Photographing Your Paintings | ROBERT JOYNER | Skillshare

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Photographing Your Paintings

teacher avatar ROBERT JOYNER, Make Art Fun

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. How To Use The Platform

    • 3. Photographing Your Art

    • 4. Protect & Shrink Wrapping

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About This Class

This class will teach you how I photograph my artwork in order to obtain the best possible digital images for websites, blogs and prints. This proven method will help you better understand why it's important to use natural light and just a few supplies to get crisp images. I will also cover how I store works on paper to prevent damage. Often artists create beautiful art but ruin it over time simply because they do not understand how to protect it from bending & smudging.

Who Is This Class for?

  • Anyone that wants to take better photos of their art
  • Is, or wants to sell prints & other reproductions
  • Needs a better system for storing and protecting works on paper
  • One that understands how important quality images over the long haul

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Enroll today and start taking better images and care of your creations.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image


Make Art Fun



I'm a full-time, self-taught artist from Goochland, Virginia. I specialize in creating loose watercolor, acrylic and mixed media paintings.

I'm a happy husband, and father of three kids that keep me busy when not slinging paint :)

I've connected with 11K SkillShare students, and teach many others at my personal teaching hub.


Kentucky Derby Carnival Cruise Lines 555 Steak House CBS National Baseball Museum To name a few...


