How to photograph your art

The basics

  • Take your picture in natural light, but not direct sunlight, i.e. in the shade outdoors.

  • Don’t use flash

  • Leave a little space around and crop afterwards to avoid lens distortion

  • Hold the camera parallel with the plane of the art

  • Have the lens (not the center of the phone) centered on your picture

  • Prop up your cameraphone and use the timer delay to avoid shake

  • If possible photograph your work before framing, especially if under glass 

  • Photograph it framed as well as unframed.


The first few tips are probably all you’ll need, but there’s a wealth of stuff here:

9 Common Mistakes when Photographing your Artwork with an iPhone 


With a camera, not a smartphone, but has some useful general advice:

Resizing large photos

1. on your phone


You may need to change the filesize of your photos for exhibition entry, whether by MB (megabytes) or by pixels. You can set your iPhone to take photos at a smaller filesize to start with by choosing Settings> Camera> Formats> High Efficiency.

To reduce large pictures, say from 4 MB down to 1 MB or even just 180kb, whether for Westside Art Hop or any other show, here's a handy method. Instructions below are how to use the "Image Size" app which works for Apple and Android. Also, although not essential for Art Hop, here's how to rename your files.


Download the "Image Size" app to your phone

  • Choose a photo using the little mountain photo icon, top left.

  • Make sure the settings (cog wheel) have "calculate file size" set to "on". (Back button to go back to your picture is bottom left.)

  • choose the second "pixel" button and type 1200 in the  "Maximum" box.

  • Under the picture it will show you what the size will change from and to - check it's between 180kb min and 1.2MB, adjust if not.

  • Tap the "download" icon, bottom left.


This will be useful for any other art show entries you may make.

Apps (2).JPG

2. on your PC


Open your picture in Paint. 

This is a rough-and ready version. Simply clicking "Save As" and saving as  JPEG rather than PNG reduces the size somewhat. 

Check how many Kb or MB - see strap along the bottom. In this example, it's 1.2MB, which is just ok, but to make it smaller, click "Resize". 

In the dialog box, make sure "Maintain aspect ratio" is checked. In this case, 50% would take it down to 600KB, a bit small, so let's go with 75% or 80%. Check the strap along the bottom to see what you're getting, then click Save As and save with the name you want e.g. last name and title.

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