How to photograph artwork for submission

This is a great topic!  Last year we receive over 6,000 art submissions from NYC teens. Each piece of art is judged by a panel of professional artists using the student’s digital submission – a photograph!

I’m going to take you through some quick tips to getting a clear, easy photo.  This method did not require any fancy equipment.  Anyone can take a reasonably good photo of their art with the right amount of patience.

If you have a nice camera – use that!  This example was done using an iPhone – not great, but it can get the job done.  Repeat, if you have a camera (digital or DSR) USE IT, same thing goes for if you have a tripod or even — access to a professional photography studio – use your resources!

Find a flat, uniform surface, that has access to good lighting. For example: a wall!  I used a table because my office has bright ceiling lighting.

DO NOT USE FLASH.  This is what happens…


Take a photo straight on, so that the angles aren’t skewed like in this photo:


Take many photos and look at them in an online editing program.  You can use a fancy program like Photoshop, but I used a very simple, standard program: Microsoft Office’s Paint.

It took me about 7 photos, because it is very hard to get a steady photo without a tripod (use it if you have it!), but in the end I found one that I was happy with.  Take a look at that right angle!

Without Edit

Once I found the photo I wanted to use, I went back into Paint and cropped the photo, so that only “my art” was visible.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS crop backgrounds so that jurors can exclusively focus their attention on your artwork.

With Edit

If my editing program had more advanced editing abilities, I would adjust the brightness of the photo so it could more accurately represent what my art looks like in real life.

Not too bad, huh?  Ready for submission!!

If you want a more detailed/advanced take on photographing art take a look at the video below:

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