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Caren Hackman Talks About Photographing Your Artwork

The Rickie Report receives numerous emails and phone calls from readers asking a variety of questions. We’ve invited Caren Hackman, author of “Graphic Design Exposed”, to be a guest columnist to answer some of them.  Today’s topic is photographing your 2D artwork.

Photographing Artwork

Q: I photograph my own two dimensional artwork and show it on my website.  Do you have any helpful techniques that can make my photographs look better?
A: After years of experimentation, I’ve found a couple of “sweet spots” outside of my studio where I can set up a tripod and take the best photographs. However, I am not an expert. To assist with a more professional approach I asked photographers John R. Math and Katie Deits for some input. I also found some excellent online sources that are referenced at the end of this article.

John R. Math is the director and operator of the Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery. Mr. Math is a fine art photographer who sells his work to the corporate art markets. John’s blog was most helpful and I strongly suggest reviewing the eight simple steps and photo editing links that he offers.


Katie is the Director of the Lighthouse Art Center (, and herself a professional photographer and artist.  Katie pointed out that artist spend hours, month, even years creating artwork. When submitting work for display or competition, the same level of attention should be given to photographing the work. Often when work is submitted for art competitions Katie has discovered that the images are out-of-focus, poorly exposed and not straight.
The most important suggestion for artists is to become familiar with ones own camera. Read the camera instruction manual! Below are some other tips that she has offered.
Consider the different temperatures of light.  Many digital cameras have adjustments that allow for the kind of lighting being used. Using the camera’s built in flash may cause a hot spot despite the fact that it can offer a chance to get accurate color.
• Use a tripod. Set it up so that the 2-D object is perfectly parallel to the lens surface
• Photograph at the highest resolution possible.
• Analyze the environment. If you’ll be photographing work outdoors on an overcast day the light will be cool and the work may look blue. Will the color of the walls in the room reflect on the artwork?
• Use a photographer’s color separation chart (made by Tiffen). Place the chart next to the art and include in the photograph. Adjust the color in a digital photo editing program.
• Take care with reflections. Only photograph artwork with glass after studying special techniques that will assist in avoiding reflections.
• Learn to use a photo editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop elements
Two helpful resources:


Please send your questions, no more than 250 words to:




Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of  a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice. Design Exposed  Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork –  Caren is a talented artist in her own right!  She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420




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