Having a social media presence is a must for creatives. For those working in traditional mediums, capturing an image of their pieces can be challenging.
Here are some practical tips for photographing your art for social media.
Choose a neutral background
The piece should be the focal point when taking a photo of your art. To accomplish this it’s important to have a neutral background that’s free of distraction. If you work on canvas, leaning or hanging your art on a blank wall is sufficient. Similarly, small pieces can be arranged for a flat-lay style shoot with the camera angled overhead.
For larger pieces, although you may have a blank wall to hang art for photoshoots you’ll have to stand far back to get the full piece, exposing the hallway or background area. If this is the case, you can use a blur photo background for a bokeh effect, eliminating the background noise and keeping the focus on the piece.
Using a neutral background doesn’t mean the photo should be devoid of anything else. Having the piece displayed over furniture or with a few plants at the edges can add dimension to the photo to keep viewers engaged as they scroll through social media.
Perfect your lighting
Lighting is everything when photographing art for social media. Natural, diffused lighting is the best for capturing your piece’s true tone and texture. Indoor light can alter the colours of your artwork, impacting the perception of quality among remote viewers.
If possible, take photos of your art next to a window on an overcast day. If you notice shadows, use a white foam board opposite the window on the other side of your art. This will reflect some of the light from the window back at your piece. For wider pieces, consider rotating your work vertically for better light distribution from the window, then rotating the photo to its proper form in editing.
Consider investing in a simple light kit setup for photographing your work. Two lights with diffusers angled from either side of the piece will greatly impact the image quality.
Eliminate the angles
Another significant challenge is finding the right angle— especially for larger pieces. The goal is to eliminate angles for a straight-on shot. When taking a picture of a hanging piece, use the grid function on your camera or phone to centre and align the shot.
For larger pieces, consider leaning them slightly against the wall and use a chair or stool to take the photo from above. Tilt the camera down so that you’re parallel to the piece at the same angle. This trick will allow you to take a straight-on shot while capturing the whole piece.
Allow room for cropping
Keep in mind that social media platforms use different photo dimensions. Instagram tends to be the most challenging as it uses 1:1 square images, making it difficult to capture larger pieces. Take a step back and allow plenty of cropping room. If you’re using a smartphone, you can adjust your settings to use a square shot for framing the image. However, you should switch back to the 4:3 setting before taking the picture.
Use a timer and tripod
Use a tripod and timer to ensure your photos are crisp and clear. The tripod will keep your camera or phone still, and the timer will ensure it has time to stabilise after you click the button. This will also help you take consistent shots if you need to shoot large pieces from above.
Check the color match
Finally, use a basic colour correcting tool in editing to finish your photos and avoid using filters. After you use the colour correction tool, hold the picture next to your piece to compare.
Best gear for photographing your art
If your core photography goals are taking photos of your art, there’s no need to invest thousands in a photography set-up. Here’s some of the best, simple gear to help you market your work:
- Large Foam Core Board on Amazon – you can also head to a local stationery supply store to see what they have in stock.
- Pixel 80-inch phone tripod on Amazon – ideal height for shooting larger pieces with a Bluetooth remote for stability when shooting.
- Adjustable overhead phone tripod on Amazon – perfect for flat lays for illustrators and creating work-in-progress videos.
- Basic lighting kit on Amazon – soft, even lighting for photographing pieces when natural light isn’t an option.