How to Photograph Art

How to Photograph Art

The judges will view artists’ submissions on a screen so we’re keen for all photos to have the maximum impact and do the paintings justice. Follow these simple steps to take the best photograph of your self-portrait or landscape.

File Sizes

The size of the digital photos you create will depend on a range of factors. For Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year, your submission painting photographs must each have a file size of at least 800KB and ideally no more than 1.5MB.

Positioning Your Artwork

Choose a location with bright, soft lighting. Harsh, direct lighting can cast shadows, create reflections and shift the colour of your artwork. A large window can make for a great light source.

Your artwork should be the only detail in the photograph. We are unable to accept applications photographed in their frames or with the surroundings showing. If your work is on loose paper or cardboard it is recommended that you fix it to a background that you can hang or lean against a wall.

Camera Settings & Positioning

Use a micro-fibre cloth to ensure the lens is clean.

To get the best image quality you may want to set the ISO on your camera to 100 or 200, depending on the camera model.

To make sure your image is sharp it's important that the camera doesn't move when the photo is taken - using a tripod or flat surface is recommended. It is also recommended to use the self-timer on the camera.

Ensure your work is parallel with the lens of the camera. If the art is at a slant, tilt the camera to match the angle.

When looking through the viewfinder, only leave a small amount of space around the edge of your artwork. This will maximise the resolution you are getting out of your camera.

Position your camera horizontally or vertically to match the angle of the canvas.

If using daylight, turn all the lights off in the space. Do not use your flash as this will overpower the natural light and can distort the appearance of your work.

Try using the daylight preset on your camera. If the image appears to have either an orange or a blue hue, adjust the white balance on your camera. You may need to refer to your instruction manual or seek advice online about the white balance controls of your particular camera, but on most cameras the white balance is very easy to adjust once you know how.

To get the best possible image quality, zoom in a little on your camera; lenses aren't at their sharpest when they are zoomed all the way out or in, so you'll get the best results somewhere in between.

Reviewing Your Photos

Ensure your image is in focus.

Ensure your image is not too light or too dark. The colour and exposure in your image should be as close as possible in terms of colour and exposure to the original artwork.

Note: You can make adjustments on your computer but please be aware you risk damaging your image file. It's generally simpler to make sure you capture the image correctly than to attempt fixes using photo editing software.