Taking photos of art

Have you tried to take pictures of artwork or pictures of other photographs without getting the good results you were hoping for?  I’d like to share some of my attempts with you. These subjects moved me in their own art form and I wanted copies to keep and look at.  If you are interested in something similar, I’ll show you some of my photos and give tips to help you in the process of capturing images.

The photo below was in the “World Press Cartoon” display in a museum in Sintra, Portugal.  They granted me permission to photograph anything in the place, as long as flash was not used.  In a case like this you must turn the flash off and it’s easy to do because all digital cameras have this as an option.

Many museums only allow photographs in certain areas. This shot was taken in the museum of the University of Florida.  Again, no flash is to be used, and they allowed me to take photos only in the carpeted areas (this includes their regular collection but not in the special exhibit areas). This challenged me to get the best use from both natural and artificial light.

This painting was on exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  I took it at a slight angle, on purpose, so that it looked like the framed art work it was. You have a choice here, as to how “real” you want the results to be.

This looks like a painting but is actually a photograph.  I cropped it so you could see a hint of the description card on the lower right. You might want to do something similar if you want it to be clear that you are shooting a subject that is not yours.

This photograph was for sale at an outdoor gallery in Portland OR.  Upon receiving permission, I was challenged to show this as a photo but also to get an image that pleased me. I included some area outside the subject to show it’s really a picture of a picture.

These last two photos were in a Press Photo exhibition in Belgium. They also were among my greatest challenges, as the lighting was dim and I did not have a tripod.  Hint:  Bring a tripod or monopod with you when doing something similar. I didn’t, but lucked out by holding the camera as steady as I could.

I hope these images will open a new dimension in your exploration of photography.  And, remember to always get permission, and keep the flash turned off.



  1. Joey says

    Interesting article Earl. I know when i have tried this, I get a glare even when i use a different mode so as not to use the flash. These were helpful hints. I suppose they could also be applied to children’s artwork.
    Thanks for the tips!

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