No Camera, No Problem! Learn to Photograph Your Art Using an iPhone!

When I first started selling prints I couldn’t afford to purchase an expensive camera for my business. But luckily, if you plan to sell smaller prints online or at art markets, like myself, then you can totally get away with just using your Iphone or even a scanner for smaller sizes!  Here’s how.

Step 1

I find shooting my work in the morning or late evening on a sunny, yet slightly overcast day to be perfect for reproducing accurate colors digitally.  If you attempt to shoot on a super sunny day, then your work will look washed out or have quite a glare on certain spots. Be mindful of the colors around your art as you photograph.  Sometimes I use a sheet to control the glare from the sun. The colors around your artwork will effect the colors in your digital image. For example, if you photographed your painting near grass you might see a greenish hue in your digital photograph.  

Alternatively, if your artwork is small enough to fit in a scanner, you can easily scan your file at 600 DPI.  This example here was originally a 5x7 acrylic painting and enlarged to a 16x24 Canvas Print without any loss of image quality!

dino

Step 2

Make sure you DO NOT use the zoom feature on your phone.  This will cause pixilation or blurriness in the final reprint.  I would also not recommend adjusting the colors of the image directly on your phone, as this can cause loss of quality as well.  I generally take about 5-10 photos of each painting and choose the best one to adjust in Photoshop from there on my calibrated monitor.

Step 3 

Now that you have your digital photographs ready, you will want open the most accurate file in Photoshop with your original artwork in hand and adjust the colors if needed.  I typically adjust the ‘levels’ of my image to get a bit higher contrast and adjust colors if I am seeing a gamut warning or I feel it doesn’t look accurate to the original. A gamut warning will grey out any spots on your image to let you know that those colors may not print accurate.  Be mindful that it's super tricky to get an EXACT replica, but you can get pretty darn close.  We as painters can mix up some pretty unique colors that may be out of range of typical printers (especially reds and purples). If you feel you need to adjust the sharpness, only adjust this slightly as it could cause a grainy look to your reproduction (unless that’s what you’re going for!).

Photoshop_Adusting

Step 4

Next crop your file in Photoshop at 150 DPI for Canvas at the desired size you’d like to order.  Using my iPhone 6, my original painting can easily be enlarged to a 16x20 without losing any image quality.  Lastly, after my file is cropped I like to double check the full “print size” in Photoshop, which will allow me to double check the image quality and look for any imperfections that might show up in the reprint (dust, scratches, hairs, ect.).

Reprint_vs_original_leitnerstudios

I ordered a 16x20 Solid-Faced Canvas Wrap for $27.99 and a 16x24 Solid-Faced Canvas Wrap for $31.99.  I love printing my work on Canvas because it is only printed at 150 DPI, so it works great for my iPhone!  I do prefer the “mirrored” wrap so I don’t lose any of my painting around the edges. You'll see the comparison between the original on the right with the reprint on the left.  

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Justin Leitner

Justin Leitner