Tips for photographing your artwork from a painter by Alyssa Hamilton Art
I get it, you’re a painter/illustrator/visual artist of some kind, you’re not a professional photographer. Here’s why I think you should still invest in learning to take good photos of your work.
We live in a digital age. I’m willing to bet a majority of your clients find you through your website or some sort of social media. Yes, you want the work to speak for itself, but you want to make sure it’s being shown in the best way to do that.
I do not have a fancy art studio; I’m currently working out of my bedroom. These are the things I’ve found that significantly improve my photos, even in a less than ideal space.
STAGING People want to see what it will look like in their home. If you can, find a place in your home to set up like your work would be displayed - either on a wall, a shelf, or wherever you imagine the piece. You’re the expert - show your clients what you would do. (If this isn’t available, mockups are an option. I will be writing a post about how to use them in the future, but it is definitely worth looking into!)
Natural light is a big deal. It will make your photos more true to life as well as take so much work out of the editing afterwords. Living in the midwest, this can be tough and may require waiting a few days for the sun to come back, but I promise it’s worth the wait. I have the best luck on a sunny day when I lay my work down flat. An easel could be a good option as well.
A GOOD CAMERA
This is the biggest investment. When I first started, I was doing everything with an iphone. You CAN do this successfully if a camera is not in your budget at the moment. If that is what works for you - great! I would just be careful with prints. The file size created by a cellphone is too small to blow the photos up, even to an 8x10, without it becoming pixelated. You can make it work as long as you need to, but once you become a little more established a good camera GREAT thing to have. It makes a huge difference as far as picture quality and file size.
I use a Nikon d750 * Not sponsored - I just really love it. I was renting several other brands for a while and I was having such a hard time getting the photos I needed. This camera is wonderful with picking up colors and it’s super user friendly. It makes me feel like a pro even though I know very little about taking photographs.
People like to see your work how you see it. If you have a favorite “part” of a piece show it off! Also, sometimes layers and more delicate details are harder to see in photos. Make sure those impressive finer points are highlighted in detail photographs. Definitely post these alongside your full shots.
Of course you want to make sure to take full photographs of the work. Make sure your camera is steady and you’re not creating a strange perspective due to a little tilt in the photo. I do not currently use a tripod, but it would definitely be helpful in this respect.
After taking the photos, it is important to do a little bit of editing just to make sure it looks in the photos like it does when you see it. Do NOT overedit, but do make sure it is as vibrant and detailed as it is in real life. I use photoshop - it is hard to learn and you have to pay for it, but I think it’s worth it. If you’re mainly using your phone, you can edit from there, just use good judgment! Don’t edit the honesty out of your work. Also, avoid social media filters.
This seems like a lot, but once you develop good habits it will become a lot easier. I promise good photos will create a ton of new traffic to your pages! Good luck!
Did this work for you? Let me know your thoughts on instagram @alyssahamiltonart