Visit my personal website to view & purchase available art 


Watercolor Fanatic - founded in January 2022 with one goal in mind; to support and help beginners overcome the many hurdles of learning wate... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Robert Joiner. In this class, I will teach you how to properly photograph your artwork. This is a necessary task if you have a website of blawg, if you want to document your part or simply would like to sell quality Prince, I will cover a few mistakes artists typically made and then show you a tried and true method that I use every week Photograph. Now you don't need thousands of dollars of equipment to do this with a decent point and shoot camera. You can certainly do the exact same thing. I would demonstrate in this class. I will also cover a few other materials I used that will help me with my job. And then I will share a bonus video of how I store my works on paper. This is also important because we don't want to create the art and then simply throw it on a shelf stacked one on top of each other. Instead, we want to take care of it. Take pride in what we do, so storing it properly as part of that and I will show you a method I use that keeps my artwork in pristine condition. So it looks just as good that day I photographed it as it does not sell it to a new. So this is a short but very informative class. No benefit you and it will enable you to take quality photos of your payments. So great to get started on a roll today. And I hope to see you on the inside again. I'm Robert Joyner. I love the loose and I love it. Take quality images of see you on the inside. 2. How To Use The Platform: In this video, I just wanted to go over the Skillshare platform. I know some of you know how to use it, but I know there are many others that simply don't understand how to create a project. How to add more photos, text, and things like that. What I will do now is pull up one of my classes on Skillshare. This may not be the class you are learning, but it does have everything we need to cover what I wanted to share with you in this video. This is my watercolor workout basics and beyond class. And you've got the main video here. Obviously. If you wanted to make that video bigger, you can click that and the top right hand corner, and that will enlarge the video if you want to reduce that size again, come up here to the top right-hand corner, click it. And that's going to bring up your navigation menu on the right-hand side. Now if I hover over the video with my mouse down here on the lower left, you have play speed. For some reason you wanted to slow things down or speed things up. You can always change the speed. Keep in mind if you do change, it just makes sure you go back and set it to normal if you want to, in fact, see at a normal speed, you can also rewind things 15 seconds. If you're watching something you wanted to see what happened within 15 seconds together, you can click that and then I'll take you back. And now 1515 second increments. You can click it three or four times and go back 45 seconds a minute, whatever you want to do. If you want to make a note of the video, you can click this little pen That's going to bring up your note. And that's a good way to remind yourself if something interesting happen there. And you just wanted to sort of jot something down that sort of clicked in your mind. This is your volume. So if it's CBC, this slash like I have now lets you need to unmute it so you're not going to be able to see the sound. If I click that now, I can now hear the video if it were playing, this would be subtitles. So if you wanted to have a subtitle and the various languages here, you can do that. You may not like having subtitles. You can put subtitles off on the top of that. So if you don't want to see them, That's how you get rid of them. Again, we can go full screen with that feature in the lower right-hand corner. So if you wanted to see this and this largest possible resolution, that is going to be the option to do it. Okay, So again, that's that one. So that tells you a little bit about how to navigate some of the options on the video. Over here on the right. So long as you're in this mode, we can scroll down and see the different videos. All videos that you have watched all the way through should have a checkmark. If you want to again, get rid of that, you use this button in the top right-hand corner, you can get rid of it. And then here we see it. Now down here, we have some tabs. We have the About tab. So that's going to be the class description that I added. I will often add other classes that you may be interested in. So throughout the course, I may say if you want to learn more about how to plan watercolor art, be shorter, checkout the link in the class description, and that's gonna be right here in the About tab. So if we scroll down, we can see all of these are links to different classes I have. So that's a little bit about the about page. Reviews are where you can see how awesome reviews that the students left on the class. Here, our discussions, discussions are very important because that's how I'm going to notify you about each new lesson of when they're available. You will see, if you scroll down, you'll see discussions, you'll see where there's some different things going on. This is important too. So if you have questions about the class or a lesson you watched, then you can use this discussions to get in touch with me and I'll try to respond to you as soon as possible. You can also share links and the discussions too. So if you have something you want to show me, you can always link it up and I'll be able to see it. Here. You see I can start a conversation, I can ask a question up and share project and so on. Speaking up projects, if I go right here, this tells you a little bit about the project. So here you'll see each lesson has a project well almost, but the point is to get involved and started doing the demos and projects shared in this class. And here you can scroll down and see all the students that are posting projects that there's one do you want to explore? You can click on that and just see what an awesome job the students are doing, getting these different projects and things done. Of course, you can comment on these two. So over here on the right-hand side, you can click on that. You can share a little feedbacks and encouragement, whatever you want to do. If you look at my project right here, you're going to see that I've got a detailed breakdown of all my lessons here. So each time I post new lessons in a class or a demo, I always break it down and give you a really good description of what's going on. Now you may want to create a project. Now, since I already have one, are you going to see that I don't have the option to make another one. But here is a class that I don't have a project. You will see this green button on the right-hand side. To create a project, all you have to do is click on that. And that's going to bring up your project option. Now the first thing you'll