How to Stage Art for Photos: Advice from a Memphis Art Photographer

I have to admit, I’ve learned a lot from working with artists like Meghean Warner. Whether the artist hits the nail on the head right away or I tweak the scene with a photographic eye, I’d say we’ve gotten some pretty well-staged shots during my Memphis art photo sessions. Here are my tips to do it yourself, or a guidebook for us to work from together if you’re considering having me take photos of your art (which I’d love to, of course!).   

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Create some depth

Complement your work with some statement candlesticks, an angled chair or something that just grazes a side, like a plant, a lamp or a globe.

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Leave it where it is

Nothing says “original work of art” like art that’s still sitting on an easel or atop a colorful paint-smudged dropcloth

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“A little to the right…”

Believe it or not, your work doesn’t have to be centered within the photo. In fact, it creates a little intrigue if it’s not.

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To the window…to the wall!

White walls are my personal favorite because they’ll help your painting remain true to color and they really make your work pop. Textured is good too, like beadboard, shiplap, or exposed brick, to give the background a little something and lead your eye to the painting.

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Frame it

Neutral frames like white and silver can really make a piece of pop. Just make sure to mention in your product listing whether it comes with the frame or not :) Been there, done that on my Etsy shop. We learn a lot from our customers’ perspective!

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Then ditch the frame sometimes

I have tons of these little hangers for my prints around the house. There’s no need to worry about exact frame dimensions if you have a few of these guys (or if you borrow mine while we shoot!)

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Put it on the floor…seriously

Provided it’s clean, propping a painting along the baseboard and creating a little shadow intrigue can be just the casual staging you’re looking for.