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Tips on Photographing your Art

By Polly Curran, Pen Woman in Art


The pandemic has introduced us to all things virtual—including the virtual exhibit to the art community. This blog offers tips so artists can utilize best practices for photographing their art – for virtual exhibits, for sales and marketing, for archiving, reproduction, and all methods of sharing.


Whether you use your iPhone, DSLR camera, or compact camera, follow these simple tips to create sharp, focused photos to save for future use.


1. Make sure the camera grid lines are turned on. The cross lines indicate the 4 focal points that make up the 'Rule of Thirds.” The grid line helps level the image. Frame your art to fill most of the lens; make sure there is blank space on all 4 sides. It is the photographer's eye that creates the composition in the lens of the camera.


2. Use a tripod. This eliminates shake or movement of the camera. Position your camera in front of the art at different heights to find the appropriate balance. It is better to not use the zoom. Instead, move your body into position. Take several photos at different levels to determine the best focal point.


3. Remove any background distraction for your art; a neutral- colored wall or table should be clean, clear of any other items. If necessary, use a backboard or long white drape to isolate the art.


4. Avoid direct light. Natural light is best and additional ambient light may be used with the help of side lights. Determine best time of day to avoid shadows or uneven lighting. Photograph original art before mounting behind glass or acrylic.


5. Maintain a portfolio folder for all original art. Save in a folder on your computer to review enlarged images to help see the positive and negative. Use this for print reproduction or post-processing with photoshop or other applications.

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