• Melanie

How to: Photograph 2D artwork


Photographing 2D artwork is more challenging than it seems

If you read my posts, you know I'm a proponent of professional photography for promotion, website images, and just about anything business-related. However, we all have to start somewhere, and keeping expenditures low, especially when starting out, is one of the keys to success.


When you're an artist venturing into selling your work, the DIY approach is often the only feasible way to get things started. If you're a 2D artist, it can be difficult to get high-quality images of your work with a phone or point and shoot camera. Investing a few hundred dollars in a DSLR camera and a tripod can make a big difference in your imagery.


Here are a few tips to help you take better photos of your art:


  • When purchasing your camera, get a zoom lens. This will enable you to sep back from the artwork to avoid warping.

  • Utilize YouTube to learn how to use your camera. Getting a DSLR is only half the battle; using it on the manual setting is what will garner the best results because you'll have the most control.

  • Step back from the artwork. Standing too close will create a bowing out effect on the straight sides of the artwork. This can be a challenge in a small space, so don't be afraid to move outside.

  • Try to make sure the lighting is as even as possible. Professional photographers have lights, reflectors, tricks of the trade, and post-production to even out the light. The main thing to remember is to keep hard shadows off the artwork.

  • If you do choose to shoot your artwork outside, choose a spot with shade, but make sure it's not too dark. Bright sun will be difficult to light and color balance, and dappled light creates those unwanted shadows.

  • When cropping your artwork, remove the entire background unless you're shooting a vignette.

  • Try to angle your camera on the same plane as the face of the artwork. I often lean artwork to shoot it, and have learned that I spend half the time in post production if I angle the camera the right way.

I hope these tips help you get started on the road to improving your photos of your artwork. If you're ready to take the next step and would like some professional photos taken, contact me for pricing.