see is a cover image. If you want to add a cover image, just click on that and then navigate to your image. So I'll just select one here. So I'll select this one. And then that's going to upload the image. Once it's uploaded. I have the option here on this slider right there to enlarge it and then sort of move it around, however I want that to be seen. And once it's done, click Submit. Again, this is just the cover image. You can go ahead and add a title and I'll say, awesome class by Robert. If I can spell that right, that would certainly help. Description. Hey, took a three-week class and here's what I did. Now if I hit Enter, That's going to bring the cursor down here below. And then I can add an image. You see down here, you can see, you can have three options to add more content. So if I click on image, I can add another image, so I can click on that and then you have to give it a second. And then that's going to upload the image. Now I can click Enter and you see I can write more content. I'm like, This is my cool fish painting. Now, if I wanted to add a video or link and maybe you're like, Hey, did you happen to see this picture, whatever. You can double-click on a word and then you have a link option here, and you can paste the link in there. Just make sure you hit the Check button to make it active. And now I can hit enter again and then add more images. That's how you can make your project. If you don't want anyone to see your project, you can click this button here to make it private. But once you're done, very, very important, scroll back to the top and hit Publish. And as soon as you publish your project, that's going to be visible for everyone to see. So that's publishing right now. I'm just going to give it a moment, alright, and then there it is, right there. So I just added my projects. So let's say you want to edit your project, you click on that again. And now you come up here to the top right-hand corner. You can click Edit, and now you can scroll down. Make sure you put the cursor where you want it. So if I want the next image or the next video or whatever to be below the fish. I can come down here and click on the end of the sentence, hit Enter. And now again, pull in my images or wherever it is that I want to do. Again, make sure you hit published when you're done. And then that's going to save it. You just have to be patient and let Skill Share save it. Another thing you may want to do is share your project on social media. So you have this Copy Project link. You can copy that and share that wherever you wish. Over here on the right-hand side, you can hard thing. So if someone did a project that you really like, you can give it a heart. You can share a comment and say, those fish are amazing, and then hit posts and that's going to share your comments with whoever it is you're talking about. So again, just good stuff to know. And I think if you learn how to use the projects is very useful. And teachers can often see them and hopefully they do and they can give you some feedback on what you're doing. The last thing I want to share with you is right here under the again, we've got about reviews, discussions, and then project and resources. These resources are downloadable. If the class has images, resource images, whatever the case may be, you can click on the link and that's going to download it to your device. So I hope this video helps you out and that you understand a little bit more about how to navigate the Skillshare platform. And then of course, the courses that are taught there. 3. Photographing Your Art: Now I want to talk about photographing your artwork to do this. I have a DSLR. This camera is a Sony a 6000. So it will shoot quality video, which I'm using it to do so Right now it takes great images. Two of my artwork Now the process I use is I go outside. Yes, I have studio lights, film and things like that. But it just doesn't do the same trick and job as Mother Nature. So I like to use direct sahn right on my paintings. Now the equipment I use is just This is just a standard tripod. This is what I connect my camera too. Of course, this extends out on all that stuff but this is a really lightweight on tripod to take outside with me do not have a piece of foam core on this foam core is actually about 24 by 32. Now I paint on paper a lot, so I won't be able to capture a full sheet of paper. And so that particular size works well for me because what I do with this is I wrap it and crushed velvet. This is just cheap, great crushed velvet. I bought it on eBay for maybe eight or $10 is pretty large. I haven't forwarded up here. And what I do is I take this, not drape it over the foam core. Okay? Now, what the crushed velvet will do is it will absorb ah, lot of the glare that you normally get when you're photographing your art outside and direct sunlight. And then apart from that, I do have, you know, a little portable easily here that take outside with me and just full with down is pretty easy and lightweight take back and forth. But I would use that. They put my piece of foam core gator board down crushed velvet, and then I use a little bit tape to put on back of the artwork. Now, whatever you take photos of your artwork, you want to get the largest file possible. And one of the common errors I've seen artists make when they're photograph in their work, is they They tend to take, like, a portrait layout painting. So paying that's tall and not is why, and they keep their camera and a normal photo taking position. Okay, so basically what you're doing, you're losing all of this, the pixels that you could have had, what you want to do with portrait size layouts, his turn them sideways, and then that way we photograph it. You're getting a much larger file size. You don't have the crop as much as many pixels off of it. So the idea is, you want the largest file size possible so that if you do sell prints or reproduce your art for books or whatever, you can print a larger file. So instead of printing this a 10 by 12 for example, you could print a 22 by 30 or 30 but 24 about 30. And it's nice to have that flexibility. And it only takes you understanding that make sure all of your work has turned landscape. So the pieces that are created and landscape well, that's fine. You're not gonna have any problems. But what I do is I just keep my camera set up in landscape mode. So normal photo taking position. I don't try to twist it back and forth. I just take my artwork and turn it so that I'm getting the maximum file size. Okay, ideally, you want to get up to the image close enough so that you don't have to crop a lot off. So if you try to fill your view finder with your art and maybe have a little bit of excess on the edge, and that normally works pretty good now, if you think this is a hassle and this, just look at the results. One is photographed indoors using the overhead standard yellow light that most rooms have and the other is photographed outdoors, using the method that I prefer. Now, if you can't see the difference than than indoors, maybe