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Watercolor and Oil Paintings

    Photographing Flat Art-Watercolor and Oil Paintings


    Key Points to Remember

    • Watch video: "Basic Camera Settings, Focus Tips, and How to Avoid Camera Shake."
    • Match the camera format to your art. Shoot vertically for tall pieces and horizontally for wide pieces.
    • Keep the art completely flat, vertical, and level. Make sure the camera is not tilted and is completely level. The camera should be aligned with the center of your art. This will help avoid distortion.
    • Show 100% of your work. Don't crop out anything and leave a small amount of space surrounding your piece.
    • For a detail shot, move closer and/or zoom in with your camera. If you need a very close detail, try the camera's macro function (flower icon) and refer to the owner's manual.




    Make sure art is set up flat on a wall or easel.

    Each light is set equidistant from the painting at a 45-degree angle and aimed at the center of the painting. They are equidistant from the painting.





    Clip diffusion material to your lights.


    Custom White Balance

    Camera white balance of painting - set up a custom white balance in your camera. Check your camera's manual and watch the slide show on camera settings. Your camera will ask you to photograph a neutral reference point. Photograph a sheet of white paper or a neutral gray card. Your camera will remove any color cast from your light sources.



    Light Spill and Lens Flare

    If your lights are spilling over into the camera causing lens flare, you can use a piece of cardboard to block the side of the lights.

    Make sure you bracket your exposures!

    Bracketed Shots



    Correct Exposure

    Correct Exposure