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2020 Photography

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Konrad Eek and Ben Long


Photography students are instructed in various photographic techniques and are encouraged to utilize the aesthetics of their surroundings. Students explore conventional and digital photography, along with darkroom and digital editing techniques. Student photography is displayed in public exhibitions. 20 students are accepted.

Please note: If selected, each photography student is required to bring a digital SLR camera and 5 rolls of black and white film to the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. A 35 mm film camera is recommended, but not required.

Requirements for Applicants

1. Complete an online application and schedule your interview no later than noon the weekday before your desired audition date. See dates in right side bar or view full interview schedule here. Interview spaces fill quickly, so schedule as soon as possible.

2. Bring a government-issued I.D. or birth certificate to your audition for age verification purposes.

3. Read guidelines below and tips to prepare for your interview.

4. Arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early to check in. You will be interviewed.

You must bring the following items:

  • USB flash drive containing 6-8 photographs (see submission requirements below)

Portfolio Submission Guidelines

  • You may submit conventional and/or digital photographs, but all photos must be submitted digitally in JPEG format and saved to a USB flash drive. You must bring your portfolio on a USB flash drive to your scheduled interview, or you will not be allowed to interview. The photo files will be copied onto OAI’s drive and distributed digitally to judges.
  • Choose 6 – 8 photographs that you have shot and developed or processed. If you submit more than 8 photos, you will NOT be allowed to interview. The photos must have been taken AFTER March 1 of the prior year. (Former OSAI students may not submit work produced at OSAI.)
  • Scale your work to 1200 pixels in the longest dimension. (This is the equivalent of 300 dpi when the longest dimension is 4 inches.)
  • If you are submitting digital work, please keep in mind that adjudicators will look at the metadata embedded in the photo file to assess your technical abilities. (If you are shooting every photo in fully automatic mode, it will affect your score.)
  • If you are submitting darkroom work, we recommend that you scan the images at the highest optical resolution provided by your scanner, and THEN SCALE the resulting file to 1200 pixels on the longest side.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on your photos or saved photo files. If your computer program requires you to name your photo files, do NOT save them as your name. Save your files in JPEG format and name each file in your portfolio simply “OSAI 1”, “OSAI 2”, “OSAI 3”, etc.
  • If possible, test your USB flash drive in more than one computer to make sure it works.
  • If you have any questions, call 405.605.7500 or email

What to Expect at Your Audition

  • Watch our video to learn what to expect at your OSAI Photography audition.
  • During the photography interview, the interviewer will review your photographs and ask questions to gain an understanding of your perspective and technique.
  • Additionally, the interviewer will score you on your basic understanding of how the camera works in manual mode (i.e. concepts like contrast, depth of field, focal length, and F-stop).

Portfolio Tips


  • Include images that show a range of interests and photographic abilities.
  • Display your understanding of photographic technique. Pay attention to composition, use of light, and contrast.
  • Think about the images you’ve selected for submission and what they say about your point of view as an artist. In the interview, you will be asked to talk about your work.
  • Pay attention to submission guidelines regarding image size and format.


  • Submit work done for class assignments. The judges are interested in self-assigned creative work as opposed to yearbook or student paper photographs.
  • Submit clichés. While your family pet or younger sibling may be cute, most photographs of such subject matter are considered snapshots rather than art.
  • Rely on special effects and other image editing tricks.

USING IMAGES FROM A CAMERA PHONE (e.g., iPhone or other smartphone)

  • Although photographs shot with a camera phone are acceptable, please consider the following:

    – Images taken with a camera phone will have to be resized and renamed with an image editor.

    – Because camera phones lack manual exposure control, camera phone submissions will do nothing to demonstrate your knowledge of exposure theory.

    – Just because you have an image that is perfectly composed doesn’t necessarily mean you have a technically great image.  A technically weak submission might be interpreted by the judges as a sign of someone who lacks strong technical skill and understanding.

    – If you choose to submit photos taken with a camera phone, it is strongly recommended that you also include some images that demonstrate exposure control.

Judging Criteria

• Composition – 30%
• Creativity and originality – 30%
• Technique – 15%
• Potential – 15%
• Technical knowledge (from interview) – 10%

Read general information about our adjudication procedures here.