Finished Artwork/Photographing your Painting

If you’ve been doing this for a while, you probably have your own way of getting a good photograph of your artwork. I’ll tell you what I do.

To me it is important to photograph my painting in natural light only. I have a bedroom that has two nice windows. I turn off any lights and place the painting flat on the bed, hoping to avoid any light coming in from the sides. I use my Nikon SLR and do my best to hover over it so the picture is square and not skewed. The hardest part is not casting a shadow. I take a few pictures and then open them in PhotoShop.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 12.53.45 PMOpen PhotoShop. You are greeted with a page with a large “New…” button and a large “Open…” button. Click on the Open button and navigate to where you have your photographed picture. If you don’t have this screen, then go to the top menu and click “File.” You’ll find “New” and “Open” here, too.



When you locate your picture, click on it and then “open” at the bottom of the little screen.

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And then the picture opens in PhotoShop.

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Whether I have scanned a picture or taken a picture of it, I find that the blacks are washed out and the picture needs a slight value adjustment. In this case, the brightness and contrast are way off.

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You can see a grid because the first thing I do is crop it with the crop tool on the left, 3rd one down on the left of the tool palette. After you have determined how you want it cropped, move your cursor to the top left icon, the “Move” tool, and click on it. You’ll see a little menu pop up that says “crop?” and “don’t crop.” Click accordingly.


So what is a Pixel?

I learned in a photography class years ago that photographed images are made up of tiny points of light called “circles of confusion.” In the digital age, these dots have become squares called pixels and a bunch of pixels make up an image. When an image is opened in Photoshop, it is “rasterized,” and those dots become squares. So dots per inch are actually squares, or pixels, per inch, thus the term “dpi.”

Your eye views an image on your computer at approximately 72 dpi. At this resolution, the image is quite clear. However, a 72 dpi image is low resolution and inadequate for print.

If your painting has been chosen to appear in a magazine, (and who doesn’t want this to happen) the magazine will request a 300 dpi copy of the image. This is considered a high resolution image suitable for print. High resolution images shouldn’t be used on a website or Facebook or Instagram, or anywhere you don’t want people to hijack your pictures. But you do need 300 dpi images if you want to have giclee prints made, or sent to a print magazine.

So the question is: I have finished a painting and photographed it. How do I change the resolution?