Professional Photos for The Professional Artist

When it comes to your art, professional photos are is essential and a must. We are in the visual industry where the first impression does psychologically impact on how people perceive our creations.Then it will lead to either praise, judgement, criticism or joy. Think of it as the airbrushes necessary to make a model look editorially appealing or your work c.v that requires a professional profile. You would not take a selfie or low quality images to impress the potential employers and so it is the same when you are exposing and showing off your efforts. It is a form of respect given to your art by giving it a good image it deserves.

I understand that for most grunge soulful artists who still perceive poverty or the struggling artist myth as glamorous term, that your first reaction to this topic would be “I don’t have the money to take professional photos”. Calculating how much was spent on booze and cigarettes when I used to be a smoker, it was shockingly close to $ 560 a month and a professional photographer charges anywhere around $150 to $300 on average. So back to answering all the endless obstacles, self doubt and what ifs that may have come up in your minds while reading this article, I urge you to take a deep breath and simply allow some new ways of doing things and be open to new ideas that are going to greatly benefit you as an artist. It is 2016 please do choose to evolve your art professionally and I am saying this with some tough love induced with a kick in your butt.


professional images

MJ Studios

Before we go into the technical side of photography requirements it is important that you know some very basics of what to expect and collaborate with your photographer. When I first started with my images I was very fortunate to have met Jaiden from MJStudios Marrickville, who bought the right lighting just for my photo session because his studio was new and he usually took photos outdoors. Where did I meet him? I simply googled affordable photographers and found a site that sent me a list of 50 over affordable and cheap promotional services. They can consist from a wide selection of students to fresh graduates and professional photographers who will pitch for the job.

You will have the countless options of picking and choosing the right ones that match your needs. For me at that time because I was new and broke, Jaiden’s promotional package of $60 matched my criteria. Three months later my images were spotted online and now I am exhibiting in New York come 2017. So my fellow artisan, have we convinced you of the importance of having professional images? Not only can you sell fine art prints, posters and make more money than selling a 1 piece original painting, you can further leverage your art by making personalized greeting cards, hand made coasters and much much more!

Considering this, you must also understand the right lighting effects – so as to be able to produce something awesome. You and your photographer must look at the ideal digital enhance level required, the angle of which the art should be shot at, and how to avoid glaring on images among other things. (a tip is to not varnish your painting just yet and do this after so the lighting doesn’t bounce off the canvas and interfere with the pixels)

If you only need to take good quality images for your portfolio and social media exposure and do not wish to sell prints or make more money by doing this then a simple d.i.y steps using your own camera does produce good enough images. As an artist, you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on lighting equipment before you can achieve a professional looking portrait. With a basic home studio kit – you can shoot exclusive creative portrait of your art images – those that are considered worthy of any expert photographer’s portfolio.

professional photos

You are not required to have a lot of fancy lights or other expensive gadgets to create striking lighting effects for your images. Just a basic simple home studio kit that has 2 flash heads would be perfect to get started with. These tools are readily available and comparatively low-priced!

As your gears are set – you can theatrically alter the look of a portrait or image by utilizing a few basic tools, accessories, and methods. This is why it is worth spending some time to experiment with various set-ups.

Great photo studio shots of your images will help present your ‘works’ in more professional and acceptable ways, and will help distinguish your art.

Thinking of controlling the intensity of lighting within the studio – there are loads of lighting accessories to help you achieve that. Such may include soft-boxes, umbrellas, and beauty dishes amongst others. A good starter kit usually would come with a soft-box and an umbrella. These kits or accessories are superb for diffusing the light, ensuring it’s softer in quality – while honeycombs, barndoors and snoots are great for concentrating it.

Lighting can also be well controlled by setting the lights strategically. Some lights come with modeling light – a kind of constant light that’s ON almost all the period and isn’t strong enough to affect the exposure.

When you move light at a distance away from your ‘image subject’ – it gets more diffused and softer; and when you move it closer, it becomes solider with stronger shadows. Check the height and make sure the light is above the image to get the perfect shot. It is also worth experimenting to check out how the light will look at different heights. Consider the angle also! Lighting that falls across and from above is generally more satisfying. With a special digital camera – you can get a perfect studio professional photos and then see the results immediately on an LCD screen to evaluate points for modification and distinction.

Learn to take your best shot always! Below are practical ways to further do this:

  1. First get your art prepared. Bring it out from within its frame if framed and then eliminate any matting before taking pictures to prevent any shadows. Ensure that you never shoot a picture under a glass.
  2. Next position the painting on a wall. You can use tape to secure your work. To prevent stooping while peering thru the camera’s viewfinder, you can center your art image at eye-level.
  3. Next is to block the windows and go on to set up your lights.
  4. You can opt for the following camera settings below:
  • Set Color mode: Adobe RGB is much better, so avoid sRGB
  • For Image size, you can set the camera to the biggest size your camera can capture & produce.
  • For Image formatting, you can use RAW or TIFF format as JPEG format is usually best for the Web.
  • For White balance, you can set the white balance to complement the kind of bulbs you are utilizing.
  • Also set the exposure control to manual mode
  • For Flash Setting, ensure it is camera-mounted flash, if any, is disabled.
  • The Aperture and f-stops: This (aperture) is actually the opening thru which light gets within camera. It is normally defined with numbers such as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22. To increase the volume of light passing thru the camera, you would choose a smaller aperture number. The aperture setting also will help you to maximize the sharpness and quality of your professional photos.

Some other way to control how much light enters the camera aside aperture – is the shutter speed which is typically expressed as numbers such as 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 500 and 1000.  To make sure that the image isn’t distorted in the photo, the camera’s line of sight should be seamlessly perpendicular to the art. You can even watch this video and learn more on taking digital photography and basic camera settings here.

professional photos

So that’s just the technical side of things if you are choosing a d.i.y or seeking out a professional.It is important to know these few tips and tricks so the money you spend will be well worth it and you can avoid making mistakes that could cause you damage. Also be sure to email and clarify with your photographer that you have the full copyrights to your images and that it cannot be used without your permission or request for a copyright agreement which most professionals would.

At Art Xtedia, when you become part of our community and are listed as our artists where we promote, sell and individually feature you as our team of expert artists, we recommend you submit professional photos such as this in order for us to help you expand your art business or hobby. On a yearly basis we also help organise group photography sessions where a few artists pay for a photographer’s time. Click here if you are an artist wanting to join our community of art lovers!