As someone who publishes photos of artwork in a magazine shares artwork across social media, I look at tons of pictures every day.

Those that attract my attention are photos where the artists took their time to make the artwork the center of the picture. By that, I mean there are no distractions in the image. Instead, the artwork is the main subject, the object of the photograph. 

Taking pictures of your artwork with a cell phone is fine as most cell phones cameras are fantastic. And so that is what this article will focus on.

Want to make more money as an artist? Want to get more recognition for your artwork? Then start by taking great pictures of your artwork. This will show you as a professional. And that should be important to you, even if creating art is just a hobby. If your photo is cluttered with objects other than your artwork, it shows you ignore attention to detail. 

You read posts all the time by artists complaining about not making enough money. But then, you look at the photos they have posted, and they are of inferior quality. They were cluttered with objects other than their artwork, out of focus, poor lighting. 

Take fantastic photos of your artwork, get published in peer magazines, and use that fact in your marketing. 

#1 – Research how to best use your phone camera. Just Google your phone model, and lots of tips on taking great pictures with your phone will come up. 

#2 – Choose where you take the pictures wisely. “Very few smartphones can produce excellent indoor shots due to their small sensors. As such, it’s best to take photos outdoors in the proper lighting conditions to get better results. Lighting determines the brightness and darkness and mood, tone, and atmosphere of the photo. Therefore, try and use natural light when taking pictures on a smartphone.” *From The School Of Photography website.

#3 – No other objects in your picture, just the artwork.

#4 – Turn on the GRID on your photo. It will help you frame and compose your photograph. “In iOS, visit Settings and select Camera. From there, enable “Grid” to deploy a rule-of-thirds overlay in the Camera app. That grid will help you better compose your image and keep your shot parallel with any vertical or horizontal lines in your shot. On Android devices, visit Settings > Apps > Camera, and select “Grid Lines” to choose between a rule-of-thirds overlay or a square overlay for perfectly framed Instagram images.

That framing is one part of composing the image itself — and so is making sure you’re not capturing any unwanted subjects while you shoot.” *From Time Magazine.

#5 – Do not use the ZOOM function on your camera’s photo. This does not function as a full-blown camera zoom does. Instead, the ZOOM on your phone crops and resizes your photograph. Digital zoom will not only yield a grainy image, but it will also reduce the resolution of the overall photo and exacerbate any vibrations from your hands, leaving you with an inferior representation of your art.

#6 – Use HDR – “HDR mode stands for High Dynamic Range, and it is increasingly common on many smartphones. It adds detail from the dark and light areas to provide better-balanced exposure. In other words, it will stop the sky from being too bright, or the ground being too dark and suits landscape photography. If there’s a big difference between the lightest and darkest parts of your scene, using the camera phone’s HDR function, it’s a good option. ” * from

#7 – Steady Yourself, Your Camera – “Sure, a steady hand is always better than a shaky one, but neither can match the tripod’s versatility when it comes to putting your spin on your photos.” *from Time Magazine

#8 – Back to learning how best to use your particular phone camera model. Learn to use the built-in editing tools.

I hope you found this helpful, and I look forward to publishing your artwork in the magazine and sharing it on social media.

Don Johnson


Cell phone camera grid

Wrong picture

Not a good picture for publication.

right picture

This is a picture fit to publish. Not clutter around it the helmet is the main focus of the picture.