Art Documentation

Tips and Tricks for Photographing Your Work at Home

Documentation of your artwork is an important practice and the St. Olaf Art Department is equipped with the tools necessary to appropriately document your art. High quality photographs ought to be taken promptly and regularly. Ideally, this should be done as soon as the pieces are finished and prior to an exhibition. In this way, you will have the image of your work – even if an unforeseen accident which damages your work occurs. Images are your portfolio for residencies, jobs, grants, and web publications.

Reasons to have GOOD documentation of your work:

  • Looks professional – this is your “brand”, think about how you want to represent yourself
  • Suggests you’re serious – no one wants to look at poorly lit, low resolution images
  • More control over the image quality, including accurate color
  • Can use the images to apply to shows, grants, fellowships, internships, and jobs

It is recommended that you spend some time with reputable art publications to become familiar with appropriate photographic representations of art. I suggest the following sources:

  • American Craft Magazine
  • Aperture
  • Art Forum
  • Art in America
  • Ceramic Art & Perception
  • Ceramics Monthly
  • Sculpture Magazine

How to begin

You can sign up to use the media room to document your work. If your work needs to be photographed in the gallery, be sure to contact Jane Becker Nelson, the gallery director, to get permission. Cameras and additional lighting equipment may be checked out from the media room with appropriate training. If your work is difficult to photograph, you can contact Kate Fisher ( for assistance.