Photographing Art

These tips may help you get the best results when photographing your art.


It's best to photograph your artwork in good natural light.

If photographing outdoors, the light should be bright and even, but you should avoid sunlight falling directly onto the artwork.

If photographing indoors under artificial light, please ensure your digital camera 'white balance' function is set correctly. Most digital cameras set white balance automatically, but setting the balance manually can sometimes be more effective.

With the correct white balance setting, you will avoid the yellow/orange cast that can affect photos taken under incandescent (tungsten) lighting and the bluish cast seen under fluorescent lighting.

Flash Photography

Avoid flash photography, especially if your picture is under glass. Most digital cameras enable you to temporarily disable the flash mechanism, and provided there is a reasonable amount of light, you should get a good shot of your art work.

The disadvantage of using flash is that bright reflections of the flash from the glass, or from the varnish on an oil painting, will obscure parts of the image, and can result in the rest of the picture being underexposed.

Underexposed pictures are dark, and drained of colour, and the detail is harder to see.

Close Up Photography

When taking close-ups of signatures and other important details, remember that you may have to set your camera manually for close up photography. Close up mode is usually known as the 'macro setting' in digital photography.

Using the correct setting will enable you to get a good close up shot, which is in focus. A well-focussed close-up can reveal a lot about the condition of the picture, the type of picture, and so on, and enables us to provide a more accurate valuation.

Using a Tripod

Use a tripod if camera shake is blurring your pictures. Even if camera shake is not a problem, using a tripod makes it easier to line up your shot perfectly.

Photographing a Picture which is Under Glass

If you cannot get a good image without reflections when photographing a picture under glass directly from the front, a good trick is to photograph the picture at an angle, with a dark or even-toned background behind the camera to minimise the number of background reflections.

Experiment to get the Best Results

Don't always be satisfied with your first effort, unless it is obviously well exposed, in good focus, and colours are faithfully reproduced. Experiment a little with your settings - even change the location you are using to photo your picture. A bit of trial and error should eventually lead to an excellent result.

Click here for information on the photos we need from you to value your art.