Photographing your work

It is fairly simple to take good quality photographs of your artwork; we have set out some suggestions and recommendations below, but in the end the best method is probably to experiment until you are happy with the results.

The goal is to obtain clear, undistorted photographs of your artwork that retain the true colours as far as possible and capture the spirit of your work. No photograph will ever replace your work, but a good photograph will certainly promote its sale.

If you are a photographer, or have access to the services of a photographer, then you will not need this guide. If not, please read on.

Getting Started - Equipment

The key piece of equipment is a digital camera with a resolution of greater than 2 Megapixels and, if possible, an optical zoom facility. Today’s cameras often offer resolution of greater than 5 Megapixels.

Try to keep the camera as steady as possible. If you don’t have a tripod, simple rest it on something of a suitable height. This will avoid a shaky image and help with the overall clarity of the shot.

Probably the most vital element after the camera is lighting. The best results will be obtained by photographing in bright daylight. When this is not possible, the piece should be evenly and well lit. It is often beneficial to use as much natural light as possible, augmenting with artificial light as required.

The use of a flash should be avoided, unless professional indirect flash umbrellas can be used.

Setting Up

It is normal to photograph paintings prior to mounting and framing, and without any protective glass.

The piece should be positioned against a plain, neutral background to emphasize its colours. It is important to avoid having other objects in view, as the camera may focus on them instead of your work and also to avoid positioning your work such that shadows from other objects obscure it.

Where possible the piece should be photographed laying flat against vertical or horizontal surface making it easier to hold the camera perpendicular to the piece whilst taking the photograph.

Try to avoid propping up the work at an angle as it is difficult to ensure that the camera replicates this angle, which will distort the image so that the sides of a rectangular painting no longer looking parallel. 

Taking the Photograph
Saving the Photograph

The photograph should be saved using the JPEG file format and use a compression value of between 5 to 15% (or quality set to 85 - 95%). This will result in a superior image that’ll upload easily to the website.

Please refer to our separate guide on how to upload your work.