One thing I do know from the very many images of artwork that I see on people's blogs / websites / Facebook is that lots of people do NOT know how to produce a good quality image which
- avoids photographic distortions
- loses the grey background which should be white
- shows the colour accurately.
You can scan your work or you can photograph it - but whichever approach you use you need to do your homework about how to:
- avoid common problems
- make your work look like it does in reality
One of the benefits of digital submission is that everybody and his or her spouse has asked the competition organisers how to produce a good quality image!
There's a limit to how many questions that organisers get asked before it seems like a good idea to produce a good quality advice note! So - what the very large art competitions have got really good at is producing documentation and videos showing people what to do.
So what follows is not me explaining how to photograph artwork - it's the people who run the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and the people who run the BP Portrait Award!
Royal Academy of Arts
National Portrait Gallery | BP portrait award
- How to Photograph your Work (PDF which you can download)
Eliminating grey paper which should be white
These are a couple of posts I did back in 2009 which come out for an airing every so often. They tackle the perennial problem of photography which produces grey paper. Both reference Photoshop Elements (at the time) and how to get the grey back to white.
- Correcting colour: How to stop your white paper looking grey 04 Jul 2009 How to use Levels in Photoshop Elements to tweak RGB profiles and stop white paper looking grey in drawings.
- Correcting colour: another way to stop your white paper looking grey 18 Jul 2009 Another way to use Photoshop Elements to stop white paper looking grey in drawings.
The main advantage of scanning artwork is that it gives a very even colour - but only so long as the artwork is completely flat and fits onto the platten. That's fine if your work is smaller than A4 and not if it's bigger - unless you want to invest in a good quality A3 scanner.
When scanning you need to use at least 300 dpi - and that means you need to check the scanner resolution before you use it.
More about scanning in a subsequent post.