Refrigerator buried under a pile of your kid’s art and you’re not allowed to take the older “pieces” down? Consider taking great pictures of them – some of which can feature your kid holding their art. They’ll feel the same appreciation from you, you’ll have the art documented and you’ll have a cute picture of them with the art for decades later when it might be tougher to remember what age they were when they drew that lady bug. Besides, how much kid art can you keep before running out of space?
Here are some tips to take a good photo of your little one’s masterpieces.
1. Find light that is soft and diffused. That means even light. Do not try taking a picture of the art work laying flat indoors at night. Doing so will cast a slight shadow from your camera, hands, and arms as most indoor lighting comes from above. Regardless, indoor lighting is usually very directional. One exception would be next to a very bright window on a cloudy day or with a semi-sheer shade drawn. Ideally, take the art outside and either do the photo in the open on an overcast day, or find some even shade.
2. If you your son or daughter is holding the art and you want to feature the art so that it is in sharper focus than their face, then have them hold it out at arm’s length and use a higher f-stop (lower f-stop number on the camera). If you don’t have a camera that has manual controls, then get as close to the art as you can without completely cutting their face out of the photo and their face will blur a bit compared to the art giving the photo a nice stylized look like above.
3. Use gridlines on your viewer if you can turn them on. If you don’t have gridlines on your viewer, then try to get the edge of the artwork to look as parallel to an edge of the screen as you can. This might mean raising, lowering, and tilting your camera a bit.
4. Pay attention to your borders. Fill the frame with as much as you can with the art. Zooming in on a smartphone or tablet is not actually zooming in, it’s just cropping. To get full resolution, you need to fill as much of the viewfinder with the art as you can. If the photo features your child’s face, you only need a little bit of their head. The top border can cut into their forehead and the artwork can cut into their chin in your composition and the photo will still be all about them and their art.
Another idea would be to make a collage of their work. http://www.fotor.com/features/collage.html offers an online collage maker. You can then shrink a dozen or so of their pieces into a nice single sheet. Some people have them framed!
A less orthodox idea for really interesting parents is the art time capsule. Make a written pact with your child that they make as much art as they can for the next year and you and they will put it all into buried time capsules that will get opened in 10 years!
Here’s a great article on building a serious time capsule that will stand up to time:
If you have any other ideas that we can add to this post on preserving your kid’s art without the chaos, let us know below!