Documenting Sculpture

Best Practices for Documenting 3D work

Do not zoom. This will destabilize your image.

Use a tripod. *If you do not have a tripod, try to make do with finding a flat object to rest your camera on – like a table, plinth, etc. If this is not available. Turn your body into a “tripod”. Keep your legs a litter wider than hip width apart, stabilize your back against a wall if possible.

Do not use your camera’s built-in flash.

Use the highest resolution possible.

Use a neutral background. *If this is not possible, then try to make your background out of focus. This is possible if objects in the background are at a distance.

Use neutral lighting. Avoid strong shadows and hotspots (areas where light is hitting your sculpture directly).


Ensure your camera angles are straight. Grid functions in most cameras are your best friend.

Avoid camera distortion. Think about rules of foreshortening (the closer you are, the larger something appears in relation to everything else).

Try to avoid people in your image, they are very distracting.

Fill the frame with as much of your work as possible without cropping anything out of the picture. This will let you get the most detail in your shot.

Always take “detail” images of any work. This includes capturing textures and all sides of an object – this is particularly important in 3D works.

Do post-production in an editing program to ensure your images look clean and readable.

Always take responsibility for your own documentation. Either take the photos yourself, hire a photographer (make friends with photographers!), or follow through with the gallery to ensure that you like the way they are portraying your work.

What not to do:





Check out contemporary art blogs for a thorough rundown of examples!