How to take good photos of your work [4:04]

Taking good photos of your work is all about accurately capturing your work. How you achieve that is up to you. If you need some suggestions, the key aspects of photographing your work are:

  • Lighting
  • Composition
  • Focus

The following video by Tyler Stalman does a really good job of covering all the basics.


Good lighting is essential to taking good photos. Regardless of your camera, bad lighting gives bad photos. The best light to photograph your work is sunlight, at midday, on a cloudy day.

Lighting is a huge topic that we can’t cover here, but the basic rule is to make sure you get enough light on your subject that your photos aren’t dark, and not so much that details get washed-out. Also, keep in mind that different light sources are different colours, sunlight is more yellow and fluorescent lights are blue-ish, for example, so tweak your camera so the colours in the photos match the actual colours.

This image is too dark.
Too dark.

This image has better lighting


Make sure your work is aligned properly within your photographs. Watch out for shadows, distracting backgrounds, camera straps, fingers, etc. and be careful not to position the camera so close to the work that the lens causes the work to look curved. Also, while It’s important to get a photo of your entire work, make sure to get a few close-up shots to capture fine details.

Bad composition
Bad composition

This image has better lighting
Better composition

Good composition for details
Better for details


It’s all about the details, so make sure your photos are in focus. One of the most important elements of having your photos be in focus is to use a tripod, or to set your camera up on a flat surface to ensure the camera remains still while taking the photo. Most cameras have an auto-focus function too, but you have to give it a little bit of time to get it right.



Good and bad examples

A bad photo of a good drawing
A bad photo of a drawing.

The above photo is a prime example of a bad photo. The work is crooked and on an angle, there’s too much light on half the work, the rest of the work is obscured by shadow, and the background is very distracting. This would be very difficult for a tutor to properly evaluate.

An acceptable version of the same drawing
An acceptable version of the same drawing

This photo isn’t perfect but it’s good enough that a tutor could assess it fairly. Ideally, this photo would be cropped and tidied up in photo editing software as well before submitting, but it’s acceptable as it is.