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How to Photograph Art

  • 8th June 2022
photo of giclée print artwork landscape painting of coast and yellow flowers

When you want to photograph art yourself, there are a few things to consider. Firstly the digital image you create of your art will have several uses. You may want an image to post on your website or promote it on social media. You may also need a digital image file of your artwork to submit to an art competition or art exhibition. Last but certainly not least you may want an image of your art to print as giclée prints. Each of these uses will require a different quality of file. For social media you only need a small file, but for giclée printing you need the best quality file you can create.

We have put together our best tips on how to photograph art and hopefully this will help you. Alternatively you could use our artwork photographing services, in conjunction with our giclée printing services. We use our knowledge and expertise to achieve the highest quality giclée print for you. So please feel free to Get in touch if you need our services.

We also discuss some of the equipment you will need and how to achieve the best results when photographing art.

giclée print of artwork of young girl paddling in seaShould you photograph or scan artwork ?

As professional art photographers we always recommend photographing your art. It won’t create any marks or remove paint from your artwork, unlike some scanners. Large artworks can be easily photographed and we are able to capture all the subtle details of pencil drawings and the muted brushstrokes of watercolour washes. A scanner can miss all the fine details.

So we find photographing your artwork gives more accuracy and versatility when capturing your art, to create a digital image.



Tips on How to Photograph Art

True Likeness. You want to create a digital image of your artwork that is a true representation of the artwork and its colours. Otherwise you’ll be using an image to promote your artwork that looks nothing like it and could cause complaints from buyers and competition judges.

Photograph when finished. It is important to have a good quality image file of your art, because once the artwork has sold, you may not be able to get it back to photograph. Thus you could lose out on potential sales of the artwork from giclée prints.

Equipment. A DSLR camera is the best for taking a good quality photo of your art, but you can achieve a reasonable image with a compact camera or your mobile phone. You just have to be wise in how to get the best out of your mobile camera. A tripod or stand is useful and a cable release with a timer or use the timer setting on your mobile camera. This avoids any shaking when you click the camera, which can cause your image to be blurry or out of focus.

Lighting. Natural north facing light is great for an even white light across the artwork. Watch out for any shadows or colour casts, such as a yellow or blue hue.

Perspective. Make sure the camera is square to the artwork, otherwise you’ll have strange angles in the image you create.

photo of watercolour on giclée Somerset paperOnly Artwork. The digital image you create needs to be just of your artwork. You don’t need the background or frame in the image. So remove the frame if possible. Also bear in mind if you photograph through a glass frame you will have glare. It is also important to photograph oil paintings before varnishing, to avoid glare.

Fill Screen. Ensure your artwork fills the screen of the camera or mobile. This will give you less to crop (in editing) and less cropping means a bigger image file. When using a phone or tablet never ‘pinch to zoom’ as this reduces the image size, always move the device closer to the artwork.

Several Clicks. Take several photos. It seems obvious, but you can be so focussed on getting the perfect image, you forget to click several times. Then choose the best one.

Screen Brightness. Check the brightness of your screen before you edit your digital image. Most people have their screens too bright, so change it to an even brightness.

Edit image. There is a skill to editing images and it can take time to learn editing software and how to use it effectively. Though you will need to crop and square your image, before you do anything else. Then edit the exposure and colour casts. Check also for any dust marks, which will be from the lens of the camera. Make sure you edit these out. It is easy to get carried away with editing, but don’t lose sight of achieving an image that looks like the original artwork.

Finally any flaws in your digital image file will be magnified in a giclée print. So it’s wise to take your time when you photograph art or you could always use our professional artwork photography services and save yourself the time and hassle.

Feel free to Get in touch if you need us.

Editing your Digital Image File

As we mentioned once you have a photo of your art, you will need to edit it. If you are struggling or not sure what to do, you can use our Image editing and Re-touching services to help.

You will be able to send us the raw file and we will do the editing for you. Then we can create giclée prints of your artwork for you.

Print Ready File

When you want to use giclée printing services, you need to provide a digital image file of your artwork. See our Blog about ‘What is a print ready file’ to learn more.

We hope you find this information useful and please don’t hesitate to Get in touch if you need our help.



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