In the Frame: Photographing Your Work

COMMERCIAL photographer Stu Grieve on how to get the best out of your camera when documenting your work...

I know that photographing art is never easy! Here's some pointers in the form of Do's and Dont's on how to use your digital camera to take photographs of your own work....

Do take photographs of your work before you mount the piece behind glass to avoid reflections.

Do use natural light – preferably northern light as this is more uniform and therefore consistent.

Do ensure that the plane of the piece to be photographed is parallel to the plane of focus of the camera to avoid introducing any perspective distortion.

Don’t use a wide-angle lens as this will also produce shape distortion.

Do fill your frame with the piece to be photographed to get the maximum resolution and clarity.

Do use a tripod or camera support and set the time delay on your camera to avoid camera shake.

Do experiment with angles for 3d objects to capture your piece at its best.

Don’t position your piece in direct light from any source as this can lead to a loss of detail in the highlights.

If photographing reflective objects, choose a neutral untextured background to ensure your photograph can be used for as many purposes as possible. Consider using a light tent for very reflective pieces to avoid reflections and glare from lights.

When photographing mirrors, you may find it easier to use an image manipulation programme like Photoshop to superimpose a metallic reflection instead of struggling to compose a shot which avoids reflections of you and your room.

Always make sure your camera is set to its maximum image resolution or quality setting – you can always reduce the size of the image later. Work on a copy when manipulating, cropping or re-sizing. That way you have the original image to refer to in future.

Do use the correct f-stop on your lens to ensure a suitable depth of field when photographing 3d objects. Smaller apertures give greater depth of field.

Stu Grieve is a member of HVAF