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Juergen Roth

8 Years Ago

How To Photograph Your Artwork At Home

Tips for photographing your artwork at home:

1. Use a solid tripod.
2. Use the camera self timer to minimize blurriness.
3. Do not walk around during exposure if your floor shakes.
4. Set the white balance on your camera correctly.
5. Overcast skylight or indirect natural light works best.
6. Avoid direct sunlight.
7. Use a polarizer filter to eliminate reflections, if required.
8. Bracket your image to see the effect of different exposures.
9. Use a low ISO setting on your camera.
10. Use 50mm to the medium telephoto 100mm zoom setting on your lens.
11. Minimize the surrounding area of your art (perhaps use a white cardboard behind your work).
12. Fill the frame and crop the image during post-processing to your needs.
13. Take your artwork out of a glass frame and photograph it direct.
14. Do not use a camera flashlight.
15. Sharpen your image during post-processing.
16. Use the best camera equipment you can get your hands on.
17. Read lens reviews to learn about your optimal camera f/stop setting.
18. Find the most beautiful or representative perspective of your artwork.
19. Shoot your artwork straight on and flat on.

Hope this helps ... more photographic tips at my blog Where in the World is Juergen?

Good Luck!

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John Stidham

8 Years Ago

Excellent advice! Thanks Juergen!


Julie Lueders

8 Years Ago

Thanks Juergen, super advise!! I always find loads of useful tips on your blog!!


Donna Proctor

8 Years Ago

Juergen, thank you for sharing your tips and expertise here. Great info and greatly appreciated! :)


Robert Meanor

8 Years Ago

I like number 3


Jeurgen, you are just the kindest soul to share your vast knowledge so generously with the members, and judging by your fine images, you are a master...and the beauty is, you care for your fellow artists in a really important show of helpfulness. I thank you personally especially. I won't bore you with the details, but can tell you simply that with my tremor, aside from the difficulty of making the images, I have vast difficulty photographing them, and fortunately I do not have to live by the uploaded poorly presented copies on my site because I'm not marketing my work, just storing it here....but even so, what you say is wonderful advice. Thanks so much, Vivian
Promise you won't go "tsk, tsk" if you look at the photos I've done...doesn't matter for me, but the others will so greatly benefit from your advice.


Terri Mills

8 Years Ago

Thank you, Juergen! You're always full of great advice and we love you for it!!! xoxoxo


Charles Peck

8 Years Ago

i've been relying on the anti-shake mechanics in the camera but will now start using the tripod and "self-timer" - never thought of that - thanks Juergen, i will make this one of the discussions i follow and maybe beth will make it "sticky'".........'-] - I just can't say that without smiling '-)


Juergen Roth

8 Years Ago

I actually tried to take a photo of a landscape painting in our living room this morning. Turns out it's much harder than I thought and quite a struggle to match the original ... hands down for all your painters who have mastered this and have to deal with this. I used indirect light coming through the dining room window and took a series of photos at around 50 mm. Overall I took 10 photos each one bracket at 1/2 to 1 stop over and under exposed leading to a total of 30. I shoot jpegs but since I always work from an original I think I am ok with that. The one here I thought came the closest to the original and had the best whites in the clouds. The whites turned out to be the tricky part ... some images showed kind of too much pinkish hues. As further blown out as whiter the clouds came out and as more adjustments the image needed. Aperture for this final photo of the painting was set to f/5.6 resulting in a 1 second exposure time. In this one I used a polarizing filter to minimize any reflections on the canvas ... although I think I didn't really need to use one. I had to keep the post processing fairly simple because I am not that familiar with it. I cropped the actual image out of the frame, applied auto contrast, minimally lightened shadows, darkened highlights, adjusted saturation and auto sharpened the final image. It looks fine to me but the final word would be from FAA folks regarding the printing quality ... not sure if I want to know though :-) and will leave this one rest now ... I still hope my tips above will help to improve your struggle although it sounds from the other post that much more belongs into the mix (color space, compression and stuff like that ... have to pass on that). Good luck!

