, your listing is your chance to show people your work. A clear, fleshed-out, professional listing says the same about you and your work as an artist, whereas a low-quality, rushed, half-finished profile doesn’t reflect well on your work. We recommend putting half an hour aside, sitting down, and giving your profile 110% to best represent your offerings. 

If you need a hand setting up your listing, feel free to get in touch. We're here to help. 

Helpful Hint:  When creating your listing on Te Wāhi Toi, you can save a draft of what you’ve done. That way, if you get started but find you need to come back later with better images, that’s fine too.


Cover image: Shannon Courtenay - Local Ceramic Artist, at work in her studio. Captured by Storyworks.

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