I recently received this question from an Art-is-fun.com visitor, and thought it would be good to answer it here so that we could all share our ideas on this:

I've been wanting to post some of my artwork online but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it would be.  Is it as simple as taking a digital photo of the artwork?  If so, how do I make sure it ends up looking true to life once it's uploaded?  I'm worried about lighting and having the color come out right.  How do you do it?

There are 2 ways I create digital images of my art: by using a scanner or taking digital photos, so I'll talk about both methods here....

1) Scanning your artwork

If your artwork is small enough to fit into your scanner, then I'd recommend scanning your work because I find it to be more accurate than photography (which I explain more below).  If you think you'd like to make prints of your work, be sure to scan it at 300dpi. For the web, 72dpi is fine.

After scanning your work, you can adjust the colors, contrast etc in Photoshop or any other image editing program (GIMP is a free one).

2) Photographing your artwork

If you don't have a scanner or if your artwork is too big for a scanner, then digital photos are often just as good.  The more megapixels you have, the higher the resolution of your images, which means you might be able to make prints from your photos, if you want.  You'll definitely get good enough quality for posting online, in any case.

Photograph your artwork outside on a sunny day, but don't put your art in direct sunlight, because that might cause a glare. You'll have to experiment to find the best angle. I have a lightweight display easel that I take outside and rest my artwork on it, changing the angle of the easel in relation to the sun as needed.

Experiment to see what works best for you - I've even photographed small pieces by laying them flat on the ground and standing above it (making sure not to cause any shadows, of course).

Some people recommend photographing your art in the shade on a sunny day, but I've found that the shade will dull and alter my colors.  I've had better luck photographing out in the sun.

Another tip is to take your photographs before you varnish your piece, because if you varnish beforehand, you'll get even more glare when photographing your artwork.

One problem you will likely encounter when photographing your art is parallax error.  This is a problem caused by the lens that makes a flat painting (or drawing) with right angles appear to bulge or not look straight.  This is why I prefer scanning over photographing, when possible, because parallax error can make your artwork appear distorted.  Here's an example:

If you look closely, you'll see that the corners of the painting are not right angles - the painting seems to bulge out from the middle.  The image below might show this better.  In real life, the corners of the painting would fit seamlessly into the edges of the black border, but due to parallax error, the edges of the painting appear to curve:

So that's why I prefer scanning when possible - to avoid this distortion.

Two more tips for you when photographing your art:

Take a bunch of pictures. It's hard to tell from the little viewfinder if the photo is just right, so save yourself time by taking a lot of pictures of your art and then looking at them all on the computer.  With any luck at least one of them will be usable.

Use macro to capture detail.  If your artwork has texture, you can use your camera's macro setting to get some lovely close-up shots that accentuate the detail, like I did here:

I hope that helps!  If anyone has any tips or suggestions on how to digitize your artwork to post online, please share!  :)

Views: 8256

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Such great examples!!  I'm going to try photographing my next picture and see how it works out.  Kip
 

Thanks! I do have a nice camera with a macro lens will have to give that a shot.

Thank-you Thaneeya! Good info.

Thanks for the speedy reply.  I have just bought a digital slr.  I read so much stuff on buying a camera that I got very confused....the more I read, the more confusion!  In the end, I took the advise of The Camera Shop and my wallet and bought a Nikon D3100.  Now, reading the manual, I'm just as confused as ever!  I think I'll have to take a course in dslr photography.  However, I can use the auto to take photos and so far, so good.  Hopefully, soon I'll start to photograph my artwork.  One hold up as far as putting them here in the colony:  most of my most recent works are life drawings/paintings (from the model).  Eventually though, I'll be digging out some older stuff to shoot and post.  Thanks for taking an interest in seeing my artworks.  

There is an Exposure setting on most cameras.   You can set that to expose, more or less, light and it is good to take the pictures at those different settings and you get a more natural exposure than doing it on the computer.  You take several shots and choose the best one.

Thank you for the instruction. I am a neophyte in this community and to ART itself, but I am excited to share my finished product.

Hi all,

FYI there's a good site about taking photos of artworks.....look up "How to photograph art or just about anything else" by JR Crompton.  Hope you find it useful.

How do you "watermark"?

Joy

This has been an incredibly stressful new project of mine lately! The majority of my paintings are very large, so getting a scanner that will do the job (which is possible with large paintings by taking scanned images of each part of the painting and stitching them together) has been a tough one. Also, photographing pieces has been a hassle, and I haven't been able to get it right yet. I found this discussion to be SO helpful! I have been scouring the internet for tips and techniques. Do you have any recommendations for printing companies? Do you think 300 dpi is too low for large paintings? The local printing companies here use a scanner that is 9600 ppi, but they are expensive. I am just worried about the prints coming out funny looking. I want to begin to sell these prints and have started up an Etsy account. Also, do you recommend any varnishes for acrylic paintings? I have also heard of people using artists quality epoxy resin (like envirotex lite), and I am not sure which way to go and don't want to make an irreversible mistake! With varnish, I am worried that it will "yellow" over time, as per reviews.

Just a few months ago I decided to make my "hobby" into a business and it has been a very lonely venture because many people do not want to give away their "trade secrets", so it has been hard. I VERY much appreciate and value this site, your input along with the other admins and anyone else who would like to impart their wisdom on a young artist! 

Thank you in advance! 
Gina



Gina Chitty said:

This has been an incredibly stressful new project of mine lately! The majority of my paintings are very large, so getting a scanner that will do the job (which is possible with large paintings by taking scanned images of each part of the painting and stitching them together) has been a tough one. Also, photographing pieces has been a hassle, and I haven't been able to get it right yet. I found this discussion to be SO helpful! I have been scouring the internet for tips and techniques. Do you have any recommendations for printing companies? Do you think 300 dpi is too low for large paintings? The local printing companies here use a scanner that is 9600 ppi, but they are expensive. I am just worried about the prints coming out funny looking. I want to begin to sell these prints and have started up an Etsy account. Also, do you recommend any varnishes for acrylic paintings? I have also heard of people using artists quality epoxy resin (like envirotex lite), and I am not sure which way to go and don't want to make an irreversible mistake! With varnish, I am worried that it will "yellow" over time, as per reviews.

Just a few months ago I decided to make my "hobby" into a business and it has been a very lonely venture because many people do not want to give away their "trade secrets", so it has been hard. I VERY much appreciate and value this site, your input along with the other admins and anyone else who would like to impart their wisdom on a young artist! 

Thank you in advance! 
Gina

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Guidelines

New to the site? Check out our Guide to Getting Started.

Please take a moment to read our Member Guidelines. Thanks!

Need help?

If you need assistance with this site, please visit the Site Help forum where the moderators and/or other members will assist you.

About

The Art Colony is a fun online art community for artists of all abilities working in painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture and handicrafts! Join us and share your art, ask questions, receive tips, and make new friends!

 

It is 100% FREE to join the Art Colony and always will be!

Cheekyjane

Artist and Owner of The Art Colony                      

The Art Colony is co-run by a fabulous team of enthusiastic moderators:

 

Pat

Stacy

Nick

Members

© 2019   Created by Jane Miles. All Rights Reserved.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service