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6 Tips for Photographing Your Artwork

Never underestimate the importance of having high quality photos of your artwork. Whether you are taking photos for your portfolio, for your website, or just for record keeping, it's vital that your photo be as accurate a representation of your work as possible. Here are some tips for making sure you get great images of your work.

Good Lighting
The number one most important aspect of photography is good light. Photography, after all, is a light-based medium. Your light should be as white as possible - avoid fluorescents, which give a green cast, and tungsten, which creates an orange light. Daylight is a white light, as well as professional lighting setups, but you can substitute daylight-balanced light bulbs as a cheaper option. They won't be perfectly white, but they are certainly better than the alternative! Overcast daylight is the best "cheap" option; the clouds act as a natural diffuser, and spreads the light very evenly. Try to set up your photo shoot somewhere that gives you bright, evenly diffused light. This could be somewhere in your home or studio, or you could scout an outside location.

Camera Support
Make sure that when you shoot your work, your camera is on a stable support. This might be as simple as a counter, or a bookshelf, or even a park bench - but you should absolutely place your camera on a support to shoot your work. Don't think you can handhold the camera and get a good shot; any movement, including gentle breathing, can microscopically blur your image and result in a lesser quality image. If you are serious about photography, then you should invest in a sturdy tripod. If you're shooting with a point-and-shoot camera, and just want to have a record of your work, then you can substitute any solid surface in place of a tripod.

Pro Tip: Avoid camera shake by using your camera's timer function to take the picture. This means that the camera won't shake as you depress the shutter button; you can press the shutter, let the camera sit solidly on its support, and let the timer click the shutter.

Pay Attention to the Angles
If you are shooting a painting, and you have it leaned against a wall or other vertical surface, then make sure that your camera is angled at the exact same degree. If your painting is hanging perfectly flat on a wall, then make sure your camera is perfectly straight on. You might want to place your work on an easel for support. Any kind of differing angle between a two-dimensional artwork and the camera can mean a skewed perspective in your image. If you are shooting a three-dimensional piece, then use your camera's viewfinder to find the best angle to your work.

Try, Try, Try Again
If you have a digital camera, then you are in luck, because you can shoot as many images as you need until you get it right. Try different lighting setups, try different angles, and try different supports until you find a combination that works best. Evaluate every image on the camera's LCD screen after you take it, and then tweak your setup as necessary.

Protect Your Prints
If you've gone through the shooting and printing process, and you are happy with the resulting images, then it's time to invest in a protective portfolio. A portfolio will guard your prints from daylight, keeping their color accurate and making sure they last a long time. A good portfolio is also necessary if you are showing your work to galleries, museums, collectors, or clients, so choose something durable that you can carry with you wherever you need to go.

Foam Board: The Everything Material
We are big fans of foam board here at Art Supply: it's cheap, light, strong, and you can use it for any number of things! Build your own camera support, use it to support your artwork, or even use it as a clean backdrop for your photoshoot.