1. A good photograph of your artwork is more important than you think.
Do I need to make a pitch for the importance of a good picture? I feel like I shouldn’t, but every day I see people posting mediocre pictures of their artwork that could be improved by taking a few extra minutes. Remember, if you are in your studio with your artwork, only you can see what it truly looks like in person. Your picture has to convey all the wonderful texture and paint that you have created. It’s not an easy task for a camera, so we have to take extra care to get it right. Once you put that photo on your website or instagram, and ask people to like, comment, and BUY, we had better hope it is showing off the artwork as accurately as possible. Speaking of buying, if you’re showing pictures and expecting people to buy from the picture, you had better make extra sure that the picture matches the painting, or you’ll have unhappy clients.
2. Yes you can use your iPhone
I’ve used many types of cameras to shoot artwork, and I’ve found that new iPhones (i’m guessing any decent smartphone) can take a great picture that is suitable for web viewing. For large scale or print images, best to use a higher res camera.
3. Start with a strong photo
Take the time to find a place with even lighting, prop the artwork up safely, and look it over with your naked eye to ensure there is no dust, debris, or random shadows cast across the piece.
When you hold up your phone to take the picture, make sure the grid edges line up with the edges of your canvas. This will make a huge difference, as many phone programs don’t include the ability to ‘skew’ the picture back to square…so best to start off with straight edges.
4. Go outside on a sunny day
Never, EVER, shoot indoors. Unless, of course, you have special photography lighting. No amount of interior light or sun shining in the window can do as well as diffused or direct sunlight when shot outside. here are some lighting examples using the same Andrea Soos painting.
As you can see above, diffused sun and full sun create the most appealing, lifelike and saleable image.
5. Edit: Crop, brightness and levels
Once you’ve taken your great picture outside, use your phone’s software to crop out any slivers of background. Little skewed slivers on the sides of canvases always stand out to me, and they are so easy to fix! Some photos need a little extra brightness - you can do that in the Edit screen as well. If you have Photoshop, and you’d like to make it extra perfect, the tool called ‘Levels’ will be your best friend. But, if you use the steps above, you won’t even need to edit in photoshop.