How to Photograph Your Artwork
Show our curators how much you value your work by taking the time to photograph it professionally for submission. Often it’s due to poor quality images that make collectors question the quality of output.
Additionally, please keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Photograph your artwork centrally, not at an angle. If possible, use a tripod to photograph the work at eye-level when it’s mounted on a wall.
- Your Master image must be cropped to the edge of the artwork itself, not showing any border or background. If your artwork is pre-framed, you must ensure that your Main Image shows the work in its frame (but showing no background). Any other views of the work can be added as Additional Images.
- Upload a high-pixel image of your work. We recommend files of at least 2000 pixels (either in width or height). A high-pixel image lets our zoom tool show the details of your work and also allows us to blow it up to fullscreen. We shrink the file size to 72dpi for display. Please note that we accept PHG, JPEG and GIF files up to 5mb. We don’t accept other file types like TIFF and PDF.
- For photographers, you can upload the digital photograph in a lower resolution.
Tips from our curators:
To help photograph your artwork, here are our curators’ tips:
- Set up a single, consistent place to photograph your work.
- Make sure it’s well lit, preferably with indirect natural lighting (natural light fluorescent bulbs can also be a good choice). Do not use a flash.
- Avoid deep shadows, tonal inconsistencies and dappling effects.
- A tripod is a must. They can be found relatively cheaply online and many can be fitted with smartphone extension if you do not have access to a DSLR or good quality digital camera.
- Usually, the ‘auto’ settings on cameras is adequate to capture your artwork’s best angles but, to be sure that your camera set up is on point, make sure the focus is correct, set the ISO to 200, and adjust the white balance to make the white objects in your work appear true.
- Ensure that the main image of a work shows nothing but the artwork itself. For secondary images, photograph your work against a background that won’t detract from your work. If in doubt, use a white background - it’s the perfect neutral colour. This goes for sculptural work too - it’s best to keep the background simple and without distractions.
- It’s good practice to take as many secondary photographs as possible. We would recommend taking at least four additional images per artwork. These could be showing a detailed close-up, different angles, or an installation shot (perhaps in a gallery, your studio or installed in an interior). For advice on uploading Additional Images read our FAQ answer.
- Archive your photography. You’ll be thankful you did in years to come.
- Crop your photograph of the artwork to its very edge. In Additional Images you should add further photographs of the piece, especially if it has a large border or frame, so the customer can see it exactly how the work will appear when they receive it. If it’s a shot of a sculpture, make sure you photograph the piece in front of a neutral (preferably white) background and include Additional Images to show each angle.
Framed works or works ready to hang:
- If you’ve framed your artwork, photograph it and crop it to look at how it will be when it’s shipped i.e. with the frame in the shot. Crop the image to the outer edges of the frame. Please make sure that when you list the measurements of the artwork, you include the frame in those dimensions. Please write the dimensions of the piece unframed in the description box.
- Please note: we tend to prefer unframed works because the customer is free to choose their own bespoke frame. It also saves you an investment on the frame and bother when shipping.
Tommy Clarke's prints are unframed and the images he uploads are cropped beautifully to the edge of the piece itself.
Patrick Hughes' works often have a frame incorporated, and his Main Images gives the customer an accurate view of what they’ll get. He has photographed and cropped his artwork to the frame border and the customer can see that piece comes in a grey surround.