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Photographing paintings for uploading to the internet.

Okay let me start of by saying, like most painters I’m not much of a photographer. I don’t have a studio set up with a SLR Camera, lighting lamps and tripods set up to take images of my work but then I’m guessing many of you will be in the same situation.
I am just going to give you some hints on how to present your work in the best possible light to load up onto redbubble.

*1. Take your photos outside in natural light. Indoor lighting can colour your work a dull yellow colour.

2. If your work reflects light, ie oil paintings, varnished work and even some graphite work, then it is much better to photograph your work in open shade. This stops that annoying shiny effect you can sometimes get, and never, ever use a flash. If your work is behind glass it is very hard to photograph, so the big hint is document it before you frame it.

3. Try your very utmost to line up work work so that it is as parallel to the camera. This will stop the distortion you can sometimes get on your work. Easiest way I guess it to stand it up 90 degrees against a wall and hold or stand your camera as straight on as possible.

4. You want your painting to occupy as much of the viewing space as possible but don’t get to close to your image, this also distorts the image. You are much better of standing back from the image and zooming in. The bigger the painting on your image the greater the resolution you will get at the end.*

These are the four basic hints for taking pictures yourself. Much can also be done after your image is taken.

I have photoshop but many other programs can carry out the simple steps I will outline here.

Remember we want to represent our paintings as close as possible to the real thing so don’t get carried anyway with post production.

1. Firstly change your image resolution to 300 pixels/inch this is the best resolution to work with (or at least this is what I was taught).

2. Make sure your image has the correct rotation, slight misalignments usually can be fixed with cropping. Hopefully your work is free of distortions. There is a way of correcting for this but it is much better to spend time when photographing to get this right.

3. Crop the image down so unwanted background is gone. If somebody wants to buy a print of your work I’m sure they wont appreciate half of your wall as well.

4. Lastly you can adjust the levels so the image is as close to the real thing as possible.

Hopefully this will help some of you out. If anybody wants more information on how to change image size, rotation, cropping and levels I can give some advice on how to do this in photoshop only. If there is a demand I will do it.

I also have notes on how to copy indoors but it requires a lot more equipment. Anyway let me know if you would like this also.

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