Keep These Things in Mind When Photographing Outdoor Sculptures

For artists, professional photographers working for artists, or art journalists, knowing how to take photos of art properly is a big deal. While you can easily manipulate an indoor setting to take photos of paintings or small sculptures, it’s when you go out to take photos of outdoor art that becomes problematic.

That is why we are bringing you some of the top tips and suggestions that will ensure you take the best possible photos of outdoor sculptures or installations.

1. Look Out for the Weather

In outdoor situations, you cannot always control the lighting of your scene. Sure, you can use a couple of flashes to add some fill light but the main source of light in an outdoor setting remains the sun. And just like you should use soft and indirect lighting for indoor portrait shoots, the same should be done in the outdoors. Therefore, before going out to cover a sculpture in a park, make sure that the sky is overcast so that you don’t have to deal with the extreme contrast between highlights and shadows that the sun brings with it.

2. Frame your Shot Properly

It is important that you pick the best angle possible to capture an image of a sculpture. If it is the sculpture of a person, treat it like a person and move around it to find its most flattering angle. Use the basic framing tips for portraits to frame the subject.
If the artwork is placed on a pedestal, or any point higher than you, then it is best that you move away from it and use a telephoto lens to zoom in on it. Otherwise you’ll just end up getting a warped perspective of the artwork.

3. Remove Distractions

One of the most challenging things to do while shooting artwork outdoors is to remove background distractions from the scene. Urban settings are the worst, as you will end up with shots having a cab, a group of people, or even a pigeon ruining most of your photos. You need to be patient and try to get an angle from where the background does not seem so busy

4. Settle for Less if Conditions Force You

As mentioned before, getting rid of distractions is a very tough job in an outdoor setting. You may have to settle for photos that focus more on portions of the sculpture or installation rather than the complete thing if that is the case. You can take several photos of various parts and details of the artwork rather than one whole picture. If there is too much going on in but you still need to take a full shot, try using black and white. This way, the background may not seem too distracting in the final image.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you go out to take photos of an outdoor art piece. Remember, it is not as easy a job as it may seem so it’s better to always be prepared before heading out.