How To Light Artwork and Art Prints On A Wall- A Guide

How Do I Light An Artwork or Photography Print I Just Bought?

That is a question many people ask after they purchase their first artwork especially. The question is valid and is an important one. There are a few reasons for that. Without proper lighting, the artwork may not look as amazing as you expect it to be. With too much light or improper illumination, the artwork can look too bright and it also can be damaged by the UV rays coming from the light source.

Therefore the first thing to consider when hanging an artwork or photography print on a wall is the location. The most important factor to consider about the location is not aesthetics or how the artwork will blend in with your interior design. But if your newly purchased large wall art will be hit by direct sunlight, which is a big NO-NO! Direct exposure to UV rays can damage the art over a period of time. Its colors may start to fade and over time it may lose its appeal. That being said, not all art can be damaged by UV rays, it depends on the type of materials that were used to produce it.

artwork lighting example on the wall in living room

For example, regular art produced on a canvas can also be finished with a special UV resistant coating, that protects from Ultraviolet Light. Fine art photography prints from use the type of acrylic finish that is UV resistant and will protect your wall art from UV for years to come.

Still, even if your artwork is UV protected, exposure to the direct sun is never recommended. For one, there is no point in testing if the UV protection actually works and secondly, if you have the sun casting a shade on your artwork all day, I'm pretty sure it will ruin your art-viewing experience because of the way the sun is rotating. Instead, you want to take conscious control of the art lighting process. So you have your own lights illuminating it. So it is being lit consistently throughout the day, regardless of what weather conditions you have on the outside.

So how do you choose proper lighting for the art? Read On.landscape photography artwork frosty fall by jongas

5 Main Criteria When Choosing Lighting For Art

5 main things you want to consider when deciding on how to illuminate wall art are Light Source, Light intensity, Form, Warmth, and Direction.

1.  A Light Source To Illuminate Art

In today's world, our technological advances offer us many different products in all areas. That is true about light sources too. Compared to 10 years ago, now we have incandescent, fluorescent, led, and halogen types of light-emitting bulbs. As well as a variety of light fixtures like picture lights, accent lights, track lights or wall washers.

Choosing a proper light source might be quite a challenge. It all depends on the size of your artwork. If the art is smaller, you might want to use a single LED bulb to do the job. LED lights are great, they emit little heat and very few UV rays that may potentially damage your art piece. They last a long time and are not expensive. Also with LED lights, you can choose the warmth of color, which is the next topic we will discuss.

And if you want to illuminate large wall art. Then looking into and choosing a proper light fixture will probably be a better choice. Light fixtures usually cover larger areas and some are designed specifically for illuminating larger art or multiple pieces of art on a wall.

Fall Symphony - aspen tree photography in fall colors

2. Choosing The Warmth Of The Light Source For Your Art

When talking about how warm the light is, it is really about two colors essentially. Yellow and Blue. Warmer colors will appear and make your artwork look more yellow. Whereas "cooler" colors will make your art appear bluer. Again When using LED lights you can choose the warmth of the bulb based on the environment where you will hang your art. In rooms where the interior feels more cozy and intimate, like living room, family rooms, or a bedroom. You want to choose a warmer color that will be softer on the eye and add to the feeling of comfort.

The cooler lights on the other hand are great for office artwork or living spaces with modern or contemporary interior design. Where brighter and more direct light is more appropriate. Although not recommended to illuminate art, the fluorescent or halogen lights emit much cooler more intense light that appears really white when you look at it.

3. Light Intensity Consideration When Lighting Art At Home

Light intensity is another important point to consider when illuminating your artwork. Much like the warmth of the light, the strength of the light also matters a lot. You don't want to have too much or too little light hitting your artwork. So the best practice is to have a dim switch installed on the lights that will illuminate your artwork or photography print. And then just adjust it manually to your liking. Depending on where your art is located relative to other light sources like windows or other lights in the room, or depending on the time of the day. A dim switch will let you adjust the necessary amount of light in a couple of seconds.

Purple Wave - abstract photography of canyon

4. The Form

The form of light necessary to illuminate an artwork refers to the area of the artwork that gets brighter. This process requires controlling the direction of light and probably happens to be the most difficult of all. There are companies that sell high-end lighting equipment where you can adjust the light to shine in a perfect rectangle that will only light the image within the framed artwork. But it requires special installation and is costly. So unless you are really trying to make your art display perfect, you can ignore this part. And any spread-out light source from a regular light bulb will be sufficient.

5. The Direction Of Light

At last, you will also need to consider the angle at which light points in your artwork. It is important because of the glare that light will produce when it reflects from the art. This is especially true, in the case of the acrylic surface-mounted luxury photography prints. With those types of prints, acrylic often acts like a mirror that reflects light and can ruin the viewing experience, because in certain spots reflected light will shine a person in the eyes and blind them from seeing the artwork.

As a general rule, the angle of the light should be about 30 degrees. Plus-minus 5 degrees, depending on the height of the ceiling and the distance of the light. The best strategy is to just experiment by moving the light source in different angles and then walk up to the wall art and see how the light interacts with it and whether or not it is created an unwanted glare.

The good news is, that acrylic fine art photography prints from come mounted with Trulife acrylic, which minimizes light glare significantly and helps you avoid some of the lighting issues. Browse our online art gallery to find luxury wall art for your next decorating project! 

Hire Professional Interior Designer Or A Decorator To Light Your Artwork

Finally, as with any project, if you are not sure you can tackle this process on your own, always consider hiring a professional to help you. Interior designers can suggest and have people on their teams who have done this before and can accommodate you with lighting your art at home to your best liking.

Meet The Artist

Hello, I'm Eddie Jongas, travel and photography is my passion. After moving to Los Angeles years ago, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the entire West Coast and have dedicated my current life to capturing its beauty with my camera.

All my work is available as fine art photography prints that are produced from the highest quality materials for the most luxurious look and feel.

Read My Full Artist Statement

Art Prints For Sale

Top-quality nature photography art, as well as fine art photography prints for sale. All wall art offered on this site is made from the highest quality printing materials such as TruLife Acrylic, Lumachrome acrylic, Dye sublimation metal prints, or canvas pro printing surface. These prints will transform and add to the beauty of your home interior or transform your space as office artwork. For most luxury product experience, our prints are offered with Italian Roma Frame molding.

Visit in person at: Jongas Photography Wall Art Gallery 3339 Kimber dr. STE E, Newbury Park, CA 91320 805-586-0626 (Google Maps Directions)

Or Jongas Fine Art Gallery Las Vegas at: 800 N. Rainbow bl. Las Vegas, Nevada. Phone 702-781-7871 (Google Maps Directions)