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Kate M

6 Days Ago

I Need Help Understanding Taking A Photo Of Painting That Works For Upload

I've searched and read numerous threads looking for help. I'm a painter, not a photographer and TOTALLY not tech savvy. I have an iPhone but no camera. I read through Dave's post on all clarification of all the terms used but am totally and dishearteningly confused.

I just need to know if taking a picture of my painting with my iPhone and then uploading it will work. I can't find any tutorials to help me understand how to keep high quality (without compressing anything) yet still stay within the 25mb limit. Most of my paintings are much larger than I can scan in (and the whole concept of "stitching" frightens the daylights out of me), so photographing them is my only option.

If there is a thread that is relevant, I'm more than happy to read through it, but in searching I haven't found the SIMPLE BASICS I need to understand what to do. Thank you.

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Abbie Shores

6 Days Ago

Yes it will work... if you are careful. All of my artwork is taken with an Android phone

Here are some tips for you that we give people photographing their work. However, even if you scan, some will help

First off, all artwork should be photographed following these simple steps:

1. Use at least a 10-12 MP camera, with a manual focus lens not an auto focus. The higher the MP the camera, the larger the file we have to print from. If you want to offer large prints, you need to use a high MP camera.

2. Mount the camera to a tripod. If you don't have a tripod, use a stack of books, a table, anything. You just have to have the camera sitting on something, not hand held.

3. Shoot outdoors in natural light. Make sure you white balance your camera too, or the colours won't be right.

4. Export at the highest possible file size while staying under our less than 25 MB limit.

The sizes depend on your pixels. Unlike other sites we never crop or skew images to fit standard sizes, instead allowing the artist free scope to just upload what they have

The only limits we have are that one of your dimensions is going to be forced to fit the following list:


The other dimension will be scaled proportionally to maintain the aspect ratio of your image.

Here is a tutorial on images and products, sizes and filetypes


Artist Areas and Tech Support Manager

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M G Whittingham

6 Days Ago

Hi Kate:

I have been fortunate to have taken pictures of a few thousand paintings with my camera.....Van Goghs, Monets, etc. in addition to artist friends that I know.

A camera is better than a phone. The reason is
1) an iPhone is the equivalent of roughly a 12 MP camera.
2) A photo taken with an iPhone will cause more image distortion on the corners of your painting.

If you need to use an iPhone, here is a simple 10-step process:
1) take the image outside in natural light.
2) cloudy days are best because it will give soft diffuse light.
3) beginning or end of the day is preferred when the sunlight is not too strong. Stay away from sunrises and sunsets.
4) chose a location outside where you are not getting light reflected off other things like trees or buildings. Light reflected off trees (for example) will make your image look too green. This often happens in shade.
5) set your painting up on your easel.
6) when taking the image, make sure the plane of your phone is parallel to the plane of your painting. In other words, tilt your phone so it has roughly the same angle as the painting on the easel. This is a really important step to make sure your entire painting is in focus in the picture.
7) you don't need a tripod, just a steady hand.
8) make sure you don't use any filters on your iPhone.
9) take a couple of pictures of each painting.
10) review the pictures on a large screen (not your iPhone screen) to determine which image looks best to your eye.

You can either try to use your phone to take a photo of the entire painting right to the corners (this is a bit hard to do) or you can take a photo with more than just your painting and crop out the excess with software (easier to do if you have software that you are comfortable using to do this).

Hope this helps. Good luck.


Steven Ralser

6 Days Ago

I would also try to do it in the shade rather than the sun (or as MG says do it on a cloudy day)


DK Digital

6 Days Ago

I never could get a decent photo of my paintings so I scan them instead. If the painting is larger than my scanner I take multiple scans and stitch them together using Microsoft ICE.


Chris Wetherill

6 Days Ago

^ What DK Digital said...

I started out doing mosaics using a program called PhotoStitch, which I believe came free with Canon PowerShot cameras, so copies should be out there somewhere. I started using it to put maps together, when I was going hiking at basically the corner of four maps, so I only had to carry one rather than all four. It was extremely easy to (learn to) use, and even had a special mode for if you were putting scans together, which is a little different technically than making a panorama.

Photographing artwork almost requires a studio setup to do right. You need to have 100% control of the lighting.


Kate M

6 Days Ago

YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!! Thank you so much!! This is all very, very helpful!!!


Rich Franco

6 Days Ago


Here's my tutorial on correctly copying artwork. A phone will work if you follow the "recipe", will just be limited by the quality/file size of the phone. If new, then probably fine. Best time of day, is usually between 10:00 AM and 2 PM, when the color of the light is the truest and as it sets, becomes more yellow or orange and then blue-ish.


Let me know if you have any questions. If you have any kind of photoshop-like software, all the better for getting good color,



David Smith

5 Days Ago

A used 3 or 4 year old basic model DSLR can be bought for a couple of hundred dollars on ebay.

It's going to beat the quality of even the latest phone hands down every time.


Rich Franco

5 Days Ago

As David mentioned, almost ANY DSLR will be better than a smartphone. The sensor on most phone cameras, smaller than your fingernail on your pinky! If ONLY for copying artwork, get a DSLR, and a 100 macro lens, and you're done....



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