Taking pictures at an art exhibition can be tricky, especially if you are not very experienced with taking photographs of such exhibitions. There is so much going on around the artwork that it may be hard to get stills without having to repeat processes or have your picture taken by someone else.
There will almost certainly be many people attending the show who would like to take some photos as well, which could mean being asked for permission to use their image. Some artists even ask attendees to share their visit online using social media or apps to help promote their work!
Artists usually appreciate it when visitors take time out to look closely at their paintings and sculptures, so don’t be shy to spend time studying pieces. Try and capture different elements of each piece – color, line, shape, texture etc. Take several shots before moving on to the next one.
When photographing large groups there should be a little space between individuals to avoid looking crowded. Use neutral backgrounds instead of ones with strong colors or textures to keep things from getting too busy.
Prepare your lighting setup
When setting up for art photography, one of the first things you will need is proper light! There are two main types of lights that pro photogs use in art exhibitions- softboxes and gels.
A softbox is basically a box with plastic sheets as sides. The artist can position the softbox anywhere behind their artwork or next to it to create different looks. Because the plastic sheeting acts like coverings for the light source, the color temperature of the light is more neutral than a standard lamp.
Gel slides are another very popular tool for creating beautiful pictures. Gel filters gel around the light source to give special effects such as glow, frost, and texture. Technically speaking, both tools are not considered light sources because they mix with natural sunlight but they are still important parts of any professional photographer’s kit.
You do not have to own all of these lights but it would be great to have them if you are planning on taking lots of artistic pictures.
Plan your photo session
After you have selected a location for your exhibition, it is time to plan your photoshoot! The first thing to do is determine how many people will be attending the show. If there are only one or two of you, then you can simply take as many photos as everyone wants.
For more than two people, however, things get a little bit trickier. You need to make sure that all participants are in agreement with having their pictures taken before agreeing to pay for a professional photoshoot.
Some people feel uncomfortable being photographed directly by the other person, while others just want to keep chatting after the event has ended.
Dress the part
When it comes to art exhibitions, there are several different ways to shoot pictures of the exhibition. Some artists and galleries choose to have casual open photo opps so visitors can come along if they want, while others ask that you dress up for some of the photos.
Whether you’re asked to dress formally or casually, make sure you are dressed in layers so you can take off things and add more depending on the weather! (We suggest investing in good quality clothing so you don’t have to do this too often.)
When photographing exhibits with lots of textures like canvasses, glass cases, and marble, lay down some plastic sheeting or other protective material to keep the paint from scratching or breaking. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work!
Try using natural light when possible, as most artist studios are not very large and having natural sunlight is better than using a heavy lighting kit.
Tell your friends
After all, going to an art exhibition is not only about looking at beautiful things; it’s also about being inspired by what you see and learning something new.
If you are too busy to go around taking pictures of everything you look at, don’t worry! There are many ways to get some great photographs without having to take more than one or two good ones.
Some people start off by talking with other visitors or the curator to find out more about the artwork or the artist. They may be willing to talk about their personal life or share their experiences related to the work.
You can ask if anyone has anything they would like to add or if there is anything else you should know before visiting the show – but make sure it isn’t in relation to the artwork!
Another way to gain some great photos is to use a tripod. You can take lots of nice close-up shots or wider group photos which include most of the exhibit.
Bring your own photography equipment
Even if you do not have professional grade photography gear, there is nothing wrong with bringing your own camera, lens, or lighting device to play. You should definitely feel free to use what you have!
Many art exhibitions offer online galleries where you can view and/or download the photographs that were taken during the event. By doing this, you will be able to see how their settings influenced the photos and learn from it.
Overall, investing in some basic photography equipment is a good way to start exploring creativity as a photographer.
Try not to be a jerk
As with any type of artistic expression, there are different styles you can use to capture your favorite artists work. Some people adopt very formal and professional settings, while others prefer more casual portraits or creative pictures that tell their own story.
The main difference is whether you aim to inspire admiration for the artist’s craft or if you want to see some crazy side of them.
If you strive to bring out the best in each other, then we have no idea what kind of art you will create together!
As photographers, we need to remember our mission is to enhance the beauty of life through the power of creativity and media. While this may mean capturing a candid moment of someone laughing, it can also include telling a story with your photographs.
When trying to meet new people, how about focusing on creating meaningful interactions rather than just taking lots of photos? If you notice someone looking particularly beautiful or interesting, take time to admire their style and let them know by saying hello and complimenting their look.
Ask for permission
Before you start taking pictures, you have to ask permission! This is very important because not asking could result in getting kicked out of the exhibition or having your photo rights denied. Many times, curators will allow you to photograph the exhibit as long as you do not use too many photos or take too many pictures.
They may even ask you to edit some of the photographs down or redo them later. When asked if there are any additional pictures available, make sure to say yes so people do not assume you just did not look at the show.
By saying “yes” to this, it helps prevent anyone from being offended by your presence and the possible copyright infringement.
Charge what the artist wants
As mentioned before, taking photographs at an art exhibition is not free! This can be expensive if you are paying for the show or buying prints from the exhibit. Some artists ask for no fees at all for them.
Artists depend heavily on selling their work through online sources and having good pictures of their works helps this process. It is your responsibility as a photographer to make sure that the artist is compensated well for their time.
Some ways to do this include telling the artist that you will only photograph one section of the exhibit or use neutral backgrounds, both of which help keep the cost down.
Alternatively, some sites have a pay-what-you-want policy where people can purchase sets amount packages. Make sure to research this ahead of time though so you know what to expect!
General tips: try finding out who the main photographers/vendors in the area are and see if they offer discounts or rewards to promote business.