Quick (and easy) tips for photographing your artwork

Quick (and easy) tips for photographing your artwork

artist tips

Quick (and easy) tips for photographing your artwork

For our next artist advice (alternatively, this series could be titled So you’ve made a painting. Now what?), let’s take a quick dive into the world of photography. An integral part of selling artwork online is capturing it at its best. He wants his work to shine, but he’s not necessarily an expert in lighting and editing. We understand.

Capturing your artwork doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need expensive software or a ton of equipment to help you. We’ll go over the fundamentals of taking a flattering photo of your work, plus some specifics we require to upload photos to Saatchi Art. For the tl;dr crowd, scroll down to the bottom for our helpful video that sums it up.

Turning on

Perhaps the hardest part is making sure the lighting is just right. Room color, temperatures, and flash usage can distort color balance, resulting in blues, yellows, and grays that should actually look more like white.

Natural light is your friend. A cloudy or overcast day, in particular, can produce great results, as the clouds work like a giant light box.

Tommy Ingberg editing in his studio. Image: Canvas


Make sure your camera is shooting at the highest quality settings, setting the ISO between 100 and 200 to avoid excessive noise. If you don’t have a point-and-shoot camera or other higher-quality option, your cell phone may suffice. The iPhone offers many Applications that allow you extensive editing options. Adjusting the color, brightness, or contrast can allow your image to more closely resemble how the actual artwork appears in person. But don’t overdo it: files that have been processed much later, leading to confusion about the medium or quality of the artwork, are not only heavy on the eyes, but subject to deactivation.

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Avoid blurry photos by using a tripod or makeshift tripod by simply placing the camera on a stable surface. Tip: You’ll have a much better chance of avoiding blur and camera shake if you block out the lighting.

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Create a makeshift tripod by placing your camera on a stable surface

A note about signatures: While it’s important to represent ownership of the creation, digital watermarks or in-camera dates and times make your work seem less valuable. Instead, make sure the work is signed off and upload a detailed shot using our Multiple images function.

Composition and Size

This part is relatively easy (hint). Some points to consider:

  • Capture art side by side with the camera lens
  • Trim excess white space, artwork borders, mattes, and padding. This creates a clean, focused image without any distracting background.
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All the intricate details and color of The hyperrealistic painting of Marcela Montemayor it is retained with a closed culture.

As a helpful reminder, our specific files to remember when uploaded to Saatchi Art

  • A JPEG file in RGB color format (not CMYK)
  • At least 1200 pixels x 1500 pixels
  • Less than 50MB

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