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How To Include Art In Your Photo Book – And Make It Look Good

painting depicting a mountain

Photo books give you a way to collect your most prized photographs and bind them into a portfolio. Something to keep on the shelf and flick through whenever you’re in need of inspiration.

But what about artists? Every artist needs a way of creating a portfolio, but it’s not always so easy. Not like photographs, anyway. Some art can be as small as an A4 page, whereas others can cover a whole canvas, so you can’t always scan them. How do you nail it all down and present it within one solid book?

Well… take photos, right? It’s easy enough to take photographs of your art, put them on Instagram and then get them made into your very own Instagram photo book.

Well, actually, no. Any artist would tell you that it’s not that easy. In most cases, taking pictures of art lessens it. The lighting is not as clear. The details are not as crisp. Sure, art can be included in a photo book. But how do you actually make it look good?

Right Time Of Day, Right Light

Using our photo book maker, you will undeniably make your photos look beautiful, but the software can only do so much when the lighting is not on point. This is the same story when it comes to taking photographs of artwork. If done in the dark, with electronic light, your art is likely to have shadows and glares. 

That’s not to say sunlight is definitely the answer, however. With a glaring sun, shadows can still be a problem, even if you are taking pictures of the artwork inside. It is important, therefore, to take your photographs on an overcast day to make the lighting as soft as possible.

A Helping Hand

Try to ensure the area surrounding your artwork is white, or at least as white as possible. This will mean that stray light will bounce back and fill in any shadows that have managed to sneak their way into the frame. 

This is best done with a window frame, but if your frame is dark, don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand to get this done. With a friend on board, you can ask them to hold up a white piece of cardboard or a bedsheet against the frame to ensure that any stray light continues to elevate your art.

An Eye On Distortion

One of the reasons photographs of art don’t look as good as the real thing is because of distortion. Every camera will have a degree of distortion, and this often causes a lot of problems, not least seemingly flat edges looking curved. To avoid this issue, ensure you move your phone back so that the edges of your art are about two inches from the frame. 

Once the picture is taken, you can then simply crop out the outer edge and ensure the entire frame is covered by the artwork. As well as this, ensure your camera is parallel to the art and the angle is as straight as possible. Otherwise, the proportions of the image will be warped. 

Sharp As A Pencil 

Another thing you have to avoid is blurriness. Of course, if you are trying to get your kids interested in photography or learning to take pictures yourself, you can get away with a bit of blurriness. But this is an entirely different story when it comes to art. If you take a photo of your art, you’re going to notice any blur immediately. 

For this reason, we would suggest finding a way to prop up your phone or even yourself – leaning your body against a wall or window frame – to ensure the artwork remains sharp. Additionally, once this is done, you can use a sharpening filter to give it that extra clarity.

Scrap Everything You’ve Just Learned

Huh? Scrap everything? So what was the point of all those tips? Well, our pointers will help you take accurate photographs of your art, but they aren’t necessarily the best option. Many artists actually like to tell a bit of a story. Instead of simply relaying the art, they utilise a three-dimensional setting to really emphasise the work they have created. You can do this by simply changing up your angles or placing a few props in the frame – pencils, paintbrushes, flowers, whatever you can think of. 

You can even include yourself. You’re the person who created this piece, after all. Over time, you’ve tested ways to improve your painting skills, and it has resulted in a piece of beauty.  If you take a photograph of yourself holding the paintbrush and dabbing slightly at the canvas, you are drawing attention not only to the painting but the creator who has put their heart into it. Make your photo book about you and your art. This will be just as – if not more – effective than simply letting the art take centre stage.


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