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Shoot Your Print

I admit, the title of this post may be a bit misleading. Let me start by saying I do not advise anyone to drag their beloved printed work out behind the shed to put out of its misery. On the contrary, you’ve worked hard on those projects and it’s time to show them off!

It’s true, photographing your printed samples can be a daunting task. Just the mere thought of selecting the right items can make a designer start to feel faint. Soon other questions arise and before long you’re feeling downright discouraged. How will I afford a studio? Do I need top-dollar lighting equipment? I had many of these same concerns when I set out to photograph my portfolio. Soon, I turned to the sage every person seeking good advice consults… Google. Before long I came across a wonderful article by Computer Arts titled “Shoot print work for your portfolio.” By following a few of these tips I saved literally hundreds of dollars not to mention countless hours of time.

Here are a few things you might want to consider when shooting your printed pieces:

  1. Style – How do you want your photos to appear? Images shot from above provide a formal style while juxtaposed pieces can give a more avant-garde feel.
  2. Backdrop – Infinite backdrops can be purchased from your local camera store ($40 per/roll). You can also create the appearance of a wall by purchasing colored sheets of paper from an art store and taping to two adjoining surfaces (see photo above).
  3. Lighting – Borrow a basic 2-3 piece light kit or purchase one as I did for $109 at Wolf Camera ( Remember to adjust your camera’s white balance settings to match the lighting you choose.
  4. Tripod – Borrow or purchase a heavy-duty tripod. The one I purchased from Wolf Camera converts to a monopod, has clipping leg braces, level and two quick-release plates for $59 (
  5. Shoot – Create a shot list of all the work you plan to photograph. You may want to group pieces according to a low/high shot angle to keep lighting consistent. Play with your camera’s settings, tripod and lighting to create different styles for your photos.
  6. Edit – Edit photos using photo-editing software such as Photoshop. Try to color-correct your photos to maintain a uniform tone throughout your portfolio. Keep in mind that most viewers will see your entire body of work as a collection so be consistent!


One Comment

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  1. Will says:

    Great suggestions. Thanks!

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