Fine art photo lesson, how to square up your shot!

Home > Artist Career Practices > How to Square up your fine art photo.

How many times have you looked at a fine art photo on a forum and thought, "man that's crooked"!  Don't let your photo be one of them.  In this photography lesson, I show you how to square up that photo using your view finder and your tripod to get that best squared shot!

When photographing your work, a couple of things are strived for.  Correct focus, exposure, lighting, and squareness.  Why, you ask?  I can just crop out the crooked part. True, but then you lose valuable data that can help keep your resolution high for later printing of your work, and your print will not be distorted.

Here's what you have when your work is properly centered in the viewfinder.

This is what a well squared up shot should look like.  An equal amount of space around your artwork.  Filling the frame as much as possible also gives you the best resolution for later printing of the work.  So pull that camera in as close as necessary to accomplish this.  More resolution, more crispness and clarity of the work.

Below, a shot that is not squared up.  After getting one side and the top or bottom as square as you can, checking the other sides shows the discrepancy. When this happens, it's easy to correct.  Move your camera in the opposite direction of the blue arrow. 

Continue to do this until you've got your picture looking like the one at the top of the page.  Get it as square as you can, then do this to check it to see if it is right.

Most tripods have several adjustments available.  We want to use an adjustment that will rock the camera body up and down.  We do not want to raise the camera up and down, but pivot on an axis so the view finder faces the sky, then the ground.  When you have it pivoted up, the picture should look like above. You will lose some of your painting in the bottom, but you are looking for equal distance gap forming on the upper corners.

When you pivot the camera down, to look at the ground, your picture should look something like this.  Again, we're looking for equal distance of the bottom two corners (gap).digit

Here, we are checking with a left to right pivot.

Then a right to left pivot.  Checking for a equal distance of gap in the side corners.

If you have what appears to be equal distance on the gaps of each corner, you can be assured you are pretty squared up to the painting.  Check your focus, bracketing, and delay timer. Then shoot your painting!

I'm hoping this fine art photo lesson will give you some insight on making a super fine art photo!

To explore more on the use of the digital camera in your work, see the Navigation Box in the upper right hand side with the "Related Art Biz Pages".

Click here to head to the top of our fine art photo lesson.

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