Top 5 Tips to Photograph Artwork: Two Minute Tips with David Bergman

Top 5 Tips to Photograph Artwork: Two Minute Tips with David Bergman


So you want to know how much I love my daughter? Well when the PTA at her school was looking for a parent volunteer to design and produce the annual yearbook, I can feel everyone in the room just staring at me…. because they knew that I’m a professional photographer a,nd have published a bunch of coffee-table photo books! So I decided to step up to the challenge. For this year’s book, we’re using this artwork the kids made when studying Jackson Pollock paintings! I’ve got to shoot high quality photographs of each one, and need it to be an accurate reproduction of the original art. Let’s go through the techniques I’m using to get it done. Here are the top five things I do when photographing artwork. Thankfully these pieces haven’t been framed… but if they were behind glass, the reflections would be a nightmare. If I couldn’t take it out of the glass, then I’d have to try placing in a lot of different angles to avoid seeing the Sky, the Sun, or even myself in the glass! Nobody wants to see that. I want to evenly light every square inch of the artwork, and the easiest way to do that is by bringing it outside into the shade! I don’t want it in direct sunlight, because that would create shadows and hot spots. Open shade on a cloudy day gives me nice even light over the whole thing. I want to hang the art, or lay it, so it’s completely flat, and place the camera so the lens is exactly perpendicular to it, you know how when you look up to photograph a building, it looks like it’s leaning backwards. You don’t want that to happen with your art, so shoot right in the middle, and angle it so you’re exactly 90 degrees from the piece. I’m going to rattle off a bunch of my camera settings, so see if you can stay with me! I’m shooting at a 100 ISO for best ]image quality. My aperture’s f/8 because most lenses are the sharpest right around there. I’m shooting zoomed in to around 50 mm to fill the frame… and staying away from the wide-angle range to avoid distortion. I always shoot raw so I’m just shooting on auto white balance. I’m going to take a picture of a gray card, so I can click on it in my editing software later, and apply that to all my images for the most accurate color. If you’re doing this and not shooting raw, then make sure you pick the correct white balance for your image, like cloudy, or shade in this case. Lastly, the camera doesn’t have an on-camera flash, but if it did, I would turn it off! That flash won’t give me even light all the way across the image, any movement will make my images blurry. So I’m going to use a tripod. I can set the timer or use a cable release, so I don’t even have to touch the camera at all, to take a picture. This will give me rock-solid sharp images. So listen… I do a new video every Monday at 11 o’clock Eastern! So click that little subscribe button down there, and you won’t miss any of my Two-Minute Tips or any of the other great videos from the other free photo shows at AdoramaTV. My daughter graduates from this Middle School in a few months, so my tenure here is almost over. Sorry to her future high school, but my yearbook editing days are done! Bergman out!

Dereck Turner

20 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips to Photograph Artwork: Two Minute Tips with David Bergman

  1. Explore with Akshay says:

    ❤❤❤❤ who else love adorama like I do ❤❤❤❤

  2. Fabio Gomes de Carvalho Monteiro says:

    Perfect advice. I use 85mm when is possible to go further back

  3. Reena Rasoi says:

    Very nice friend please subscribe n share my channel also thank you

  4. Alexandre Anonimous says:

    Perfect shot

  5. Ben Peterson says:

    Super good video, follow this and the result will get perfect. I only have one thing I think could make the picture a slightly more sharp. Set the camera in mirror up mode, even if you use cable release. First touch let the mirror move, wait 2 sec for the camera to stop moving, and then take the picture.
    I have been following all the tips You have given, and leard a lot. This is the first time I have something that I think could be better.

  6. Charles Welch says:

    Great tips.

  7. Henry Juliao says:

    love the videos. The background music is a bit loud and distracting.

  8. Jakub Wąsowicz says:

    Very like Your Two Minute Tips .. keep going David :).

  9. simianinc says:

    When artwork is photograph for catalogues, do they light it? If so, how do they get even light?

  10. Béla Szabó says:

    Congratulations! also to the pictures! 🙂

  11. tskcthulhu says:

    poor guy, still using a canon at the age of mirrorless such as Sony or Fujifilm…

  12. Peter Robinson says:

    Hi David, enjoying your 2 minute tips, great information and thous 2 minutes tips do sink in to my 75 year old skul.
    Cheers……….Peter.

  13. Decimo Maximo Meridio says:

    I use a polarized filter when took photographs in a museum when the object it’s behind a glass….

  14. Gaaza G says:

    what Manfrotto head are you using??

  15. yeah alif says:

    Thanks bergman

  16. FLOODOFSINS says:

    I was introduced to the darkroom back in the late 80s when I was in high school. Kids today don't even know what that word means 😂

  17. Martin Prick says:

    Perhaps you could also switch off your AF en IS, because you 're working with a tripod…

  18. Paul Bernardi says:

    Love all of your stuff David. Thanks for sharing.

  19. BassPlayerAvailable says:

    1:57 If you've taken a picture of the grey card why not use it AS the custom white balance in camera and then you wont need to adjust the white balance in post later?

  20. Cindy Fornataro says:

    Can you suggest a good sturdy tripod that is not too pricey?

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