Photographing Your Artwork

Photographing Your Artwork


Photographing your artwork is not very difficult, you just have to be thorough and not be in a hurry.

Since your buyer can't view the artwork in a physical gallery, it's very important to take high quality photos of your pieces. You want to maximise the chance that the painting is going to be sold (if that's your goal) and a dark, blurry, poorly cropped photo will not do that. You want to take a photo that is as close to the original as possible. Follow these steps and get those high quality photos you need. Read through the whole description before you start photographing your artwork and then you can print it out if you want to.



The Camera

1. It's preferred to use a SLR camera (it doesn't have to be the-top-of-the-line-one) but a "point-and-shoot-camera" will do the job too. If you're not very familiar with all of the cameras features and settings, have the camera manual handy.

2. If you have a tripod, use it. It makes the whole shooting so much easier. If not, you have to think about being VERY steady with your arms and hands. More on that later.

3. Choose a high mega pixel setting; good quality.

4. Set the white balance for the light you are shooting in. If you are unsure set the camera on "sun-light". If you find that the picture has the wrong colour compared to your original art work, try another white balance setting.

5. Use a fairly high shutter speed; 160-200. Slow shutter speed might blur the picture.

6. Use 100-200 ISO.

7. Clean the lens. You don't want dust spots in your pictures. Use a soft, clean piece of cloth, preferably one made for cleaning lenses. If you still get dusts pots in the picture you might have dust on the chip inside the camera (SLR cameras). Caution! Read the manual on how to do this! You can damage the camera. Or let your camera dealer help you.

8. Turn of the flash. The flash will give the picture of your artwork highlights that you don't want there!


Photographing Your Artwork.

1. Go outside. The best light is on a slightly cloudy day. Find a light place and prop your artwork preferably against a white background. If you don't have a plain white wall, you can for example use a white sheet, a plain white table cloth or a piece of white cardboard.

If you have to be indoors find a place close to the window so you get as much natural light as possible and do the same with the the background as above.

2. Place the art piece as upright as possible, but be careful it doesn't fall over and get damaged.

3. Now you have to be very thorough...

- Centre the image.

- Leave a bit of the backdrop in the image. You will crop it later in your image editor. Read more about that under Edit Your Photos.

- Make sure both camera and art piece are level. You have to make sure the camera is exactly straight in front of the art piece, so you don't take the photo slightly from above or underneath or from the side. Then the angle is going to be wrong and you get a distortion/tilt of the art piece. See the pictures below. This is why it's so much easier if you have a tripod. Then you can adjust the camera until you see, (when you look through the camera), that all sides of the art piece are aligned with the sides of the camera.



No tripod? Then you have to think about standing very steady, pushing your arms against your chest. Adjust yourself until you can see that all sides are aligned as described above. When you are ready to take the photo you hold your breath.

- Take several pictures and then you have to look at them in your computer. Leave the tripod and art piece in the exact position so you easily can take some more pictures if you have to.

4. Have a look in the computer to see that at least one pictures is good; Good lighting, sharp, and straight. If not you have take new photos.

Now you have to edit the photo in an image editor. Read more about that Edit Your Photos here.

We hope this guide has helped you to get great shots of you art. If you don't get the result you want and need, ask a friend who is used to taking photos to help you.

Good Luck!