Photographing Your Artwork – Jargon Busters

An Overview PLUS Jargon Buster

Photographing Your Artwork – Jargon Busters provides you with a broad overview of photographing work PLUS a Jargon Buster for easy reference.

For more detailed information please register with ArtMakers.

Photography Overview

Photographing your art doesn’t need to be difficult and often a point and shoot camera will suffice, in fact ArtMakers knows several artists that use their Smartphones.


Make sure when taking a photo that you aren’t photography downwards onto the Artwork or side on, you want the camera to be parallel to the centre of your art.


Natural light can be used, be careful that full sunshine doesn’t create unwanted glare or shadows, aim for overcast weather. If inside, studio day lights and photo light tent

should be used to keep a true colour of your art. Do not use flash photography.


It is worth investing in a tripod that you can attach your camera too. This allows you to control the positioning of the camera.


Always check the photos on your desktop or laptop before uploading or sharing with a customer, website or social media, as it isn’t always easy to see the photo detail on the small camera screen.

Using a photo editing software can help tweak colour, light and crop the image. However, be careful not to over saturate and change it too much, as customers may be disappointed, and you may lose a sale if the image doesn’t match the Artwork. 

Photographing outdoor artwork needs strong light to create contrast and highlight colours

Jargon Busters

What do you mean by Angle?

In the above context, angle refers to the position of the camera to your art. If the camera was at a downward angle this would not give the perception of looking straight at the work and therefore would not represent/show the artwork well.

What do you mean byFlash Photography?

Flash photography is when the camera or an external flash/studio light, flashes light onto the object at the exact moment the photo is taken. Unless you are very skilled in using flash to your advantage it is advised not to use this due to the reflections, colour change and glare that can occur.

What do you mean by Glare?

Glare refers to light bouncing off the object into the camera lens therefore creating distortion or lack of clarity. This can also be called over exposure or blow out, where there is too much light. This means you lose definition in the photo and the image can appear white in places.

What do you mean by Natural Light?

Natural Light means any light that is not artificially created. Sunlight is natural light, whereas an indoor light from a lightbulb is artificial light.

What do you mean by Overcast?

Overcast refers to good cloud coverage, many might think less light may not be good. However, a good cloud coverage defuses the sunlight making for good balanced light with less shadows and glare.

What do you mean by post-Production?

In this context post-Production means changing the image after it has been taken by adapting it by using a piece of computer software or an app. Often computers are installed with a free version of image editing software. Often free software is enough to alter any discrepancies between original Artwork and photograph of the Artwork. Apple Mac have a comprehensive free piece of software called ‘Photos’.

What do you mean by Saturate?

Saturation is intensity of colour, for example, if you were to over saturate a picture of a blade of grass it may appear neon green, and if you undersaturated, the image would become black/grey and white.

Photography using a smart phone is now good enough for most website displays

What is a Smartphone?

A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps.

What do you mean by Studio Daylights and Photo Light Tent?

Daylight refers to the colour of a studio light being likened to natural light. You do not want yellow or blue lighting, which can occur from ordinary light bulbs, when photographing art. A Photo Light Tent is a wireframe cube covered in thin white fabric, creating a very soft diffused lighting environment inside. Ideal for small pieces of your art.

What is a Tripod?

A tripod is a 3-legged apparatus in which you can attach a camera. This means that you do not need to hold the camera to take the photo. This can help with consistent positioning of camera to your artwork and can create stability for the camera which reduces movement and stop images from being blurry.

A more detailed account can be found at Photographing Artwork

For more information on how to photograph your artwork, please REGISTER with ArtMakers where our information sheets provide a comprehensive guide to taking  the best photos of your artwork. You may also find this article useful How to Photograph Artwork





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