Creating and presenting artwork can be quite the fascinating experience, especially when you get to show it to your peers. Creating your art and thinking about its presentation in the future is very exciting, but things can get tricky if you plan on having your art photographed in a photo studio, especially if it’s for a portfolio or for feature publications. This is because you have to make sure the photograph itself is an accurate representation of how you want your art to appear in the first place. A lot of intricacies are involved in creating the art itself, and a photograph may ruin its overall appear. You can circumvent this with good practices, though.
When you take your art to be photographed in a photo studio, it’s essential to know a few tips that will help you understand you and the photographer or staff of the photo studio can organize the venue in such a way that elements like lighting, spacing, and placement effectively showcase your art. This article deals with art that is 2D, or two-dimensional, such as a painting. You may consult with a professional photographer if you want to check just how this works with other types of art.
University of Colorado Boulder’s department of art and history faculty explain that when it comes to having art photographed, it generally relies on quite a lot of intricacies to get the kind of “effect” you need without distorting the artwork’s inherent qualities. This is quite tricky to achieve, even with the resources of a photo studio at hand. However, here are things you can do to make sure your photo studio experience is maximized to showcase your art:
Presentation Matters: Hang It Properly
When it comes to 2D artworks such as paintings, hanging is crucial. Your art is like a model, but unlike a model who you can ask to perform poses for you, your 2D painting has a consistent appearance. Emphasizing the inherent qualities of your painting is what matters most when it comes to making sure your photo captures the essence of your art entirely. As such, hanging it right is important.
- Make sure your art is hung on a flat surface like a wall.
- Make sure this surface has a neutral background, such as white, black, or grey. This allows the photo to emphasize specific qualities of your artwork.
- Make sure the artwork is level with the camera. This means your camera shouldn’t be too close or too near the artwork, lest you distort elements.
- Measure the distance between the floor and the center of the art and take note of this height. You will use this later when setting up for the shoot.
Lighting Matters: Get Everything Right
As with any photograph, lighting helps accentuate features and helps establish the mood or the tone of the piece. In terms of taking photographs of art, appropriate lighting is important to make sure all parts of the art is exposed without distorting any of its original elements. Setting up lightly appropriately, therefore, is important.
- Make sure you fix the stands first before adding the heads for the lighting. Set the umbrellas onto the heads appropriately and make sure the lights are away from the art first.
- These lights should be placed at 45 degree intervals from the artwork in question. They should be about halfway between the camera and the artwork. This will result in diffused and even light.
Camera Settings Matter: The Right Set-Up
The next thing you want is to make sure your camera is appropriately set up and equipped with the right tools for the kind of photograph you want to take. This is tricky, given a lot of things in the camera can be tinkered with. If you’re dealing with 2D art, however, here are a few pointers:
Make sure the camera will shoot in RAW, as this is the “purest” form of digital output for photos. As such, it can give you the most in terms of digital information.
- Make sure ISO settings are at 100, in order to reduce the noise in the overall image.
- Aperture priority should be turned on to keep the aperture in place, and the aperture should be at f/8 or a higher number to maintain focus.
- In terms of white balance, turn this on if you’re using a .tiff or .jpeg setting. These include options ranging from Daylight, Fluorescent, and Tungsten among others. You can create a more custom white balance if you have a lot of mixed lighting options.
- In terms of setup, make sure the tripod you’re using with your camera is level. The height of the lens should be along the middle point of the art. This is where the height measurement from before factors in.
- Make sure the tripod is at a distance where most of the art can fill the space of your lens without distortions.
A Complex Undertaking
If there’s anything the tips above have taught us it’s that having your art photographed in professional photo studios can be quite a complex undertaking because a lot of intricacies and considerations are involved. As an artist and maybe even a photographer, not only should you try your best to emphasize the artwork in and of itself, but you should be able to present it in such a way that the artwork’s overall appeal isn’t compromised.
Marga is a budding photographer in some dedicated photo studios who enjoys getting out and practicing her skills. She loves writing about photography for different websites and enjoys traveling to get the best shot.