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Creatively Showing Scale in Documenting Your Artwork

Rebecca working on a painting


The work is done, finishing touches are complete, and you are happy with your new piece of art. Documenting artwork is the last thing on the list. Whether you hire a photographer or photograph the work yourself this is often a last step in a long process and the photos can be pretty straight forward - hmmm...maybe even a little bit boring. We artists aren't to blame - our creative juices tend to need time to replenish, but here are a few things to consider for additional photos you might take while documenting future work.


First, there's me in the photo above working through the end stages of a new and very large painting. This photo was taken before the work was done because I wanted to show the scale of the work which simply won't immediately be apparent in a photo of the painting alone. Also I decided to take a photo while I was working so people could get a sense of my process.

Another trend in documenting artwork is pictured in the photo below. In this type of photo the artist holds the painting in front of him. You immediately have a sense of how big this piece is and if you have wall space above the couch etcetera. Getting a sense of scale is really good for your clients.

man holding a picture of giraffes


Another little couple of tips (no pun intended). If your work is small it's great to take a few extra photos that will show this attribute. In the two photos below are a couple of my newer miniature iceberg paintings. I had photographed them well but I noticed that they got a much better reation in person, people could understand the texture and thickness of the paper and they were really drawn into the detail of the tiny artworks. 


I sent one of these in the mail to Texas and when the recipient received it she posted a photo like below - holding the painting in her hand. My mind was blown...what a perfect way to show the scale of these super cute miniature paintings!

small painting in a hand


The second miniature-painting-photo idea below came from a studio visitor and close friend who suggested that I could just put pencil in the shot. The idea is that everyone knows how big a pencil is and therefore they will understand what size this work is.

small painting beside a pencil

Image source [1]
Image source [2]

About the author

Artist in residence Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca Chaperon is our Artist-in-Residence

With a compulsion to create unique visual stories, her paintings often follow the thread of a heroine's misadventures through a surreal landscape.

She's had the pleasure of teaching at Langara College and given community workshops on painting techniques with an emphasis on watercolour, oil and acrylic. She is a board member at the Grunt gallery.

View her online portfolio

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