Photographing Artwork

It is vital to have good digital images of your artwork.Good quality photos are essential for effectively selling artwork online and showing it to galleries. A good photo of your artwork can often be the deciding factor of selling or not selling your artwork. It is advisable to have your artwork photographed professionally; however, you can take professional photos yourself. A good photo can be achieved without high-end SLR or DSLR camera, professional lighting equipment, release cables or tripods. 

Jo Tunmer , Misty Waters

Jo Tunmer, Misty Waters

The following guidelines give your artwork the best chance of selling itself. 


The Artwork should be flat against its background. Ensure you are taking photos which show the artwork squared and level. To achieve this, the angle of your shot is very important; the camera must be at 90° to the canvas.


Photos can be taken inside or outdoors.  Outside shots should, ideally be taken when the sun is shining, make sure the sun is on your back, never in front of you or behind your object.  Indoor shots need adequate lighting. Consider that the image must be evenly lit, with correct exposure. Avoid light reflections, reflections of flash or shadows. It is best to light the artwork with two identical lights from both the right and left side at 45°.

If the artwork is behind glass, it is best to remove the glass if possible.  Photographing artwork behind glass will be particularly problematic when it comes to getting it evenly lit with no reflections. 


Check apparent sharpness, nothing can save your picture if you don’t get the image in focus.


Check the overall quality of your image. Use an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop. You will want to optimise the colour balance and adjust contrasts using the Photoshop’s curve tool. Keep in mind that colours must be a true representation of original artwork. Resize and crop the image to remove any background behind the artwork.