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How To Properly Photograph Your Artwork

How To Properly Photograph Your Artwork

Doug Farrick

In a recent coaching session, someone asked me if they their art photography represented their actual work. I knew this person’s work (as I have seen the actual physical pieces) and, honestly, they really didn’t do the work justice.

That led to my thinking . . . how many others’ digital images of their artwork are just not “cutting the mustard?” And after some research I found this to be more common than I thought.

This is something to really consider. Have you really done your work justice through the digital photos taken of it? Were the photos professionally done? Did you do them by yourself? Do you have the proper equipment?

Especially in the hyper-social media world of today where one photo can instantly “ripple” across many sources simultaneously, you really need to make sure you are positioning your art images in the best possible light.

I have personally always shot my own work and invested in the equipment to do so. But it’s a learning curve and if you’re more of a “hands off” type of person, that’s fine, just try to take the time to educate yourself to what is involved in creating the best possible images of your work.

Of course, you’ll have different challenges for each type work. For example if you do 3D type of work you need to factor in other things, like: angles, lighting source(s), background, type of material being photographed, etc., compared to say a relatively flat painting or drawing.

One thing I did when I was first learning to photograph my work was to hire a professional photographer. I learned as much as I could from them by asking tons of questions – about reflections, about surfaces, about lighting, about equipment, about color, etc. This really gave me a “fast track” education into what I needed to do to get the same results as a professional photographer.

Granted, it was a fairly “expensive” education but, then again, in retrospect, in was well worth it as I have used and practiced the skill of photographing art numerous times over the years.

It really comes down to knowing the difference between a good quality digital photo and a not-so-good one. I would recommend a honest, ruthless inventory of your current digital assists. See what you have currently. How is the color/lighting? Can they be improved? Does it do the piece justice?

Finally, keep in mind, your digital images are “always” selling your work. Once you have created quality digital images then go to the next step… Get them out there! It is so easy to set up an ArtBistro or Flickr portfolio, or a blog portfolio or other types of online portfolios.

And, as you create new work, create new, great photos of them. These are your “mini” salespeople – working hard – selling your art – while you sleep. Put them everywhere. You never know who will see them or want to contact you because they love your work!


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