November 7, 2017

In our previous photography tips post (4 Essential Tools for Photographing your Artwork), we introduced what we thought were important tools to photograph your artwork.

In this post, let's look at how to photograph your artwork with these tools.

Lighting: The first and most important thing to remember when photographing your artwork is light. Natural light is the best light you can ever get. Place your artwork next to a big window and you will not have to worry about extra lighting equipment.  The best time to photograph using natural light is on a cloudy, overcast day where clouds work as a big diffuser for your light source.

Composition and Positioning: You can either hang your artwork on the wall or place it on a table.  Either way, make sure your camera is parallel to your artwork; we don't want any skewed perspective. Like we mentioned in our "4 Essential Tools for Photographing your Artwork," make sure to use a tripod so your camera is stable.

Camera Setting: If you are using a camera with settings, you will want to learn Aperture or f-stop.  The f-stop of your camera adjusts how much light is let through the lens by making the lens opening smaller or bigger. Each camera has different f-stop settings but you will typically see numbers like f/1.4, f/2, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 and so on. The important thing to remember is that when your f-stop number is low, your depth of field will be shallow giving you a blurry background.  On the other hand, if your f-stop number is higher, your background will be in focus. The photo on top if taken with a f-stop of f/4. The photo on the bottom is taken with a f-stop of f/22. Can you see the difference in blurriness of the dog in the background?


We think it is fun to explore f-stops to capture details of your artwork. For example, in our Chigiri-e projects, it is nice to see the details of the intricate Washi fibers. By getting up close to our artwork and using a lower f-stop number, we are able to capture all those fibers in detail.

Photographing your artwork may be an intimidating process.  But don't hesitate to play around and explore different settings on your camera!