Properly photographed artwork

Properly photographed artwork

We have broken the steps of preparing your artwork for inclusion to the Art Library into 3 main items:

1. Photographing
2. Framing
3. Packaging

1. Photograph your Artwork
****REMEMBER to photograph your artwork before framing it**** 
Guidelines for photographing your artwork: 

  • Attempt to get the proper representation of actual color.
  • Attempt to get the proper exposure (not too dark or too light).
  • Artwork must be lined up so square or rectangular artwork remains square or rectangular in the image.
  • The background behind the artwork should be cropped out.
  • The most basic premise of getting a good photo is to light the artwork with as soft and even of a light as possible.
  • Photograph the artwork upright, at a 90º angle.
  • Place a whiteboard behind the artwork and shoot some of the whiteboard in the frame, it will help your camera to set its automatic settings. Then use a graphics program to crop out the background.
  • Use a tripod or a table top, even the subtlest of vibrations will ruin the detail. Set the camera on a delayed timer, because the simple action of even pressing the shutter button by hand is often enough to shake the camera.
  • Save your file as a .jpg for summiting to the CSA Art Librarian. It should be under 100 MB in size.

2. Frame Your Artwork
****REMEMBER to photograph your artwork before framing it**** 

  • Framing a work of art is a significant expense--sometimes nearly as costly as the art work itself. So, it is important that you know the proper materials and procedures for framing, whether you will be doing the job yourself, or taking it to a professional.
  • Frame your 2D artwork appropriately. Oil, Alkyd and Acrylic works on canvas or board should have a frame and not glazing. Works on paper should be matted and under glazing.
  • Purchase a frame that compliments your work. Many artists use one or two styles of frames so that their body of work is presented in a consistent fashion. Museums and galleries sometimes require a simple black frame around the artwork.
  • Frames are used to enhance a work of art aesthetically, as well as to protect it from dirt, dust and handling, while maintaining a controlled setting essential for the life of the piece.
  • Choose picture frames and mats that will enhance the work of art itself. Avoid framing that overwhelms the artwork. Remember: the art work is the star--the matting & framing are supporting players.
  • The whole array of art works on paper--drawings, watercolors, gouaches, pastels, etchings, engravings, woodblocks, lithographs, silkscreens & photographs--are almost always put behind a glazed surface for preservation. However, the work should NEVER be placed directly against the glazed surface but underneath a matt.
  • Glazing with glass or acrylic is a decision artists must make. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Glass is cheaper, easier to clean, and more resistant to scratches. However, it is heavier, more breakable, sensitive to variations in temperature, and highly reflective so it often creates a glare.
  • Acrylic surfaces, often known as Plexiglas, are often suitable for framing because they are better thermal insulators, as well as shatterproof, and can be treated with an ultraviolet filter to protect the work of art. Large pieces of art should usually be placed behind Plexiglas because it is a lighter substance than glass, and therefore there is less chance of the piece falling off the wall. Yet, acrylic surfaces have a propensity for attracting dust and cannot be cleaned with regular glass cleaners. In addition, due to their inherent properties of static electricity, acrylic surfaces should NEVER be used in framing pastels, charcoals, or any other powdery pigment surface.
  • Most exhibitions and galleries will have their own requirements as which to use, with Plexiglass quickly becoming the norm.
  • All materials used in the matting and framing should be archival. This basically means that matting boards are acid-free and made of all-rag fiber. Any reputable framing store will use archival materials. Or, if you decide to frame the work yourself, you can find these items in a well-equipped art supply store.
  • For paintings on canvas such as acrylic, alkyd and oil, matting is not required and in fact inappropriate. As stated above, purchase a frame that compliments your work.
  • Attach your matted and glazed artwork to the frame with glazers' points. Or attach your canvas piece to the frame with offset brackets and screws. Make sure you write your name on your canvas/paper on the back or slip some form of identification in there for posterity.
  • Cover the back of the frame & artwork with a backing of craft paper. Glue on a business card or label to identify the work as yours. Label the painting with its title so it is easy to find and read.
  • Use eye hooks & picture frame wire as the hanging device. DO NOT use sawtooth hangers or your work will be rejected from the Art Library. These hangers are not sturdy enough for our use. Your work will fall off the wall and could be damaged. The eye hooks will go on the back of the work on the right and left sides of the frame. Place each one about 1/3 way down the side of the frame using a ruler to measure the spot to get both holes even. Pre-drill the holes, screw in the eye hooks. Attach picture frame wire between the two eye hooks. When connecting the wire make it slightly loose. If the wire is tight between the two hooks it won’t hang properly. The wire should never be loose enough to show above the top of the frame.
  • Attach Bump-On's or other wall protector dots to the bottom left & right corners of your piece

3. Package Your Artwork for Transport

  • Use a cardboard box that will be big enough for allow for the packing materials on all sides of the artwork.
  • Cover the glazing with proper material that will keep the glazing from scratching and attracting dirt & dust.
  • Put paper or cardboard corners on each of the frame's 4 corners.
  • Use bubble wrap, foam sheets, crumpled craft paper or newsprint or blow-up packing pillows to cushion the artwork on both sides. NEVER EVER pack with “peanuts”. Your work will not be unpacked and you will be asked to re-pack your work correctly.
  • Include identification of the work and your contact information as well as an inventory sheet. Include your contract if needed.
  • It is a good idea to pack artwork in its own individual box. However small works, under 9” x 12” can be packed together, with cardboard separating the packaged paintings.
  • Label the outside of the box with your return information.
  • Plan to pick up your packaging materials after your work has been delivered to the CSA Art Library. OR Your packaging materials will be stored in the vault of the CSA Art Library for use in transporting your artwork to and from patrons' locations and when it is sold.
Poorly photographed artwork 

Poorly photographed artwork