The final step in showcasing your artwork is often taking a photograph of it. These photos are used on artists’ websites; on social media; and in applications for some exhibitions, contests, and grants. So it’s important that you take the best pictures possible whether you’re using a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) or a cell phone.
Here are some tips for photographing artwork:
1. Remove any glass over the artwork to eliminate glare. Take the picture before sending the piece off to be framed.
2. Clean your camera lens to remove dust specks that will show up as spots on the photo.
3. Use indirect natural light. Anderson Artists Guild member Craig Johnson, a photographer, recommends using light that comes from the side and taking your artwork outside or into an open garage or patio to be photographed. A cloudy day often works best. Shooting by a window doesn’t work as well because most windows have a tint that affects the end result. And don’t use a flash. Flashes and direct sunlight can both create “hot spots” on reflective surfaces. (Some photographers prefer to shoot indoors and might hang the artwork on a neutral colored wall. But be sure there’s no shadow.)
4. Use the lowest ISO (the sensitivity rating) possible to avoid graininess. An ISO setting of 100 is recommended.
5. Use the highest aperture setting possible to give more depth of field and better overall focus. A setting between F-8 and F-11 is recommended.
6. Use manual focus for the clearest focus. Do not rely on your camera’s automatic focusing feature.
7. Make sure your camera is absolutely perpendicular to the artwork. “Framing the shot is the single hardest part,” said Johnson.
8. Use a tripod and a time delay to avoid shaking the camera and causing the image to blur. If you don’t have a tripod, place the camera on a flat surface like a table.
9. Take lots of pictures, and shoot slightly larger than the canvas size. Crop the best picture down later in a free photo editing programs such as Gimp.