Tips for Better Images

Taking good pictures is easy, if you follow these tips:

Turn in the files!

Almost any image is better than no image.

no image

Avoid distracting backgrounds.

These two images have distracting backgrounds. 

Liz Painting

wire horse

This is much better.

bridge on denim

Keep everything straight!

Make sure your camera is set up directly in front of the artwork, not at an angle. Make sure the artwork is flat, not curled, crooked or wrinkled. These two images are shot at an angle.

betsy drawing


Keep it Clean!

Don't leave dirt or debris on your backdrop.

no image

Avoid glares and reflections!

Photograph your work before you frame it, not after. This will help you avoid glare...

no image

and reflections.

no image

Watch the light!

Avoid under exposure...

no image

over exposure...

no image

and uneven lighting.

no image<

Three-dimensional work may need two light sources, so the shape and texture are evident, as we see in these two examples of good lighting.

no image

Crop correctly!

Don't cut off part of the image...

no image

or leave too much space around it.

no image

Focus the camera!

Most cameras do this automatically, but check to make sure. This student didn't.

no image

Crop carefully!

Look carefully, and you'll notice the this image is a little crooked. 

no image

This is better

You may wish to crop off the very edges of the image, like this:

no image

Or include all of the work, like this:

no image

Clean up your art!

If you have dirt, scratches or spots on your work, clean it before you photograph it. This could be a nice photo if it was cleaned up first.

no image

And don't take pictures of sloppy work.

Include images for scale!

Some pictures need a reference, so we can tell how big the actual piece is, like the photo below.

no image

Combine images when necessary!

If possible, include information necessary to understand the project. This "before and after" image represents a students skill in repairing photos with photoshop. When a prospective employer sees this, they instantly know that the student knows their stuff.

no image

Without the "before" picture, it's just a picture of a cute little girl!

And this image shows that the student was working in the style of another artist.

no image

This image shows the student's progress on a piece.

no image

And this image shows the several pieces of the project in one photo.

no image

Pay attention to details!

This picture is a little dark and crooked.

no image

This is better.

no image

This is sideways! Fix it!

This is too big!

This is too small! Fix it!

If your image is really bad, don't bother trying to fix it. Just go back and shoot again. This image is beyond saving.


You might need to just include part of your project, like this screenshot of a website (instead of the whole website).


Sometimes you need  to use a format different from jpg. For instance, animations should be swf, mov or mp4.

If you follow all the advice on this page, and pay attention to all the details, you will end up with a better portfolio that shows off all of your hard work in the best possible fashion. You owe it to yourself to make the extra effort to create a truly stunning portfolio of your work.

Remember: Good work deserves good photography!