Written materials are key to helping you attract people to your work and connect with it, hopefully leading to more sales. But having high quality images of your work for your potential clients is of course of the utmost importance. They have to see the image to consider purchasing it, let alone falling in love with it. It is imperative that you have high quality images of your work for your website, marketing materials, and to send clients and exhibition organizers.
I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to digital artwork images. Blurry images are the worst since they disregard all of the detail. Miscolored images show that the artist did not take the time to quality check the images, and they deceive the viewer because it is not truthful in appearance. The same goes for badly cropped, or uncropped images. Pixelated images on a website are not going to make a potential client purchase the work… So here are a few pointers to ensure you have what you need to make great images of your work.
- Use a digital camera with at least 10 megapixels to photograph your work, this will provide more clarity and detail.
- If you do not have a lighting system that evenly distributes illumination on the work, take your photographs in natural light – in the shade on a bright day or when it is overcast is perfect.
- Use a tripod to ensure no camera shake that causes blur.
- Crop your images to the edges of the work for square 2 dimensional pieces; if the work is not square crop a square around it with equal gaps around the edges closest to the frame of the image.
- 3 dimensional pieces can be photographed on a plain stand with a neutral color, white, or black background. Use a color that the work will stand out against.
- Color correct and level correct with a post production program! Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. will make a big difference.
- Quality check each image to ensure clarity and no blur.
- If it is not right retake it!
- Most cameras capture images at high dimensions, resize you images to 8 inches at the longest side and 300 dpi – this size is good for print materials
- Resize and save a copy at 72 dpi – useful for sending in emails to press, galleries, and clients.
- Resize and save a copy at 6 inches and 120 dpi – this should be your web size for posting on your website. Still decent clarity but not great for printing. This keeps anyone from stealing the image for any useful purposes. You may even want to add a watermark or copyright to the photo.
- Create folders for each size and title the images with your last name, title, and dpi for greater organization.
If you are not comfortable with your photography skills or do not have the tools needed, camera, lighting, photoshop, etc. it is in your best interest to hire a professional. In the long run the cost will far outweigh the loss of sales due to bad images. I offer full service image capture and post production for $65 per hour, including post-production.
Drive-Thru Gallery – a unique space resembling a carwash or storage unit just south of Roosevelt St in between 5th and 6th streets in downtown Phoenix, AZ
It is often stated that photography is an art of capture, not creation, which leads some to disregard it as a fine art altogether. Peter Brian Klein’s latest exhibition Abstractions in Design proves that capturing images of the world around us can definitely create great artwork. The show features 12 monochromatic architectural images inkjet-printed directly on brushed aluminum.
Peter Brian Klein “Denver Art Museum” – Inkjet Print on Brushed Aluminum – 32 in x 21 in
These images are not your typical architectural photographs. Klein pays primary attention to geometric patterns and iconic features of unique buildings, such as The Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, The Denver Art Museum, the United Steelworkers Building in Pittsburg, and Chase Tower in Phoenix. Klein’s focus on specific details and patterns, along with the monochromatic print quality, creates abstract geometric images that rival modern abstractionists. He removes the whole of the architecture and allows one to lose their sense of place in the geometry. Klein then grounds the images in reality with organic elements, such as trees jutting into the frame, maintaining a balance of industry and nature.
Klein’s unique perspectives of the urban environment activate the viewer by allowing them to admire the aesthetic of both the image and his subjects. He asks the viewer to participate in examining the imagery and recognizing the intimate detail of architectural forms. As a result the images awaken a connectedness to elements in our surroundings, even the buildings that many ignore daily.
In one pass through Luis Salazar’s Fugue in Dark and Light at Modified Arts in Phoenix the initial reaction from any visitor is going to be a sense of repetition, if not redundancy. The gallery is not an enormous space, but it has multiple spaces within and Salazar’s photographs of whispy nude women dancing surrounded by darkness cover nearly every inch of the gallery. At first glance the images all look very similar, even though he changes up the presentation with some long, thin prints, some tall life-size, and some small framed. A second walkthrough leads to a bit more depth, one notices shifts in the poses of the women and the different sizes and formats stand out more. In many cases this would not be positive, but in this instance it is the intent.
Salazar formulated the concept for the series about four years ago while watching numerous dance performances. The contrast of the spot-lit performers with the surrounding darkness sparked the concept of a fugue, which in music is the compositional technique of introducing a melody or phrase at beginning of a song and then repeatedly imitating it at different pitches, even with different instruments throughout. In photography terms, he sought to weave a repetitive pattern of light and dark in different aspects throughout an entire space.
As for his concept, Salazar achieved his goal and the individual images are hauntingly beautiful. The challenge is getting the point across to the audience. To the general viewer the repetition won’t deserve a second look. Honestly I almost skipped part of the show until I read the artist’s statement. I had to Google the word “fugue” because I knew it as a psychology term meaning the loss of awareness of one’s identity, but the musical definition made it click so I viewed it again with more understanding. Each photograph has its own unique nuances and they are created well but again, in one glance they appear too similar. Although a fugue obviously takes time to resonate, it likely comes much easier to the recipient in music, whereas it is more difficult visually when many will only make one pass. More challenging is the fact that the whole exhibition is essentially one piece, purchasing one of the prints is like downloading a fraction of a song from iTunes.
Images courtesy of Modified Arts copyright of the artist