I tackled photographing my own work this week, and here is an important tip I can now give you that will make your own attempts at photographing artwork easier: Have someone else do it!

But seriously, if you can find someone else who knows what they’re doing, having them show you how is a huge time-saver. I don’t even want to guess how much time I’ve spent reading about doing this, as well as having shot my own work on and off for the past 20 years, and I was still amazed at what a difference it made to have a professional in the house.

My photography guru was Lawrence Luk (love this shot of his), and the special challenge I gave him was to help me create a lighting set-up for my new Cultivation pieces, which can look flat if not lit properly.

Lights, camera!

Besides accomplishing that, he also clued me in on weighting my tripod to keep it from wiggling, and we were able to rig up the handy bag you see here, which contains my hardcover copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, The Kitchen God’s Wife, and Catcher in the Rye. Heavy. (Couldn’t resist.)

camera, bag

The other important bit was helping me navigate the settings on my newfangled camera, especially with regard to setting the white balance but also the best ISO, aperture, etc.

Cultivation 8 web

Cultivation 8 detail

Cameras today invariably have more settings than I will ever want to use, and it’s kind of a big job weeding them out, but Lawrence helped me keep it simple.

Cultivation 1 web

I loved the results, and now I feel like I know what I’m doing.

Cultivation 6 web

In this case, Lawrence was nice enough to offer his expertise when he heard what I was taking on, but I’m going to be keeping this experience in mind in future when I hesitate to ask someone’s assistance in learning a new skill.

This week, here’s to remembering that oldie but goodie: Ask for help! It is so worth it.

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