How to Properly Lightening a Painting

Do you have paintings or photographs? To enhance them but also to preserve them, appropriate lighting must be used. And to be completely successful, the lighting must take into account several criteria such as the type of bulbs and fixtures or the installation constraints. And at the end of the article, also discover all the mistakes to avoid in order to illuminate a table!


The best lighting is the one that takes into account your works of art, their style, their layout (type of hanging), but also the possible installations.
A rule of thumb: to enhance a painting, use dedicated so-called accent lighting. Ideally, the light beam is oriented at an angle of 30 ° from the vertical. Attention, this beam must be adjusted and calibrated according to the size of the table. The choice of luminaire will largely depend on the arrangement of the picture (s) on the wall.

What type of lighting to highlight a photograph?

To highlight a photograph, use light fixtures designed to illuminate paintings. You can opt for a wall lamp.
– The CATHY wall lamp perfectly illuminates your photography. In matt nickel, it knows how to be discreet. On the other hand, its beam lighting and its halogen bulb offer an excellent rendering of colors and contrasts.
– You also have the possibility of fixing a spot lighting of the orientable Led spot type to the ceiling that you direct towards the surface to be illuminated. However, pay attention to the position of your luminaire. It is determined according to the height of the ceiling and the location of the photograph on the wall. No other light source should then intervene between these two elements.
– Be aware that halogen lamps emit UV rays which can alter the colors of your photograph over time.


What type of luminaire to illuminate a canvas?

– If you are lighting a single canvas: the picture wall lamp is ideal. Fixed on the frame or on the wall, it diffuses a direct and individual light. Choose a wall light with dimensions adapted to your painting! For example, a wall lamp with neon tube to illuminate a large picture.
– If you light several canvases: with a linear hanging, that is to say several tables placed next to each other, spotlights on rails are a good solution. Easy to install, you can adapt the number of spots and orient them.
– For a contemporary look, recessed spotlightsare perfect because they are discreet. They are also recommended for a wall filled with paintings of different dimensions with a random hanging. Then choose orientable spots.
– And to produce amplifying lighting with precise lighting, use 12 volt dichroic bulbs, with reflector to direct the focused beam.
– For more or less narrow beams of light depending on your needs, then use 12-volt halogen spotlights. Please note that a location must be provided for the transformer.
– Finally, know that a 10 ° dichroic bulb generates a light beam 60 cm in diameter at three meters distance.


What type of luminaire to illuminate photo frames?

Lighting a photo frame follows very specific rules. Indeed, the location of the light and its direction directly impact the enhancement of your shots. In general, the challenge will be to limit the reflections on your photo prints while enhancing them. So how do you do it? Here are our tips!
– Overhead lighting: the best option
To light up a photo frame, it is better to opt for overhead lighting. This light source must be white in order not to alter the colors of the image (3300 Kelvin and more). The size and number of spots or wall lights depend on the dimensions of the photo frame.
– Location and orientation of the luminaire
For a photo frame to be perfectly highlighted, the lighting must be properly placed. The distance between the photo frame and the light source should be one quarter of the height of the photo frame. You see it is very precise! And to reduce as much as possible the reflections on the frame, and also the shadows, the angle of the luminaire should be 30 °.
– Choose the right light
There is a whole range of luminaires designed to enhance paintings and photo frames. Each of these lights has a specific function that will help us choose them well. We naturally turn to the wall lamp to magnify our photo frames. This type of wall lamp is placed above the photo frame and offers an adjustable light source. There are wall lights of different widths, thus adapting to the different widths of the frames.
Recessed spots are also a practical and aesthetic solution. Very discreet, recessed sports have the particularity of adapting to all styles of frames. The intensity of the light spots is variable. It is an alternative light source in the house and a point lighting for photo frames. The only downside to recessed spots is that they sometimes require some work. But the end result is very appreciable.
Track spotlights are the last option to light up a photo frame, a set of frames, and even a space in your home. The spotlight rail is easy to install. There are many models, so it is easy to choose a lighting suitable for your style as well as the decoration of your home.
– Stand out thanks to downward lighting
More rarely, lighting on the ground is to be preferred. It has the advantage of being original and airship. Vigilance is essential with this type of lighting. Indeed, they can be dangerous for children (and pets). The heat sources given off can also damage the floor in your home. Floor lighting involves calling on the expertise of a professional.
– Light frames
Finally, there are now many photo frames equipped with a light source. These are placed on the sides, above or under the frame. In general with Leds, these illuminated frames are a good solution not to have problem of shadows or reflections.


Classic or contemporary, the paintings do not appreciate the same color temperature of the bulbs: the classic paintings appreciate the muted and slightly yellow lighting; contemporary canvases like bulbs with a good CRI (Color Rendering Index) to obtain a faithful rendering of colors. The halogen picture wall lamp provides quality lighting because it is close to sunlight. It is also aesthetic because it is fine; on the other hand, it will be necessary to hide the transformer for the 12 volts versions.
Led wall lights or spotlights also offer effective solutions: more powerful, some models develop up to 470 lumens, they are also available in many sizes. Choose lamps with a warm white or a neutral white according to your tables and with an excellent CRI.
The wall lights are numerous: incandescent (warm and yellow light), halogens, neon, Led… with more or less advantages.
– Incandescent, the light is slightly yellow recommended for paintings on canvas rather classic but the bulb is energy intensive.
– The new LED wall lights are ideal: they do not heat up, unlike halogens or incandescent lamps, which run the risk of damaging certain paints. Be careful, however, not to choose them with too cold lights (beyond 6500 Kelvin) otherwise the colors will be distorted.
– Avoid 12 volt halogen lamps which require a transformer that is difficult to hide. On the ceiling, you can also fix or embed orientable spotlights and with reflector to direct a concentrated beam, then favor 12-volt halogen spotlights.
Keria’s advice : beware of UV emitted by light bulbs, this is the main threat to your paintings because UV radiation can degrade the colors of your painting in the long term. The LEDs and the T5 neon tube emit very little UV. The tube also has the advantage of illuminating a greater length of the picture.


To illuminate a picture, you have 3 solutions: a picture wall light, a very low voltage spot placed below the picture or a ceiling spot that lights up from above.
– The wall lamp: There are several types. Incandescent, particularly suitable for classic paints; halogen 12 volts (but with a difficult to mask transformer) or 220 volts; or Led. This last solution can be very decorative to highlight your photos if you install a thin strip of LEDs inside the frame.
– The TBT spot: placed on a piece of furniture below the table, the lighting is done by the spot beam coming from the bottom.
– The adjustable spotlight on the ceiling illuminates the picture with a beam coming from the ceiling, therefore from above. Prefer 12-volt dichroic spots to choose more or less narrow beams.
Keria’s advice : choose a wall light that is smaller than the width of your painting and pay attention to the reflections that your wall light can give if it lights up a shiny canvas or glass.


– Choose bulbs with a color temperature that is too cold (over 6500 Kelvin) as this distorts the colors.
– Buy inexpensive lighting rich in UV and therefore harmful in the long term because they degrade the paintings.
– Choose disproportionate lighting: a small spot to illuminate a large canvas…
– Create hazardous style associations by lighting, for example, modern canvases with traditional-style picture lights .
Finally, be aware that halogen or incandescent bulbs give off heat and can therefore damage some paints.


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