Once your child reaches a certain age they'll probably start to amass quite a pile of artwork, whether it's created at home, at nursery or at school. In less than a year of my daughter starting to draw, paint and colour we have acquired a huge pile of her artwork,and it's only going to get bigger. Whilst it's lovely to have some of it on display, it's not practical to have all of it out. So where do you store the rest? Today's post is a quick tutorial for archiving your children's artwork by photographing it.
You will need:
A pile of your child(ren)'s artwork
A neutral surface to use as your background
The set up
Start by creating a space where each piece of artwork will be well-lit whilst you photograph it, and where the background is neutral so that the artwork is the main focus. I used my daughter's little table which has a white top as the background, but you could use a piece of card or even a neutral coloured rug or carpet. Place your background close to a large window to ensure there is plenty of natural light falling on it. The main thing that you're looking for is soft, even light so avoid a window that has direct sunlight shining through it.
Photographing the artwork
Now, photograph each piece of your child's artwork. I recommend placing the artwork in the centre of your background, so you can capture a border around it, and with the light from the window coming from the side or above.
Unless you're planning to print large copies of the artwork, using your phone camera should be just fine. If you are using your phone to take the photos you may find this series of tutorials helpful.
Once you've got your first photo set up, it should be quite quick to take the rest. I whizzed through about six months of my daughter's artwork in 10 minutes once everything was set up.
Editing the photographs
Now you have a set of photographs of the artwork, the next step is to edit them. Have a look at the photos and see whether they need any adjustment. For the photos in this post I adjusted exposure and contrast, and sharpened them a bit. If you're editing on your phone you may find this guide to my favourite editing apps useful.
Storing and enjoying the photographs
Now that you've taken these photos you might be wondering what to do with them. First of all make sure they're backed up, and saved somewhere where you can easily find them in the future. You can read about the best ways to do this here.
Once they're safely backed up, there are a number of ways that you can preserve the photos. For example:
- Add the photos of the artwork into your family album each year (this is what I'm planning to do)
- Create an coffee table book dedicated to your children's artwork every year, or few years depending on how much you have
- Print each photograph as a 6"x4" print and fill a memory box with them
- Print your favourite pieces to add into your gallery wall
However you decide to preserve the photos, I do recommend printing them - it’s so much easier and enjoyable to look back upon printed photos than searching through a hard drive to find them.
Over to you
I’d love to hear how you get on with putting this tutorial into practice. What other questions do you have about photographing family life? Let me know in the comments below.