Sell Art Online


Larry Ricker

8 Years Ago

Juergen (and others)... be careful with the polarizing filter. Not all are created equal and, in particular, some are purposely "tinted" to either cause a warming effect or to enhance the blues. Could it be that the one you were using was one of the warming ones, hence the pinkish hues in the clouds? Personally, I'd try to avoid use of the polarizing filter -- or, any other filter -- altogether for this application... one more potential source of bad distortions between your artwork and the final file to upload.

Overly saturating the image (either with camera settings or in your photo editor) could also be a source of pinkish whites.


Juergen Roth

8 Years Ago

I agree with you Larry and would use it only if I notice glare or other reflections on a canvas which you may be able to control with other lightning methods ... I shot the painting with and without the polarizing filter and there was no difference in the clouds ... the pinkish hues in the painting were most likely a result of our orange kind of curtains ... wasn't willing to take them down for this experiment :-)


Larry Ricker

8 Years Ago

Ah yes... you definitely have to be careful of how other objects in the room affect the ambient light. Which is why it's really best to have a proper studio setup for this kind of work. Absolute control over the light is necessary for best results.


Jean Billsdon

8 Years Ago

Thanks Juergen, very kind of you,



Juergen Roth

8 Years Ago

More on digital file saving and compression here


Georgiana Romanovna

8 Years Ago

Juergen, in your opinion, would this be classified as a sharp photograph? I am at the point where I don't know anymore. Please bare in mind this is only the FAA preview......

Photography Prints

Honest opinion as my gallery is getting a huge overhaul.:)


Christine Till

8 Years Ago

Very good advice as usual, Juergen.

I would mention just a few more things:

- Use fresh (fully loaded) batteries! Although the battery-indicator may still show "OK" the batteries may already be close to "weak" and so will be your shots. The computer in your digital camera has a lot of work to do. You need to give it the power to do a good job.

- Never use digital zoom, which only magnifies the pixels. Use only optical zoom, which magnifies the image.
- Shoot between 10 am and 4 pm


Juergen Roth

8 Years Ago

I find this hard to tell on a screen here even with the magnifier from FAA. In generally it depends of the ultimate image use and size you prefer to print. If maximum sharpness is your goal the canape structure seems like it could have been photographed sharper but I think it is still a good photograph Zeana ... I love the play with colors, shadows and forms and it would be a keeper for me! Although always a tough undertaken and seldom successful you may be able to go back and try to re-shoot to improve on things you might not like. In terms of sharpness I always like to look at an original print or in your phoot software at 100 percent magnification ... if it is still up to your standards at 100% magnification I guess you are ok. Test prints also would determine how large you can print ...

Thanks for the add-ons Christine!


Patricia Cleasby

8 Years Ago

#2, using the timer is very helpful for me. When I push the button the camera moves, it never occured to me to use the timer. Thank you!


Lena Auxier

8 Years Ago

I always take my artwork outside and do not photograph my paintings in direct sunlight. I also lay mine flat on the ground, instead of on a wall. Trying to take a photo of a drawing or painting hanging will make it look distorted, imo. Also, I take photos of my drawings in sunlight. I've found taking them in shade gives them a blue hue. I have a nice camera, Canon T1i, and I'm still trying to find the best method.


Christine, where do I find optical zoom, where do I find digital zoom, please, thanks.


Balanced Art

8 Years Ago

Here is something i stumbled across over on Nat Geo, look in the center of the page

"Photo Tips Videos"

# Macro Photography
# Composition
# Backup
# Underwater Photography
# Image Resolution
# Using Available Light
# Amazing Photo Albums
# Camera Symbols
# Photo Software


Sweta Prasad

8 Years Ago

Juergen, thanks for the tips - thanks for sharing your own experience taking a photo of a painting. If it is hard for experienced photographers like you - god help the rest of us who are not experts :)


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