Lighting Gallery Pieces – Yes, you need light

Richard Charpentier Photography, Prints, RLC Design 2 Comments

This morning while driving into the gallery a light bulb went off in my mind.  Literally, a light bulb.

Lighting experts all over the web talk about light every day.  Pop by Joe McNally’s blog any time.  He’ll tell you all about light.  He’ll invite you along to a workshop if you like.  That guy is all over it!

But you know what all the photo lighting experts neglect?  The light after the shot.

Over the course of the past year I’ve gotten to understand the gallery business pretty well, which is a good thing since I’m in the gallery business.  A big component of display is of course lighting.  You need to light pieces in the most attractive manner possible.


Everybody's Hometown Series Side by Side

Several months ago a client purchased the #5 of my Everybody’s Hometown in a 16×24″ canvas gallery wrap.  Both the client and her husband absolutely loved the piece in the gallery and came back multiple times before purchasing their own giclee’.  They were thrilled.

Within a week she returned with some concerns about the wrap.  It was darker at her home than she remembered it here in the gallery.  She thought I might have messed up the printing.  Not possible though, carried the same settings through on each print, and I continue to do that to this day.  So, what was wrong???

Simple.  Poorly lit room, ambient light only in the afternoon, and pulled curtains.  She brought the piece back in and we hung it where the #6 was now hanging.  To her surprise it looked brighter and more vibrant.  I pointed out a particular ceiling light pointed at the spot and explained to her that we light each of the pieces for presentation.

The canvas gallery wrap was exactly as its predecessors were.  Same colors, same vibrancy, same process.  What she lacked was a well lit room.  And light, even after the photograph is taken, is still important.

So, the next time you hang one of your own personal masterpieces keep lighting in mind.  You did it while shooting, make sure you follow through after the print is done.

Comments 2

  1. Use of a picture light to spot light an art piece makes an incredible difference for optimal viewing as seen in museums and galleries. As a senior, I need increased illumination to compensate for my aging vision.

    Your framed print, “Everybody’s Hometown”, has a picture light for a grand display in our bathroom.

    The framed “Ghost Town” print slides perfectly into the space by the Airstream’s range top and kitchen cabinet, and looks quite grand illuminated by the warm white LED exhaust fan light. Since I don’t do any frying in the trailer, it is easy to keep the glass cover of the frame clean.

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