How do you photograph your Artwork?

I could never do a good job taking photographs of my artwork. I either had too much glare, too much light, or not enough light. During the week of Thanksgiving, my son Jonathan ( and The Bite sized blog ) who is a photographer in New York city came home to Philly. I asked him to PLEASE take photos of all my new artwork while he was here. He came up with a different method of taking the photographs so I didn’t always have to wait for him to visit to have pictures of my paintings. The week before he came, he sent me a link to a business and told me to buy 4 sheets of Roscolux #116 Tough White Diffusion (1100) paper which I bought for $30.

Once he was here, we went to Dick Blick Art Supply and he got the materials needed to make 2 24″x24″ frames, the kind you use to make your own canvas, and some kind of special tape. He built 2 flat frames and attached  the diffusion paper to them. He then taped the frames to 2 step stools and put a light on each side that shines through. See a photo of the set-up below.  The set-up is easy to disassemble to store and to reassemble when needed.

@Dora Ficher Art

Last week, while getting everything ready to launch my new website/blog, I photographed all my new work and it came out quite nice. He is definitely my hero! If you have been reading my blog for a while, I’m sure you heard me say this before in  the artist interview I did with Jonathan and in my older post called “My son, my hero”.

Thanks to his design, it is now so easy to do this by myself. No problems with light, glare, or lack of light. He even suggested that I add more light to the sides to get even better images. But I have to say that I am happy with what I got.

@Dora Ficher Art
@Dora Ficher Art
@Dora Ficher Art

Thanks everyone for your patience while my website/blog were going through a transition.

I will now be doing my artist interviews once a month so stay tuned.

This Wednesday I will have  an interview with artist Lorraine Glessner. Lorraine is the artist who taught me all about encaustic painting. I took a 2 day workshop with her last December and fell in love with encaustic!

Any questions about the photo set up? write them in a comment.

19 Replies to “How do you photograph your Artwork?”

  1. Dora, I am so glad that you took the time to share your artwork and photography information! I am an artist who makes seaglass jewelry and accessories – and I always want to photo my work to try to keep a portfolio (though at times the piece will be gone before I can get my photo set-up). I need backlight for my pieces; it is how the piece is illuminated that displays the color in glass. Some of my shoots are wonderful, and some are pathetic. I’m trying to develop consistency. Your son’s set-up is certainly a step in the right direction.
    I must briefly say: your artwork is rich and compelling, and now I am going to be looking for encaustic artwork because of YOU! Thanks, Cynthia Olson (my niece is Cynthia Morris, I am proud to say!)

  2. How simple, affordable and effective. Great info. What type of lamps are you using? They look like small flourescent desk lamps. Are the bulbs cool, warm or something else?

  3. Thank you Cynthia! For you this would be a much smaller set up because you do jewelry. It works nicely. Happy you liked my encaustic work! So Cynthia Morris is your niece…I love her! She is an awesome person!!!

  4. Hi Lanie, At this time I have some ott lights which I had at home. He suggested to use those very inexpensive clip on lights so that’s what I will do. I need to get some. When there is enough light I don’t need a tripod. If I decided to use a tripod, Jonathan recommended to get an extension that would take the camera right above the artwork.
    Thanks for your comment!

  5. Hi Carol, you know it was in the late afternoon…not night. When I edited the pictures I tried to make the background darker so we could just focus on the lights.

  6. Hi Debi, He built me the 24×24 because I don’t have room for bigger. But…you can make yourself a set up of 40×40 or even bigger. You would buy that size frames and get plenty of light on each side. You can also contact Jonathan with any question.

    I Love your paintings!!!

  7. Hi Dora,

    I’m glad I met you from twitter. I just checked your artwork and I love it. I have never worked with encaustic, but I like it, maybe someday I’ll try it.

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve always struggling to take photos my paintings too. I appreciate you show us that wisely method.

    Thanks for the RT’s 🙂


  8. What a great setup! I found your blog through the Blog Triage class, and love this post (in addition to your art). One of my goals for 2011 is making a simple photo setup for my jewelry, so I think I will use this model as a guide! Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Kathy,

    Thank you for stopping by. I’m glad that this post has helped you in some way. If you have any questions you can contact my son. Did you take the Blog Triage class? How did you like it?
    Great to meet you!

  10. Hi Carmen, I’m glad I met you as wel! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    This is definitely a great way to take pictures!

    See you on twitter!

  11. For small 3D pieces I have a light box, 2 lamps on the sides and one lamp not quite overhead (in the back trying to be overhead but I have to build something better for this.

    Your set up is very similar to the one my father described to me a decade and a half ago only without the diffusion and step stools. My problem is my camera. Since I can no longer use film cameras I have managed to obtain an inexpensive point and shoot camera and its major deficit is that it can’t seem to take flat images of my 24 by 18 and larger paintings without distortion of the shape.

    The only thing I can think to blame is the optics. Also, I wish I could get it suspended directly overhead since straight on might also be part of my problem.
    Patricia C Vener´s last blog post ..Caregivers- Art as Respite – 6 Easy Ideas

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