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How to Photograph Your Artwork: Warping and Proportions

How to Photograph Your Artwork: Warping and Proportions

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

Photographing your work can be tricky. But it is important to photograph it well. With Photoshop these days one can hide many photography sins, but there are a few things that are better handled with the photograph itself before you get the image into Photoshop. In part one, we talked about backgrounds in the photography of your work. In part three we will talk about lighting. In this article we will cover warping and proportions.

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Warping and Proportions

When you take pictures of your work you really need a tripod. This will help in numerous ways. It will keep your camera from moving while the shutter is open so that your images are not blurry. (You don’t want your work to look like it is falling off the wall). You will be able to take your time adjusting the framing of the image with in your viewer to get it right. You can do this by moving the tripod incrementally up and down and side to side.

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Parallel Planes

The last reason is most important. A tripod will help you get the image proportioned correctly. You do this by making sure that the lens of the camera is facing the artwork straight on or is on a parallel plan to the artwork. If the lens is positioned slightly below the image but tilted up the artwork will appear skewed. Skewing such as this is not easy to fix in digital editing programs.

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bad lens (point and shoot). "Alta Fjord", Valerie Atkisson

Correct Lens

You also want to make sure you are using the correct lens. A 35-millimeter and in some cases a wide angle lens are the ones that you want to use. Typically point and shoot cameras have the most difficulty keeping the artwork “square” to the frame. They easily distort the proportions of the artwork.

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Correct lens (35-millimeter) "Alta Fjord", Valerie Atkisson

h.4 Part 1: Backgrounds

h.4 "Part 3: Lighting


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