Artist Tips

Quick (and Easy) Tips for Photographing Your Artwork

For our next Artist Tip (alternately, this series could be titled So You’ve Made A Painting. Now What?), let’s take a quick dive into the world of photography. Part and parcel of selling artwork online is capturing it at its best. You want to make your work shine, but aren’t necessarily an expert on lighting and editing. We get it.

Capturing your artwork doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need expensive software or heaps of gear to aid you. We’ll go through the fundamental elements of taking a flattering photograph of your work, plus a few specifics that we require for photo uploads on Saatchi Art. For the tl;dr crowd, skip to the bottom for our a helpful video that sums it up.

Lighting

Perhaps the trickiest part is making sure the lighting is right. The color of the room, temperatures, and use of flash can all distort the color balance, resulting in blues, yellows and greys that really should more closely resemble white.

Natural light is your friend. A cloudy or overcast day, particularly, can produce great results, as clouds work as a giant softbox.

Tommy Ingberg editing in his studio. Image: Canvas

Quality

Make sure your camera is shooting at its highest quality settings, adjusting the ISO between 100-200 to avoid excess noise. If you don’t have a point-and-shoot camera or other higher quality option, your cell phone can be sufficient. The iPhone offers plenty of apps that allow you comprehensive editing options. Adjusting the color, brightness or contrast can allow your image to more closely resemble how the actual artwork appears in person. But, don’t go overboard – files that have been heavily post-processed, affecting confusion of medium or quality of artwork are not only heavy on the eyes, but subject to deactivation.

Avoid blurry photos by using a tripod, or makeshift tripod by simple placing the camera on a steady surface. Tip: you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding blur and camera shake if you lock down your lighting.

Create a makeshift tripod by placing your camera on a steady surface

 

A note on signatures –  while it’s important to represent ownership of creation, digital watermarks or in camera date and times make your work appear less valuable. Instead, make sure the work is signed, and upload a detail shot of it using our Multiple Images feature.

Composition and Sizing

This part is relatively straightforward (hint). A few points to consider:

  • Capture the art parallel with the lens of the camera
  • Crop excessive blank space, artwork borders, mattes and padding. This makes a clean and focused image without any distracting background
All the intricate detail and color of Marcela Montemayor’s hyperrealistic painting is retained with a close crop.

 

As a handy reminder, our file specifics to remember when uploading to Saatchi Art

  • A JPEG file in RGB color format (not CMYK)
  • At least 1200 pixels x 1500 pixels
  • Less than 50MB

Check out more in our Artist Tips series, including brainstorming your best keywords, using social media, and much more.

About the Author

Chelsea is the Marketing Associate at Saatchi Art. She likes Neoclassical art, text messaging, and that's pretty much it. Find her Tweeting @saatchiart, and Instagramming @saatchiart