Taking photos of art can sometimes be a tricky business! These are a few of the roadblocks I have run into while taking pictures of my work.

1. Lighting – When we take photos of our work under a traditional light, called tungsten light, the colours in the image often have way too much yellow in them. If we take photos using florescent light, there is a good chance that there is too much green in the image. I have also found that photos of our art come out darker than intended, but I really don’t recommend using a flash as you’ll get weird glare spots.

Photos taken in natural light often come out the best, as your camera or smartphone doesn’t have to compensate for lighting that can appear yellow or green on camera.

What do you do if you don’t have access to natural daylight when you are wanting to take your photo?

Since all the photos I take for Instagram are taken on my smartphone, I use a program called Snapseed to adjust the image so it looks like the original art piece!

Here is a brief overview on how I use Snapseed.

1. I usually take more than one image, so I go through and choose the best one and delete the rest.
2. Import the image, by pressing the plus button on the top right.
3. Snapseed does have an automatic setting – you can try this first and see how close it gets the image. I actually never use this setting.
4. I use the setting called “Tune Image”

In “tune Image you have 6 settings, brightness, ambience, contrast, saturation, shadows and warmth.

I start with the warmth setting to get the colours to be as close to the images colours as possible and then I move on to brightness and ambience. Often I go back and forth between these two to get the look I am looking for. If you use Photoshop, then Ambience is closest to adjusting curves, though Snapseed is certainly not as powerful. The Brightness setting in snapseed would be closest to the levels setting in Photoshop.

I then play with adding a bit of contrast if necessary, I find that less is more with this setting. The shadows setting just lightens shadow areas, and I rarely use this setting.

Once I am happy with the image I save it by hitting the checkmark.

5. Next I head over to the Details area and I sharpen the image slightly. If you have an image that is just slightly out of focus this can help define the details. If you over sharpen an image, it becomes a little pixellated.

6. Next, if the image is slightly skewed, I will straighten the image before heading in to crop it.

7. I always like to crop the image myself before adding it to instagram.

I rarely touch any of the other settings as my main goal with this app is just to create an image that looks like the original piece of art!

Next I upload the image to Instagram and add some #hashtags so others can find my work. Common #hashtags that I use for art are: #art #artist #artstagram #artistsofinstagram #oil #oilpaint #paint #painting

This will allow other instagram users to find your art. Anytime I receive a like on my photo, I go and like one or two works of theirs. If I really like them and think they would be a neat person to build a relationship with I will leave a comment on one or two of their pieces as well. If they reply then I usually start to follow them.

I’ve been amazed at the things in common I’ve found with others. It’s a really neat way to connect, see into other’s worlds and to become inspired.


What is your favourite way to create stunning photos of your art with your smartphone?



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