Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

Suggestions for Photographing your Artwork


General tips:

• If possible, photograph your artwork outside when it is cloudy, since indirect light will show your work to the best advantage.
• If you must photograph inside, use bright diffused natural lighting, such as near a window. Avoid overhead light.
• To avoid glare and reflection, if there is glass on your work, remove it. If you chose not to remove the glass, make sure it is clean.
• Make sure the flash is off your camera.
• If possible, do not have your artwork framed before photographing.
• Hang or prop your artwork against a plain surface.
• Positon yourself so you are standing directly in front of your artwork and the camera lens is centered on the middle of the artwork. Match the edges of the artwork with the inside edges of the viewfinder or screen frame, making sure there are no distortions of the artwork and the edges are straight and parallel.
• Try to fill the frame with the artwork to avoid a cluttered, distracting background.
• If you cannot get it perfect, you can crop it later using photo-editing software. If there is a frame on your artwork, you may want to eliminate it when you crop the image.
• The detail should be a section of the artwork enlarged to show surface detail. The size of the section depends on what you want the adjudicators to see, such as interesting brush work. Zoom in when you are photographing the detail; do not crop the photo later or you will reduce the resolution.
• For three-dimensional artworks, a light source on one side will help illuminate texture. Submit three images, including views of the artwork from different angles and/or a detail.
• Because the Arts and Letters is blind judging, if your signature is visible on the artwork, you must cover it before photographing.
• Save your best images as jpegs.
• A DPI (dots per inch) of 300 is recommended.

If you’re using a camera:

• If possible, arrange to borrow a DSLR or other good camera from a friend.
• While modern digital cameras are easy to use and provide great photos, invest a little time in learning how to use yours effectively by exploring features.
• Use a Microfiber cloth to clean your camera lens.
• If possible, avoid using auto-mode while shooting artwork.
• Take your photo with the lowest ISO (the camera’s sensitivity to light) possible.
• Experiment with shutter speeds to match the colour of your art.
• Do not use a wide-angle lens; a zoom lens is recommended.
• A steady tripod will also make the job easier and your photographs sharper.

For further elaboration on these tips and others, try the following links: 

Daric Gill Studios website:

Agora Gallery website:

Artists and Illustrators website:




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