How to Photograph Your Work

Set up

•    Place your work against a neutral background. For larger works this should ideally be on an easel or propped against a flat wall. For smaller works it may be possible to lay it on the floor and take your photograph from overhead.

•    Harsh lighting can cause glare or shadows so make sure you photograph your work using natural window light or, if photographing outside, in bright overcast conditions. Be sure to switch off your smartphone’s flash and any electric lights in the room.

•    If the work is positioned on a table, put some black fabric under the base to avoid colour and light reflections.

•    You can include the frame in your photograph. However, if the work is glazed, we recommend removing the frame to avoid reflection. If this is not possible, try using a polarising filter.

Taking your photo

•    Make sure your smartphone camera does not move: place it on a tripod or a flat surface (e.g. a table).

•    Use a self-timer or cable release to take your photo, to ensure that the camera is still for the exposure.

•    The smartphone lens should be parallel to your work – tilt the camera to match the angle of the work if necessary. The centre of the lens should be pointing directly at the centre of the work.

•    You can use the grid feature on your smartphone to ensure that the photo of your artwork is level and is composed correctly.

•    To maximise the image resolution, leave only the smallest of margins around the work (you may want to crop this out later). The edges of the work must remain parallel to the camera frame.

•    In most cases Auto Focus should be sufficient to take your photograph. Avoid zooming if using a smartphone or tablet, as this will reduce the quality of the photograph.

•    Take several shots and keep checking your images so that you can make adjustments. Check that the image is sharp and faithful to the artwork.

Preparing your entry

•    You can photo-editing software on your smartphone to crop away the background from your image.

•    Zoom in to inspect your image and check carefully for any flaws. Adjust the contrast and lighting if necessary, but be careful not to over-edit the image.  

•    You must not add any photo filters to your image: it should be a true representation of the finished work

•    The image must be saved as a JPG/JPEG and be smaller than 3 MB. The image must also be at least 1,080 pixels on its longest side (depending on whether it is portrait or landscape format). To ensure that the image is of the best quality given the file size we recommend saving the file as 72 DPI.