When making your art portfolio to be sent to art and design schools for review, you will have to take pictures or scans of your artworks to convert into digital files. An increasing number of colleges and and universities are asking for digital portfolios in the form of PDFs, JPGs and digital or on-line slideshows as their required portfolio submission format.
Some works are best photographed while others will be captured best as scanned images. We’ve compiled in this blog entry advice on how to photograph your artwork with good results. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are factors that you need to consider to be able to capture the best quality image of your artwork so you can share the special details of your work with the most impact.
You could have a professional photograph your works for the absolute best results but it is really not necessary to go through that expense when students have easy access to quality equipment and editing software.
Without further ado, below are tips on how to take pictures of artwork to be included in your art portfolio.
- If the sun is too bright, find shade to dial down the intensity of the artwork as it appears on your camera. Adjust the white balance if your camera has that option so that the whites are a light grey tone and the white does not appear to glow.
- Make sure the camera is set to the appropriate lighting condition: sun or shade to have accurate color rendering.
- Watch for any shadows or glare.
- Take artwork out from behind any glass frames if possible. If there is glare coming off the art, try to position yourself and the art such that there is a dark background so that glare is avoided.
- If you wish to shoot your artwork indoors, choose a bright room or use powerful lights to avoid certain parts of your artworks from being darker. The higher the wattage of the light, the more evenly the light will be distributed to your artwork.
- Set up two lights on either side of the art set at 45 degree angles to the art and far enough away from the artwork to avoid too intense a light. Some photographers suggest as much as four meters away from the artwork.
- For paintings, set up your lights on one corner (still 45 degrees from the artwork and you) to cast shadows on the strokes and reveal texture.
- Having two lights, setting them up on both sides of the artworks minimizes texture and can remove wrinkles on the artwork’s surface.
- Turn off the room lights when shooting indoors.
- Remember to set your camera to the appropriate light source type and check that the colors look accurate in the setting.
Positioning your artwork
- Place your artwork on a wall so that it stands upright.
- Make sure that the wall is white or plain so that the focus is on the artwork.
- Use a tripod or a box to keep your camera steady when taking a picture.
- Position the camera so that there is no tilting and the artwork appears dead center on your camera lens and watch that the front of the camera body is parallel to the face of the artwork. Watch that the edges of the artwork are parallel to the edges of the view finder or use perspective control if you have that option in your camera’s menu.
- You can shoot art on the floor too provided you are careful to keep the artwork squarely in the view finder and avoid any cast shadows on the piece.
- To avoid the artwork from swelling up on your camera, move the camera back and zoom in.
- Zoom to above 50mm; anything less than that will distort the framed edges of your artwork.
- Leave only a little space around art in the view finder of camera when shooting the artwork to maximize its resolution and then crop slightly for a good clean image.
Click here for more tips on how to take pictures of artwork for your art portfolio!