HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR LETTERING ARTWORK – STEP-BY-STEP

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily
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welcome back!

The way you present your hand lettering today is much more than just taking a quick shot and posting it online.

In the past 5 years hand lettering has drastically increased as a worldwide trend, and in order to stand out from the crowd it takes a bit of work 🙂

Lucky for you we have partnered up with Arturo (a.k.a. argoos.letters) who is a true expert when it comes to presenting his hand lettering artwork! 

Arturo will guide you through a step-by-step process which will bring your presentation game to a whole new level!

Without further ado, we are shifting the spotlight to the man it self! 

 Enjoy 🙂

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How to take photos of your lettering - lettering daily

HOW TO PRESENT YOUR HAND LETTERING

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Hello World!

​I am happy to see all your happy faces 😀 my name is Arturo, I am a professional graphic designer born in Peru and currently located in Germany. In October 2016, after a lot of procrastination,

I created my Instagram account to give up to a weakness of mine, Lettering and Brush Script. The account was created to track my progress since I was very well aware of lettering, but I had never had a brush pen (Crayola Marker) in my hands.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

A few weeks in, I decided to bring my other passions into the mix, photography and décor, and this is how my Instagram project begun, a seamless, ongoing, lettering flatlay. After months of practice, I have sharpened more my photography skills and today I am here to share some of my knowledge with you!

Let’s start!

You will need

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

1. The camera 

For starters, I do personally like better the look that I get from DSLRs Cams photos, but the reality is that the best camera is the one you have in your hands, if you have a DSLR, excellent! Use it. 

This time, to be as universal as possible, I will use my smartphone to take all my photos (iPhone 6 Plus) nowadays smartphones have great cameras capabilities, if you have a relatively modern smartphone; than we are all set to take great images. Now, let us talk first about a few basics:

2. Lighting 

Photography in Greek means “Drawing with lights” and even though we are not talking about photography per se, light and a good lid scene, can make your work look professional and very “shareable” or be condemned to be smash under the other millions of images that are uploaded to Instagram daily.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Different photos require different lighting, but it is always best to use natural light. Make sure to take them in the daytime with enough light shining through your windows. 

Using natural diffuse light always makes your photos look 1000 times better than if you use indoor (yellow-warm) lighting.

Here you can see the set-up I am using for all the pictures made for this tutorial. 

If the sun is up and shining through your window, you might need to diffuse your light, to diffuse your light you just need a semitransparent fabric, paper, or even a white t-shirt. 

This will help make your shadows look soft and nicer, try to avoid double shadows, this happens when you have more than one source of light. We are still in winter here in Germany, which means, no sun for me 🙁 . 

When you are taking a picture next to a window or a glass door like me, a white light “bouncer” is a simple technique that can make a huge difference.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Here I am using a white foam board with two slit cuts dividing the board in 3 parts, that way it can stand by itself. If we place this “bounce” board in the opposite side of our light source, we will get less shadows and more allover lighting (global illumination)

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily
How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Without Bouncer, photo is dark, right side with strong shadows

With Bouncer, photo is brighter, right side with soft shadows

3. Background 

A background will help us define the “vibe” of our photos. In my Instagram project I use white paper, which helps me create my seamless pattern, besides being airy and minimal, which is something I personally like. 

Depending of the work we are presenting and the style and concept of our feed, we can use different materials or Backgrounds to achieve a certain look. 

Black stock paper, craft paper, marble, wood or colored paper, the background can change the look of the image dramatically.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily
How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

4. Composition and spacing 

Now that we have our cameras, know a bit more about lightning and our background is defined,

we should start laying out our surface or scene.

We will take decisions along the way depending of the angle we are going to photograph. 

For these examples, I am going to shoot from the top to down. 

If possible, set your camera to see a perfect square and lay your artwork down, that way you can see your scene the way is going to appear in Instagram without second-guessing.

If you are going to use a top-down set up as me, make sure that your phone is level.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Yellow + White Cross, means Phone is not Level

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Yellow Cross, means Phone is Level

Set the focus on the artwork and the exposure in the area of your choice, keep an eye on the artwork, we want to make it look well lid, without overexposing. 

Lock the focus by taping and holding the screen in the area of interest for a second. 

Here is where a tripod comes handy, so you don’t have to constantly move your camera, if not available is not going to be the end of the world. 

Keep your hands steady, take a deep breath, hold it and snap your first photo – this is a trick I use to avoid camera shake– I have a couple of tripods available, so I will use one to make it easier for me 😀

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

5. Rule of thirds​

​The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have nine parts. The theory says, that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and will enable the viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

This also applies for the lines touching the edges of our frame, if your smartphone offers this feature, go ahead and turn the guides on.

This is not something we have to use, but something we can definitely take in our advantage.

​As you can see in the image, I guide myself with the grid, but I don‘t place all my objects exactly to match the grid. This is something that is not set in stone!

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

6. Props 

“Prop” is a term used in filmmaking, is a short form of “property”, and refers to the items owned by or belonging to a character. 

In this case, our props are the tools we use to create our work, items or elements that are related, or items that help us to tell better our story or items that simple goes well with the colors in our artwork.

​Add your props to your scene, but keep it simple though you don’t want your scene to look cluttered, so make sure to balance the space between your items. 

Don’t be afraid to rearrange things for the perfect photo! Sometimes moving even one item will make a huge difference and get you the photo you are looking for, avoid having your props all side by side. 

Try having some of the bigger props going out the frame to create the illusion that the scene is “bigger”.

Always judge your Scene looking it in your phone.

The scene might look different in your photos.

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

7. Experiment 

All right guys and gals! We covered all the basics you need to add up your photo game, the only thing left is that you practice, as always, the more you do it, the more you will learn, presenting your work is very important, it is useful not only for social media, but also for your portfolio.

I encourage you to experiment!

Change the background, mix backgrounds, textures, use all your props in one color, create your own props, add shadows blocking some lights, change the angle, add layers, etc. 

Have fun!

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily
How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily
Lettering Crate Optimized

Stay updated with our tutorials and get instant access to the Lettering Crate –

A growing library of free lettering & calligraphy resources that includes – FREE downloadable calligraphy practice sheets, Procreate brushes, the 30-day lettering planner, printables, and more.
The Lettering Crate sample image - free lettering and calligraphy worksheets and resources

#learning2gether

What now? 

Well, now we want to see YOU in action!

The next time you are about to post your hand lettering artwork, open up this tutorial, follow each step and start practicing your presentation! 

Once you are done simply add the #learning2gether and tag us on the photo 🙂

This way you are able to get some feedback on your work!

We look forward seeing your work 😀

How to present your hand lettering and calligraphy - Lettering Daily

Be sure to check out arturo's other online platforms!

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2 thoughts on “HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS OF YOUR LETTERING ARTWORK – STEP-BY-STEP”

  1. Hi,
    I bought the tripod linked from your article thinking that there was an overhead option on it
    Did I buy the wrong one or does it needs an extension?
    Right now, the way it is set up, we would see the legs of the tripod in the shot.
    If you can help me with that that’d be awesome! and thanks for the article!

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