iPad: An Incredible Portfolio Tool

Marianne Barcelona: Artist, Photographer, Guest Blog Writer

“The iPad is an Incredible Portfolio Tool” — I am proud to introduce Marianne Barcellona, artist and photographer in NYC, as our Guest Blog writer. She writes on a very important subject for artists — how the Ipad can be used as a traveling portfolio — “The iPad is an Incredible Portfolio Tool”

Tired of lugging your heavy binder portfolio full of prints around with you? The iPad has revolutionized the way we can present our work, and it’s saving our backs.

It weighs a mere fraction of a binder full of prints, and it’s not as intimidating to others  – it’s as casual as pictures on a Phone, but better  (“You’re an artist? What kind of work do you do?” “Well I make… oh, I happen to have my IPad with me, I can show you a couple of…”). The colors and saturation of the IPad screen are excellent, and the screen size makes even a casual presentation powerful.  You can include titles and dimensions with the images, and even home in on details.

Last summer I happened to have my iPad with me when I met some new acquaintances who wanted to see what I do, and I ended up selling over $10,000 worth of work that they saw on my iPad!

I’ve created some templates that allow me to quickly add new images to my iPad portfolio. I’m working with Photoshop CS4, so earlier or later versions of Photoshop may have commands located in different menus from the ones indicated here. Also, I purposely use large images so that I can show enlarge to show brushwork and detail without having a blurry or pixilated image. The sizes suggested here have worked well for me.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 1

Remember, more people will see pictures of your work than the actual work, so you want to start with the most professional, color corrected, sharp images that you can get.

1) First, I refresh the color calibration of my monitor. Monitors drift, so it’s a good idea to do this every 10-14 days.

2) Next, on my computer I create a permanent folder called LAB. When I’m working on an image I use this as a holding place (as though I were taking the job to a lab and letting them do all the work so I can pick it up finished at the end). I keep a shortcut for LAB on my desktop for easy access. And the templates I create (Vertical and Horizontal) stay permanently in this folder.

3) I move a COPY of the image of the chosen artwork into the LAB folder to work on it. I always suggest working from a copy, so as not to risk permanently changing the original file.

4) I open Photoshop and I go to IMAGE – NEW and create a NEW DOCUMENT that will be a “canvas” on which to place my artwork images.  I make the background color black (you can choose white, but black creates a seamless passage from one image to the next in the).

For VERTICAL PAGES my canvas will be 10” high and 7.5” wide at 320 pixels/ inch

For HORIZONTAL PAGES my canvas will be 7.5” wide and 10” high at 320 ppi (as demonstrated here).

TIP: It helps to place vertical images on a vertical canvas, and square or horizontal images on horizontal canvas. It’s true that the iPad will switch vertical and horizontal viewing according to the way it’s held, but placing images on their corresponding canvas gives maximum coverage for best viewing of each image.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 45) The first time I create this document I’ll be saving it as a template that can be easily re-used it to create future portfolio pages.  I SAVE this black horizontal canvas into the LAB folder as a .PSD file:   IpadHorizontalTemplate.psd

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 5

TIP: I always keep the CHARACTER and the LAYERS palettes open in Photoshop when working with the iPad Template, as it allows me to make changes for each future re-use of the template.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 6

6) Next, I  RESIZE  my artwork image:

VERTICAL  images (on vertical canvas) should be a MAXIMUM of 9” high and a MAXIMUM of 7” wide at 320dpi.

HORIZONTAL images (on horizontal canvas) should be a MAXIMUM of 9.5” wide and MAXIMUM of 6.75” high at 320 dpi.

I make sure neither of these measurements exceeds these dimensions. I also make sure that the RESAMPLE box is checked and that the dropdown menu matches the situation (are you downsizing the image? Choose the Best for Reduction option). TIP:  The top of the dialogue box shows the old vs new size.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 77) Using the MOVE tool I drag and drop the art image onto the black canvas and center it. I use guidelines on the black canvas to help me center the image from left to right, and I leave room at the bottom for my caption.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 88) Using the TYPE tool, I choose a font, set the color to WHITE, the size to 12 POINT.  I write the title of my image in italics, followed by the medium and dimensions in non-italics. I drag guidelines from the ruler to help me keep the spacing even.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 9

9) Optional, but good for record-keeping:  on a new layer, I use the TYPE tool to write my registry number in 8-POINT font, aligning it horizontally with the title line and vertically with the right bottom edge of the image.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 10

10) I choose SAVE AS and keep the title iPadHorizontalTemplate.psd, preserving the file with its layers, into the LAB folder where it stays as a template.

11) I then flatten the image

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 12

12) I clear the guide lines, and save the new portfolio file into the LAB folder as a JPEG, renaming it according to my own naming system.  In this case I will call the file:
m 1126_iPadPortfolio.jpg

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 13

13) I can re-use this template PSD file now in the LAB folder to create another portfolio page by opening it (with its layers), resizing another artwork image to fit, dragging that image onto the template, selecting the TYPE layers and using the TYPE tool to revise  the title, medium, size and registry number.

Marianne Barcelona: Artist and Photographer - Picture 14

I then trash the layer with the old image, flatten the file and SAVE AS a high-res jpeg with new appropriate name into the LAB folder as another portfolio page:  X_IpadPortfolio.jpg

14) Once I amass all images for my portfolio, I put them into a folder named ARTWORK and I place that folder into another Permanent folder that I keep, entitled iPAD-UPLOADS (this makes it easy to locate items that go onto the iPad, and to replace old images with updated versions, etc).

I then upload the whole ARTWORK folder to the iPad.  Once the ARTWORK folder is on the iPad, I can create other new folders directly, and move these prime images into them. For example, I may create folders that are called WORKS ON PAPER, RECENT EXHIBITION, TREES, 2013, SOLD,  etc.  Some images may appear in several categories.

When I show my work to someone, I simply choose the folder that is appropriate to the occasion. I can even have TREES  1 and TREES 2, and I will only show the second folder if the viewer is really, really interested in seeing more trees. This way I’m not trapping anyone into an uncomfortable 20 minute presentation, but the option is there to follow up when they show genuine interest.

15) Last step – I clean out the LAB folder, either delete images I’m finished with or move them to another folder. I keep the LAB folder uncluttered, so that in the futures I can concentrate on whatever task is at hand.

MARIANNE BARCELLONA is a painter and photographer. She has enjoyed a successful career traveling the globe on editorial photographic assignment for major publications and corporations, and her experience of other cultures and landscapes provides source material for her paintings and drawings. An active member of The New York Artists Circle and the Hullaballoo Collective, she currently maintains her studio in Long Island City.



Marianne Barcellona Studio
The Wills Building
43-01 21st Street, Studio 205-B
Long Island City, New York 11101

Marianne Barcellona
749 West End Ave., #8B
New York, New York 10025


7 thoughts on “iPad: An Incredible Portfolio Tool

  1. That seems great! So, i wll buy an godd İPAD, soon as possible.
    Thank you for this good information and for sharing.

  2. I’ve had my iPad for about 5 months, and I love it! I also love the sketch apps for making sketches of ideas anywhere any time. Thank you for detailing how to create an iPad portfolio. Have your thought of developing an app for this You should create an app and make it available on iTunes. You could make some money from your app. I’ve found frame apps on iTunes but I don’t want frames. Your idea makes for a cleaner presentation, IMO.

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