5 Ways in Which Lighting Affects Framed Art

Numerous aspects make a work of art stand out to a crowd. The piece’s location, the different colors that make a painting, or the frame that holds the photo are all essential parts of a great form of art. But none of these aspects would stand out if it wasn’t for the lighting that affects the way the art looks to us.

Light Source

Framed art needs to have some form of light source for viewers to see it and depict specific details. Depending on the light source, a framed piece of art may have a different appearance. Using a picture light that hangs overhead will cast a low light on the top portion of a painting or photo and make shadows across the rest. This lighting is an excellent idea for an intimate picture that invites people to look closely at the art, which is great for starting an art collection but not for landscape exhibits.

Type of Light

The type of light you use needs to pair well with the art. Using a blacklight lightbulb on a red cubist painting wouldn’t have the same effect as a nice eggshell-white light. The type of lighting used is one of the ways in which lighting affects framed art.

Different types of light will affect the visuals that your art has. Start with the most basic form of white light and experiment with others to accentuate different parts of the piece.


The frame is the art surrounding the art. Frames should complement the art just as the art should synergize with the frame. Using different frames and lighting will emphasize the art. Using a very subtle light on a metal frame will prevent glare and create enough light to make the frame look lustrous and the art look its best.


It’s always a good idea to consider the colors of a painting or photo. The colors attract people to art and will create a feeling within an environment. The lighting needs to balance with the paint to ensure the shades and hues won’t drown out, and the light helps present the piece.

Since paint and glass tend to have glare when light shines on them, casting light at an angle at a low intensity would be best. Placing lights within the frame would be a great way to point out different colors at different angles.


The brightness at which light shines on art is another one of the ways in which lighting affects framed art. A glaring beam of light will wash out the art and make it seem like the light is the centerpiece and not the art. A low range to mid-range of intensity is best for all kinds of art and has better chances of creative presentation.

Art is a beautiful thing that many of us share. And to appropriately exhibit it, we need to use the best lighting.