Often, artists will take a quick snapshot of their artwork with a smartphone camera believing that it is high enough quality for their professional website or portfolio. Although smartphone cameras have evolved to have great quality and features, when creating a professional space for your art it is important to take that extra step when it comes to  photographing your work.


It all starts with a good digital camera. This camera does not necessarily have to be extremely high end or expensive but it should have the two following features:

  • Cutsom focus- auto focus will usually work however you can play around with focus settings to your liking
  • White balancing capabilities- the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. Proper camera white balance should account for the “color temperature” of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light

The next step is to make sure that you have a tripod. Even if you believe that you have the steadiest hands in the world a tripod makes things much easier. Tripods allow for non blurry images, while also providing great alignment and easy set up for timed images. By putting on a timer it allows you to move away from the camera and not disturb the image. With a tripod you are also able to leave the camera in the same location so you can shoot pictures of multiple pieces of art from the exact same angle and location.

After you have these two pieces ready to go its all about your set up. The setup should include the following aspects:

  • Make sure the camera is level in relation to the item you are taking a picture of. If the item is a canvas flat on a wall make sure the camera is pointed directly at the canvas. This will help eliminate odd shadows or any other small lighting issues.
  • Fill the image frame with your art. It will look more professional to have just an image of your artwork rather than an image of your artwork with random things behind it.
  • Use basic backdrop for 3-Dimensional object. Something elaborate could take away from the piece or give the piece a different color or tone than it is supposed to have.

Finally it is important to consider lighting. Natural lighting is always best when it comes to taking images of artwork. It helps show the true nature of the piece and can make colors almost equally vivid as they are in the original. Professional lighting can also be a good route to take. However it can get pricey and be a time consuming process to get everything set up properly and the way you wish your lighting to look. If you are planning on taking images for a portfolio it would be advised to take all the images around the same time in the same location to keep a consistent look and tone to the lighting.

Don’t forget it’s always better to have too many images than not enough so do not be afraid to take as many images as you can with various lighting, angles, positions, and shot sizes, until you find the perfect photo for your portfolio that really shows off your artwork.