When making an initial enquiry with a fine art appraiser, fine art collectors will be asked, in most cases, to produce images of the object. Images illustrating key areas of the object are needed for making determinations in the object’s value.
Photograph the object, if possible, in front of a non-reflective, neutral color surface. Indirect natural light will show the object better than any other light. If an object has a highly reflective surface, avoid using the camera’s flash and shoot the object at angle to avoid “hot shots” on the object’s surface. Also, when necessary, use a tripod or any other device (boxes, table or ladder), which will aid to hold the camera steady.
Images should be taken of the following:
- The subject object in its entirety.
- The verso, or reverse-side, of a 2-D object or the under-side of a 3-D object. Take close up shots of any gallery, framer, or museum labels. The information on these labels is extremely important for the appraiser.
- A close-up of the artist’s signature and/or any inscriptions noted on the surface of the object.
- A couple of close-up shots of key elements in or on the object.
- If damage or issues of age are present, close-up shots are needed of any chips, flaws, cracks, tears, water damage, etc. on the object.
- If the 2-D object is framed, a close image of one corner of the frame is very helpful.
Object damage occurs primarily when objects are handled. If you follow these basic photograph steps, you’ll provide yourself and others with value information without excessive object moving and handling.
So you have time to collect….
Camille Ann Brewer