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How to Photograph Drawings

Lofty experts depend on our sellers to supply clear photographs of their artwork so that we can accurately determine the value, create an appealing listing for sale, and ensure that Lofty will get the best price possible for the consignment. This guide will give you the tools to take quality photographs of the drawing you own.

If your drawing is framed under glass, it is best to remove the artwork from the frame before taking photographs because glare on the glass can cause distortion. 


Take your drawing to an area with good natural light, and make sure there are no shadows on the surface. Examples include: outdoors on an overcast day or a room with strong natural indirect light. Don’t place a work in direct sunlight to photograph it because the bright light can distort the colors.

If you do not have access to natural light, take two light sources with the same wattage bulb and place one to the right and left of your drawing, so that they illuminate the work evenly from each side.

If your drawing is framed under glass, make sure that there is no direct light bouncing off the surface of the glass, causing distortion. You may need to photograph the work at a slight angle to avoid this. Do not use a flash.

Artwork Position

It is best to hang your artwork on a blank wall, or use an easel if you have one available. You can also place your print upright on a firm sofa, or lean it against a wall. Make sure the work is as upright as possible. If your drawing is unframed, lay it carefully on a clean, dry surface, such as a freshly made bed or clean carpet.

Camera Position

Make sure the entire drawing is in the frame, including corners and sheet edges. Hold the camera “straight on,” parallel to the center of the artwork. Make sure you don’t tilt the camera or photograph the work at an angle.

Our experts need seven photographs of each print:

  1. Image of entire front  
    Make sure nothing is cut out of the photograph.
  2. Images of the signature, date, and any other writing on the work
  3. Close-up images of interesting, detailed, or beautiful areas
  4. Angled images illustrating the surface texture
    Position the camera so that the light falls across the surface and emphasizes the texture.
  5. Close-up images of any surface dirt, repairs, tears, or creases
    If condition issues are not disclosed, a buyer can return the work. 
  6. An image of the entire back
    Make sure to include the entire sheet of paper in the photograph. 
  7. A close-up image of any labels, stamps, or writing