Photographing Artwork

  • ISO – low (ISO 100)

  • Mode – Manual

  • Flash – off

  • Lens – Most zoom lenses have some barrel or pincushion distortion when set to wide angle or telephoto extremes. Midway between is likely to give you the straightest edges on your photos.

  • Manually focus

  • Lighting – don't use on-camera flash. Ideally, one large light source on each side of the art, splashing across it at a 45º angle

  • Avoid getting reflections of yourself and the camera gear on glossy art or oils. This may mean you have to be far enough away that the light doesn't spill on you.

  • White Balance should be matched to the color of the light source. Consult your camera’s instruction book and learn how to do “custom white balance” so that your images match the color of the art.

  • Use a tripod

  • Use a self-timer or cable release so you don't shake the camera.

  • Back of the camera must be exactly parallel to the art, to avoid keystoning (one end bigger than the other)

  • Aperture – sharpest results are when the lens is closed down about 3 f-stops from the largest opening. So if your camera's lens has a maximum aperture of f4, set it to f11 for best results.

  • Bracket your exposures - take one exposure based on what the light meter says, take another with less exposure and a third with more exposure.