Photographing artwork, like a painting, can be very difficult. Many artists feel that photographs don’t do their work justice. While this may be the case you can certainly present the best possible representation of your work. This is especially important when sharing artwork on the inernet. The biggest issue when photographing any flat surface is glare. The second culprit is even lighting. Making a lightbox isn’t glamorous but it will solve these issues.
What you will need:
White Bedsheets, 4 lamps and Something to attach the blankets to
Photo editing software, Tripod
The lightbox will diffuse the light so that it will not reflect harshly off the surface. It is important that the sheets are white so that the light remains white. This lightbox will be on the floor so that the camera will shoot down from above.
1. Find something free standing for each of the four corners. I say something because as you can see in my picture I have used an easel, the kitchen counter and a tripod. Anything that will hold the sheets up at the corners without blocking light will do.
2. Place the painting in the center of the lightbox.
3. Set the lamps up, one on each side. Adjust the placement of the lamps until you are happy with the lighting.
4. Use the tripod to position the camera over the top of the painting. This will help reduce jitter for a sharp photo.
5. After uploading the photo, open it in your photo editing software. (I use Gimp, it is free http://www.gimp.org/) Crop the edges so only the painting is visible. Now in the COLORS menu select CURVES. You will see what looks like a wavelength with a diagonall line from bottom left to top right. There will likely be some space on either side of the wavelength. Adjust the diagonal line so that it begins at the start of the wavelength and ends where the wavelength ends on the top right. I have found that this is often all that is needed to get an accurate representation of the painting. If further editing is needed you can adjust the brightness/contrast and color correction. Bare in mind that an accurate representation of the work is the goal, not something that looks different or better. Be honest about your work.
This is how, I make my lightbox, but I’m sure there are ways to improve it. How do you photograph artwork?