Suggestions for Taking Photos of Your Artwork

Here are some problems to look out for when taking photos of artwork if you have a less than idea setup.

We are mostly concerned about blurriness, photo resolution, incomplete images, uneven lighting, and shadows.

Here’s an example of a photo that’s good enough. It’s straight on, so it will be easy to crop. The lighting is relatively even. It’s a little darker in the lower left corner, but if you don’t have good lighting, this might be the best you can get. It’s a little blurry, but not too bad. It’s been scaled down here, but the original was over 2000px on each side.

This photo was taken inside, at night, with room lighting. If you don’t have any photography lighting, like I don’t, I’ve found the best lighting is outside on a sunny day, with the camera and the artwork completely in the shade. The next best, is outside lighting on a cloudy day.

Next are some examples of photos that we don’t like as much.

This photo has a cast shadow over it. It’s easy to see it in this photo, but sometimes it’s not so obvious. Make sure not to stand between the image and the dominant light source when you’re taking your photos.

The lighting on this image is too uneven. You can compare it too the white background on this page and see how much darker the bottom is compared to the top. This can happen if the light source is too close to the image, or, often, if natural light is coming though a window.


This photo is skewed & cut too close. Even though the most important part of the image is in the photograph, we can’t straighten it without cutting off part of a foot or leg because information is missing on the lower right. We don’t want to cut anything off. See the straightened version.

Straightened. The toes wound up getting cut off.

This image is too distorted. When we try to edit it into a more rectangular shape, the top will become blurry. Make sure to align the edges of your artwork so they are parallel with the edges of your view through your camera.

Open Figure Drawing, since 1989