Online art sites market to the masses. It is hard to stand out. To get your art into the eyes of customers ready to part with their cash to own the art that you made, your photography needs to vouch for your talent.
When you aren’t there to pitch the art, the digital copy needs to do the talking for you.
The most profitable method of selling art online is to sell the print or copy only. That way, you are not paying hefty shipping fees to ship picture frames with your art. Simply put in your descriptions that the prints are shipped unframed. You can still use a professional frame to make your work presentable.
Then, all that’s required is a few tricks of the photography trade to make your work worthy of a digital art portfolio.
1. Take the photo outside on a sunny day
Natural light is best for any photograph. To take professional-grade photos of your art that you can put to great use in a digital gallery portfolio, your garden is an ideal place to take the photos. Not in the shade either. In the sun.
No props are needed!
Lean your art against a wall, or the side of a garden shed. If you do not want the background, use an image editor later to remove the background in the image. You can do plenty of edits once you have the digital photo.
If you want nothing else in the background or around it, or to limit the editing required later, hang a drape as a backdrop and put something beneath the print. Covers are handy for hiding sheds, walls, and grass from studio photos taken outdoors. The only thing you’re aiming to capture is the art in natural light.
As the art is leaned against something at ground level, it will be at an angle. The trick to getting angles right is to match the angle of your camera to the angle of the leaning artwork.
The end result should look like it has been taken front-on. Not standing above the art looking down.
2. Use a tripod
All types of cameras (including the one on your smartphone) shoot the sharpest photos when there is absolutely no movement.
Taking a still without a tripod is difficult because naturally, you either need to press a button or tap a screen to take the photo. That is movement.
The only way to avoid moving is to use a camera with a timer feature. This way, you can set a delay of say, 5-seconds. After tapping the screen to take the photo, then hold the camera as steady as you can. Preferably in a frozen still position. Even better is to rest it on something to be sure it cannot move.
If you can get your hands on a tripod, even if it is a mini one to use with a phone, the image will come out sharper.
3. Adjust the zoom
Zooming in on your art makes a difference to the level of details the camera captures. How much you zoom in depends on the camera you are using. Some use optical zoom, others use digital zoom, which is magnification technology, rather than actually magnifying it with a lens (optical).
Neither optical nor digital zoom works well when zoomed right in, or without any. There is a balance to strike, which is often around midway. On digital cameras, set the zoom to 50%, then either move closer or back until your art is within photo view on the screen of your camera.
For cameras using optical zoom, you can get a little bit closer without it blurring.
Once you have the photo, you can use image-editing software to improve the clarity.
What not to do is over-edit the digital version to the extent that it doesn’t truly reflect the artwork you will be sending to customers who buy your artwork.
The better you can get the original image, the less risk there is of customers returning art because they thought it was more purple than blue, or some other nuance that can creep in from cameras distorting photos of your real artwork.