photograph-art-internetThe first step to having artwork online is to properly photograph them.

Photographing art usually takes a lot of practice, and can be a time-consuming process, especially if artists want their work presented in the best possible way.



This is the first part of a series of articles on this subject.

Setup for Photographing Art for the Web

The first step to is to get a good quality digital camera around 6-10 megapixels. The digital SLR cameras are perfect for this purpose. If you cannot afford one, try to borrow a camera from a friend. We will be discussing the Digital SLR camera for this tutorial. If you do not have access to one, satisfactory results can still be achieved from a regular camera.

Make sure the flash is turned off on your camera. The flash causes a glare on the photograph, and washes out the image. This is certainly not how we want our art presented, so it is advised to set it to the off position.


There are two options to steady your camera.

  • Tripod

    An adjustable tripod will ensure there is no blurriness in the final image. Tripods are relatively cheap, but if you cannot buy one right now, borrow it or refer to the second option.

    Of course, if your camera does not have a way of attaching to the tripod, you will also have to use…

  • A stool or box

    Use a stool or box that is the proper height. You may have to use books to further adjust  the height. Remember, your photography setup is not what matters here, it is the result that you are hoping to achieve.

    Ensure the camera can be placed there properly without shaking or falling.

Touch People with your Art - Click Here!When setting up your camera on the tripod, make sure it is in line with the artwork, right in the center.

This is so that the photograph of the artwork will not be distorted in any way. Place it far enough from the piece, looking in the viewfinder while you do. Try to make sure your artwork fills most of the viewfinder.

Lighting – Natural light from the sun is the best. Try to photograph your art during the few daylight hours centered around noon. If the sun is too bright, find a shaded area. Partly cloudy days tend to work best for photographing art.

If you are forced to shoot indoors, do it near a large window. An arrangement in the center of a room with a window on each side is ideal, so the light is spread evenly. Make sure the sun’s rays are diffused in some way, maybe through curtains. The main thing you do not want is glare or shadows on the artwork, so adjust your setup according to the principal “reflected light works best”, and use the light to your advantage.

Backdrop – The backdrop for sculptural work should be a neutral coloured sheet or surface, a solid color that doesn’t distract from the artwork, but enhances it. The focus should be on your artwork, and anything with patterns or bright colors will certainly distract from it!


Recommended Digital SLR Cameras


Canon Digital SLR Nikon Digital SLR Canon Digital SLR

Canon EOS Rebel T3

Nikon D90 DX

Canon EOS Rebel T3i


Next time we will let you know some recommended camera settings, and how to manipulate them in a photo editing program for uploading to the web.

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  1. well this is horible advice.....

    Ive been in the Art reproduction Biz for 5 year and the only thing i always tell my clients is you spend time making your work and making it perfect why would you not want the photo for web, print to not best represent the art in the best way possible ,

    its always going to be the first thing your potential clients see

  2. @Anonymous
    I respect your opinion, but those steps do emphasize how to make good quality digital photographs for the web.... NOT for prints.

    Not everyone has the money for, or access to a good quality digital camera. I have received VERY GOOD results by going through these steps myself... even print quality.

    Actually, my artworks are at Fine Art America... I photographed them myself using a Digital SLR and a tripod... as recommended in the article....

  3. I think this is excellent advice for the novice, thanks Graham!


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