How to Photograph Artwork for the OLLI Virtual Art Show Using a Smartphone: A Step-by-Step Guide

To download a printable PDF of this guide, click here.

Photography: If your art is photography, your work can be emailed as is—skip to Step Six.

3-D Artwork: If your art is sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, etc. Place any 3-D artwork on a neutral background color, or a color tone that will contrast with your 3-D artwork. Situate the artwork in indirect light and photograph it at eye level from four points—front, both sides, and back. Consider elevating the camera view to provide an above view of your work if applicable. For smaller items, zoom in to fill the camera viewer with your artwork.

2-D Artwork: Your artwork can be framed or unframed. If your artwork is framed it would be best if you remove the glass from the frame, there are no simple techniques to eliminate reflections. Low reflective glass or matte plastic will help, but the image may appear to be darker when you photograph your artwork.

Step One: Hang the artwork on a wall that has white or even better neutral background at a height that is going to allow you to photograph the artwork without kneeling or standing on a ladder. You can estimate the correct height using “eye level” your eye to determine the correct height. It is best to use indirect light, meaning light that is reflecting from a second surface or light that has been diffused by hanging a white sheet in front of the light source like a window.

Step Two: Use your smartphone camera in the photo mode, turn off your flash.

Step Three: Stand about 6 feet from the hanging artwork. Center the image either as a horizontal or vertical image within your smartphone’s viewfinder, using the zoom tool (pinching your figure to reduce the image size , spread your fingers to enlarge the image,) to fill the viewfinder with your image.

Step Four: Click the shutter button.

Step Five: Review the image, if the image is acceptable move on to your next artwork.

Photo Editing:

  • If you or your photographer want to edit your own images, depending on your smartphone and the editing mode, you can alter the geometry of the image, crop the image, lighten or darken the image as needed. There are links at the end of this document that offer tips about using the square, framing, and cropping tools. (See iPhone and Android and Google phone Editing tips below).
  • Alternatively, you can submit your image to OLLI and we will edit it here.

Step Six: When you are ready, email your images to Please send your images as jpegs. (See “More Information About Flickr & Images” below).

iPhones: When you are ready to email your artwork to OLLI, the iPhone Mail (or a whatever email program you use) MAY ask you to select an image size, please select Large, click the blue send arrow or send button.

Androids, G-Mail, Google mail, Google phones: When you are ready to email your artwork to OLLI, select your favorite email program. It MAY ask you to select an image size, if asked to select Large, press send.

To download a printable PDF of this guide, click here.

Here are some examples of photos that DON'T work:

To download a PDF of this form, click here.

When you're ready to submit your work, you can do so using this GoogleForm

The OLLI Art Show is Sponsored by the Lenox Cultural Council

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