Photographing your art for professional submissions

When submitting art work to galleries and to contests, the photograph of your art work can make a difference between being accepted or rejected.

The Art of Autism recommends if at all possible artists hire professional photographers to photograph their art. We realize that this is not always economically practical. We’ve adapted these instructions courtesy of Madison House Autism Foundation.

I. Photographing Your Art

A. If at all possible, remove glass or frames for the photo. It is very hard to avoid
reflections in the glass and frame-less art will help in post-production. If it cannot be
taken out of its frame you can crop it out later. If the glass (or plastic) cannot be
removed, make sure it is absolutely clean.

B. Photograph your art outside when it is cloudy or with an overcast sky. Indirect light
will show your art better than any other light. Shooting inside with a flash or other
harsh light is very difficult to do the right way.

C. Use a tripod or any other device (boxes, table or ladder) to hold the camera steady.

photographing your art

D. Match the angle of camera with the tilt of the art that is propped against the wall and
make sure the camera is focused at the exact center of the art. If you can, avoid using
a “wide angle” lens- it often distorts the edges of the image. If you have a zoom lens,
use that.

E. Make sure that the flash on your camera is turned off, otherwise the flash will produce
“hot spots” on your art.

F. Once you have focused your camera, look for any distortions of the art and that your edges are straight and parallel. In the view finder match the edges of the art with the inside edges of the frame. If you cannot get it perfect, this can be taken care of in post-production, but get it as close as possible.

G. If your camera has different settings like a SLR, try different shutter speeds and ISO
settings. Through a little trial and error, you can find settings that produce the best
match for the depth and color of your art. As a general rule, slower shutter speeds will
help with your colors (but be sure the camera is absolutely still). Experiment with the
exposures and shutter speeds if you are doing this for the first time. If you have a
photographer friend see if they can help you with this.

II. Saving Your Image

A. Save you image as a jpg.

B. Determine what you need your image for. Print images need to be saved as CMYK and preferable 300 dpi (no less than 150). Web images should be saved as RGB 72 dpi.

C. Attach your image to an email when sending.