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Photographing your Artworks

Taking a quality photo that best reflects your artwork can be tricky. Read these general tips to learn how to improve your photography.

Avoid cluttered backgrounds and strange angles

This might sound basic, but it is a common mistake! Make sure you clear any mess away to avoid it distracting from the artwork itself.

Similarly, avoid photographing your work at strange angles. This can be distracting and not accurately reflect what your artwork really looks like.

Clutter with the artworkPhoto of artwork at an unsuitable angle

 

Instead, use a white background and photograph straight on

Generally, going for a simple white or neutral background will be the best way to ensure that your artwork gets all the attention. An easy trick is to photograph your artwork on a sheet of white paper, as in the example below.

If your artwork can be mounted to the wall, you might like to hang it on a neutral wall and photograph it there.

Make sure to leave some room around your artwork when photographing it. You can always come back and crop in later during editing.

Photograph of an artwork with a white background
Avoid bad lighting and distracting shadows

This is another common problem. Bad lighting can change the colours in your artwork, making them flat and muddy. Make sure you check what direction the light is coming from. You could be creating accidental shadows by standing between the light source and the artwork you are photographing.

Shadows of hands cast on artwork
Instead, shoot outside using natural light

Flattering natural light makes everything look better! Generally natural light helps you take images that better capture the subtle colours and variations of your artwork.  Avoid times of day when it is particularly sunny or the light is very strong. Early mornings or later afternoons tend to be best.

A little bit of editing goes a long way

Take the time to edit your picture. You might like to crop the edges or straighten the positioning. Depending on your lighting, you might also like to increase the brightness a little. You can edit images on various programs, including free programs like Pixlr.

Bonus Tips

Showcase the details

Does your artwork have beautiful details that you can only see close up? It can be a good idea to get some images of the details too, which you can share alongside the image of the artwork overall.

Flat Artworks

Is your artwork flat and fairly smooth? Can it fit into a scanner without getting damaged? If so, consider making a scan of the artwork. This is the best way to get even lighting across your image.

Three Dimensional Artworks

You can use the trick of a piece of white paper for photographing three dimensional artworks too! Simply gently curve up your paper by leaning it against an object or wall, then place the artwork at the front. This will give you a subtle and smooth background.

Setup of paper as a backgroundArtwork taken primarily from the front with a white background

 

Last updated on 17 June 2020