Having good quality photographs of your artwork is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as an artist. Why would you spend so much time working on an amazing piece of art, just to show an awful picture that doesn’t do it justice? Many artists have to think about having their art photographed or scanned professionally because they can’t do it themselves – I am one of those artists and if you’re one too, it’s time to admit it and move forward.

Taking professional photos of your artwork can be expensive, but it’s worth having good photography your website, promotions, and for any literature you plan to distribute. Usually, I take my own progress photos and post them up on social media. However, the professional photos are important for a variety of reasons. You have to show your best work to galleries, patrons, art judges, interested clients… and just about anyone else you’re trying to impress.

Also, professional photography is necessary for good reproductions of your work. If you ever plan on selling prints or merchandise – you need to have the best possible photography or scans of your artwork.

What I’ve Learned About Photographing Art

You’ve probably tried to experiment with taking your own art photos. I was there too, and I learned very quickly that my photography skills were less than ideal. Originally, I thought that all I needed was a good camera and it would do the work for me… but I found out in time that I also needed professional training, expensive studio equipment, and a variety of other things I didn’t know anything about.

I tried to set up a photography studio in my art space, and I even tried to take photos outside. One of the first things I noticed was the amount of light that was reflected on the 2D surface of my art. To deal with this issue, I bought extremely hot lighting from a hardware store to wash out the irregularities. It seemed to work somewhat and made the photos better, but at some point I started getting dizzy and accidently tripped over a painting and destroyed it. Moral of the story: sometimes it’s just better to leave these things to the professionals.

What I’ve Learned About Hiring a Professional to Photograph Art

Here’s what I know about photography – if you have a friend who’s a photographer and you’re planning on buttering them up for a good deal – they’re probably going to resent you. However, if you’re planning on paying a photographer their worth, prepare to pay a pretty penny. Artwork requires care, handling, and studio setup time. Depending on how much artwork you have to photograph – plan to pay hundreds for a photoshoot. It’s not a bad investment if you have the money, but if you’re a new artist on the scene, you probably don’t have a big budget.

What I’ve Learned About Scanning Artwork

Now I’m not sure if this is a permanent solution, but I found that scanning 2D artwork has been the best way to go. There’s less set up because in the scanning process you don’t have to worry about lighting or positioning. If you have someone working with a small scanner or you’re doing it yourself, what you’re probably paying for is the labor of stitching the artwork scans together through a photo editing programs such as Photoshop. Currently, I have a local printing company that does all of this work for me. Although I am planning on investing in a high resolution scanner and stitching the artwork myself in the future.

These are the only methods I’ve tried, but I’m sure there are other creative ways that people have found to either photograph their own work or collaborate with others. Do you have any recommendations or ideas for getting website and print worthy reproductions of your work especially for people on a budget?

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