fine for you. But I can tell you there's a night and day difference for me, and I think proper photos will go a long way and will certainly help you not only display your art properly, but to sell prints and even originals if that's something you dio. But that assumes his photograph. I immediately ended my images, which I will talk about and next week's of Webinar and make sure the files look good. And then once I know the files look good and the images look good, they're not can move to the next phase, which is protecting my art and storing it so that I don't create smudges, that the paintings and the paper doesn't get Bent and Quinn Brickell because that's a big, big problem with many artists as they create works on paper and stuff, and then they just stack them on top of each other, and over time they get moved around and you're gonna have a mess. And this beautiful work that you've done is no longer as crisp and clean as it used to be on. And then the next part of this webinar I'm going to share with you how I store my artwork, how I protect it from getting damaged. OK, I hope you enjoy this section here about photographing your artwork and that it helped you with a few tips and ideas on how you can improve your photos. 4. Protect & Shrink Wrapping: Okay, So what I have here is a piece of standard foam core and so original art. This particular piece has a little bit of Cray on. And one thing I love about crayon is it doesn't really smudge that easily. So you want the worry much about it. Now I like to leave about an inch, 3/4 of an inch. Ah, border around the artwork. I do this because when it shipped, it tends to get the edges or something like that could get bet. And this gives me a little bit of leave way. Okay, So what I'll do is all marked the top edge and then mark the bottom edge and the sides are pretty good that this really doesn't need to be cut. I would then use a mat cutter to cut it on the mark, so I will line that up. And then this is my Matt cutter here because this one there's not much above the mark. The mat cutters come with the little guy, slide that in and then used the guide to basically lined up until I get my mark. It doesn't have to be perfect. The main thing is, I want that mark to show when I cut it on. That should do it. Now. I should have a nice foam piece of foam court here that size perfectly for this painting. Now we will shrink wrap. All right. This is my street rapper. I've had it since about 2001. I have had zero issues with it. Very, very reliable. Very useful When I honestly couldn't run my business without it. This is a roll of shrink wrap. It's 36 inches wide, so it can handle pretty large full sheets of paper. And this is, ah, sturdy on plastic. They may make really thin IQ economies style plastic shrink wrap, but it tears easily is really hard to work with us a. Spend the extra money, try to get quality shrink wrap, and it will benefit you. Now, the shrink wrap is basically two sided. So there are basically two top and bottom here for the shrink wrap. And then that slides in between this bar so that creates a little pocket to slide. Aren't into Well, where do we just show you? A little technique? I used to shrink graph. That worked really well. I'm sure they're better what? He's to do it. But this works good for me now. Another thing that's nice about the shrink wrap shriek rapper and I think all of them are this way. If you don't really have to warm him up or anything, you just plug a men and they're ready to go. So what I'll do is I'll create Just get a nice, clean cut seemed so. This is basically like a nine iron or something, and I'm pressing it down and then that's going to give me a nice street sealed edge. Now hold this out on then slide my artwork in the past. If you're trying to save on plastic, always think about trying. You don't leave a lot of excess. So if I were to flip this painting long wise than I would have a lot more wasted shrink wrapped. So what I like to do is just always consider how much is being wasted in the waste as Lisa Mount, as as I can now is pretty tight and in terms off its nicest looks. I've got much my foam core, the edge of it line right up to this little pad right here which is basically where this iron will go, and and then it'll be It'll be that right there, so it's gonna cut it. So I'm gonna hold that down and then give it maybe two seconds that could slowly pull away from the top. You see, that creates a nice seal. Etch. Now we'll do the same thing in the bottom because the bottom is open now holder right up to the edge. Press down, then slot lightly. Pull away from that iron, and now that gives me a sealed package. But you can see still very loops. So what I'll do is auction kind of ship detaining around two. It's pretty much centred, so I have the heat gun that came with the unit here, and it just plugs right into the unit. There's a There's a little receptacle, therefore, that plugs, and it has a high and loose which there. So that's low and you crank it up high. It really just depends on your experience. If you go high, then you want to make sure you know how to work this heat gun so that you don't create a lot of holes in the plastic. Another little thing here is that has is the ability to adjust the heat so you can rotate it back and four toe low heat or turn it out toe high. Typically, like Mom pretty high. I'm very abuse these quite a bit. I'm comfortable with that Senate now. What I do first is I try to line line the painting up to where it's got an equal amount of space and border on high, and now I'm gonna work it in a circle. Told that that rap starts to shrink a little bit, it's starting to pull in just a little bit in the center. Now I'll flip it over back to high, work the center again, and now I'm gonna go to the edges, start pulling the edges. You know you got a pretty good what you get all the wrinkles and the buckles out of the plastic. Now flip it back around and then look the same base deep in this dry air, moving the whole time. The last thing you want to do with Holder in one place, because that's going to melt the plastic. You end up with a lot of holes, so that's that's pretty good so that's a shrink wrapped and occasionally like this. We probably don't know if you can see it on the camera, but there's still a little air inside this. So whenever I seal it, there's always just a touch of air that gets caught and the painting inside. So I like to do it. Just put a little hole right there, right on the corner, so away from the painting. Then all that loose air will filter out, and I just look at the painting, make sure that there's no wrinkles. And then there you go. So now I have a really good ah shrink trick rat piece of artwork. I can store it like this and, of course, is great for shipping. So now I can wrap this in cardboard and it had and has received by the client, and they can handle it while they're having it framed or whatever. But this is a really good way to store it. And then, of course, a great tool and technique to use to store your works on paper