Derwent Art Prize: How to Photograph Your Work

To enter the Derwent Art Prize 2020, all you need to do is visit, fill in the online form, and upload your images. But what if you’re not confident in photographing your drawings? Not to worry! Just keep reading for a simple guide to showcasing your work – without any fancy equipment.

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when taking pictures of your art. You do not want your piece to look distorted, the colours to come across differently in photo than they do in real life, or the white areas to appear darker than they actually are. Here are the steps you can take to prevent this from happening.

  • Find the right angle

The first thing you need to do is lay your work on a flat surface or hang it on a wall. Make sure your drawing is not skewed or leaning against something. To get the right angle and avoid creating any distortion, place your camera directly in front and in the centre of your piece – the lens should be parallel to it. If the work is glazed, remove the frame to avoid any reflection. Then, snap away. Feel free to take a few different pictures before selecting the one you think looks best.

  • Put your artwork in the best light

Prefer indirect to direct lighting. If you are going to take your photos indoors, do it during the day, close to a window, in order to get the most natural light possible. You could also try photographing your work outside when it is overcast, which provides indirect sunlight – just make sure it isn’t going to rain! Finally, avoid washing out your subject by shining too harsh of a light on it: remember to turn your camera’s flash off.

  • Show your true colours

To give the Derwent Art Prize selectors a good sense of your drawing, you will want to show its true colours. But the white areas of a photo can often appear a lot darker than they are in real life. Prevent this by color correcting your image with any photo editing software (Photos for Mac or Windows, Picasa, Photoshop, etc.). If the white parts of your work appear grey, try increasing the brightness. If they look blueish, increase the photo’s temperature or cast; and if they look yellow or red, decrease it. If all else fails, here’s a little trick: use the Facetune app’s whitening tool. It is meant to whiten teeth, but works just as well for art as it does for selfies!

To put the finishing touches, keep the focus on your drawing by cropping your photo before sending it in. Good luck!

The Derwent Art Prize 2020 is now calling for entries. For a chance to exhibit in London and Paris, plus win prizes totalling over £12,500, visit and enter before 17 February 2020.