Art Is Being Guide to Photographing Your Work

Art Is Being Guide to Photographing Your Work

Beginning next month at the San Diego Art Institute (a non profit contemporary art gallery located in Balboa Park) I have been asked to create a series of workshops to teach aspiring artists how to photograph their work.

Often times with the creation of a finished piece the artist does not pursue the knowledge on how to get the work out there to the world, how to market the work, and how to preserve the imagery in an effective way for years to come. All to often they leave the task of photographing their work in the hands of an unprofessional or worse, their iPhone. 

So why is learning to photograph your work so important?

Not only photographing your work properly it boost the perceived value of your work, it provides a more accurate record of the imagery that can help boost sales or stimulate growth for future submissions. In addition to the monetary benefits the professional photos also help articulate scale while providing a schematic into the setup or mockup of your proposed project. 

Below are some helpful steps to help you become an expert at photographing your work and boost your client sales. 

1. Use a Simple Backdrop 

Utilize the backdrop as a means to allow your imagery to stand out and shine. Do not choose backdrops that blend in with your work or patterns and shapes that distract from the image itself. Remember this is about your work and we want to keep eyes focussed on it and nothing else. 

2. Eliminate Reflections

If your are photographing your work through a frame that has glass or some other reflective element be sure to eliminate the light source causing the reflection to eliminate glare. Using a strobe or flash can be tricky and require some testing stop reflecting light from the surface of the work. I recommend using continuous lighting because once properly set up, the light that you see is the light that you get. 

You don't want a big lens glare across the center of your work! 

You don't want a big lens glare across the center of your work! 

3. Get Up Close and Personal

As in many galleries and museums it is a good rule of thumb to stay roughly one arms length away from all work to defend against accidents. With our photographs we are able to let the viewer in to levels of detail otherwise prohibited showcasing small details, strokes, and etchings. This allows for a more intimate setting for the viewer and the work. 

4. Consider the Lighting

Is the room you are shooting well lit or dimly lit? Will you be needing to bring your own external lighting, flash, etc. to properly photograph your work? It is often said that photography is the study of light and it is important to get a gauge of what the light is like when you photograph your work. 

Gordon Holden - Round n Round at the San Diego Art Institute

Gordon Holden - Round n Round at the San Diego Art Institute

5. Editing 

After capturing your images be sure to put them through some sort of post processing program such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Be sure to correct for accurate colors and eliminate any unwanted elements such as scratches and other blemishes. 

6. Scale 

Adding scale to your photographs helps the viewer understand the shot in relation to size. By placing a human figure into your shots you are able to give an comparable guide to the work in relation to the figure allowing your future buyer or gallery curator to understand the work in relation to width and height allowing them to see if the work fits their particular space or setting. 

Timken Museum Art Is Being Scale Photography

If your are interested in learning more about how to photograph your work or interested in the workshop I am teaching next month at the San Diego Art Institute stay tuned right here on the blog for exact dates and times or contact me via email at to book a one on one consultation. 

I'd love to hear your tips as well on how you photograph your work! Share in the comments below and I will be sure to get back to you!





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