These days with a digital camera or smart phone it is easy to start photographing your artwork for valuation. We show you the best way to take a picture of a framed and glazed painting, whether it be an oil painting or drawing and how to take a photo without glare. For us to make the best possible appraisal of your art it is worth taking a little time with the steps below.
Later in this article we will introduce more advanced ways to photograph your painting but these 6 easy steps are a good starting point.
6 Easy Steps to photographing Your Pictures
We see many photographs each week and we know what we are looking for so your photos do not need to be perfect!
Please do not use flash as it can reflect from the glass or gloss varnish on your artwork. To avoid using a flash, pictures can be taken outside in the shade and the picture angled forward to reduce reflections and glare.
The flash can be disabled on most cameras. Normal digital cameras normally produce better results than camera phones.
2. File Format: JPG, 1800px (w)
Please send good sized .jpg format images and keep the file size down if possible. Ideally your picture of a painting should be at least 1800 pixels wide.
If you require help please do not hesitate to call the gallery on 01590 678230
3. Photograph the whole picture including frame
Please photograph the painting or print from the front including its frame.
Make sure there is enough light in the photography area.
4. Photograph the signature
Take closeup photos of the signature.
Sometime you may have to vary the angle to get a better photo.
5. Photograph the back of the whole picture including frame
Pictures photographed from back, in frame.
We can often learn more from the back than the front of a painting
6. Photograph the Labels
Take closeup photos of the labels on the back (if any).
Lookout for titles in pencil which are easy to miss.
More advanced ways to photograph your paintings.
The Best Camera Equipment to use.
You can use nearly any digital camera you have to hand including Canon/Nikon/Sony DSLR cameras, compact cameras and smart phones including Apple iPhones, Samsung, Huawei, Google and Nokia. They all produce photos in the correct JPEG format.
Apple Phone 6
How to prepare your art for photography.
Clean the glass, hang the painting on a wall, place on an easel or on the floor.
If you are using a DSLR or you have a mount for your smart phone we recommend using tripod and if you have a remote shutter use it to avoid camera shake.
Best way to light your painting.
The key to getting your camera to perform and achieve a good photograph is to get the lighting right. Firstly turn off the camera’s flash which is possible on most cameras.
Natural light outside (cloudy overcast) or inside in a room will lots of windows can work well. If natural light is not available spotlight can be used. These are set up at 45 degree angles on either side of the artwork to reduce glare and reflections. Household Anglepoise or reading lights can be used and with practice reflections can be avoided.
Best way to set your camera.
If you have a DSLR use manual mode so you have more control over the camera.
F-stop values are often in the range f8-f11 and for full control turn off digital zoom as this can result in lower resolution and grainy photographs.
If you had a DSLR or compact camera set ISO to around 100 for crisp images, if you camera and lighting allow.
You can also set the white balance to the type of light you are using e.g. natural, tungsten, florescent etc.
To improve colour accurately grey and colour cards can be used to set camera white balance references points and editing correction.
Editing photographs on computers.
After you have taken the photos they can be uploaded to your PC or laptop and edited. This can be on Mac OS or a Microsoft Windows machine. Programs like Adobe photoshop, Adobe photoshop elements, Apple Photos and Gimp can be used.
The photographs can be cropped and the contrast/brightness, colour, white balance adjusted.