My Top Tips for Taking Great Photos of Art

For every artist, it is essential to take high quality photos of your artworks for documentation purposes. These photos come in handy more than many people realize when they are trying to land something like an art residency or sell their art through online means. You guys need to make sure that all the photos of your art are the best that they can be. They should be in complete focus, with a good amount of light, and no distracting objects in the frame.

What You’ll Need:

In order to properly photograph your work, you need to get a good quality camera that allows you to adjust the settings manually. Most digital cameras do that these days, so any entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera will do.

You’ll also need a tripod for ideal results. This will ensure that no camera shake can ruin your photos. Other than these two items, you don’t require anything else for taking great art photos. If you can, get some off-camera flashes to light up the scene to your taste.

What You Should Keep in Mind:

  • The Positioning

Now that you have your gear set up, it is time to set up your artwork. It is important as to how you are positioning your work in the frame. Filling up the frame is a good idea for 2D art pieces like paintings and prints. If you are taking images of a sculpture, then it is vital that the background stay clear of any distractions. White is always the preferred background color for all kinds of artwork photos.

  • The Lighting

Once your artwork is positioned properly to be photographed, you should focus on the right kind of lighting. Poor lighting can ruin your photo, hence taking away from the actual quality of your work. What I always do is rely on bright but indirect lighting that does not cast strong shadows. I avoid having any shadows over the artwork, so that it is lit evenly and the light and shadow shown in the actual artwork is not supplemented by external sources. Do not use multiple light sources, and try as much as you can to use soft light.


Once you have taken care of these two important aspects of photographing artwork, all you have to do is set up your camera on a tripod and shoot. Using a remote shutter for shooting is a good idea as it helps avoid camera shake. But even if you don’t use a remote shutter, just make sure you follow my basic tips before you start taking photos of your artwork so that it can be shown in the best way possible.

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