Banno Lighting - Leading Supplier for Art Gallery Lighting

Photography Exhibitions - How to Get the Lighting Right

Photography Exhibitions - How to Get the Lighting Right


Photography, like any artwork, needs to be lit well for pieces to be appreciated at their very best. If you’re not sure how to go about creating the best lighting for a photo gallery, we’re here to help. Here we’ll cover the basics that apply to light for any art exhibition, as well as some specific considerations when displaying photography.



Where do I start?

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If you’re starting from scratch with your exhibition lighting, we recommend that track lighting is the best all-round solution. Track lighting is versatile and customisable, allowing you to adapt and update your lighting as your gallery displays changes and evolves. 


Track lighting consists of two main parts: the track itself, which can be surface-mounted to the ceiling, recessed into the ceiling surface or suspended, and track lighting heads, which are the light fixtures that attach to the track.


You can use track to create your own bespoke layout. Whether you want a long straight run through the middle of a narrow gallery space or a rectangular circuit to follow the outline of a larger floor plan, both can easily be created using lengths of track and accessories called joiners. 


Once this foundation for your lighting is in place, the track lighting fixtures can be added. A rule of thumb is to use one fixture per linear metre of track, but this isn’t set in stone. A major benefit of track lighting is that fixtures can be unclipped and repositioned on the track whenever you want to refresh the gallery for a new exhibition or event, or as pieces are sold. There’s no need to involve an electrician, allowing you to make frequent changes with ease and with no additional expense.



Which Track Lighting Heads do I Choose?

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Firstly, always opt for LED lighting when lighting artwork. Not only is this a more energy efficient choice, LEDs have a long lifespan requiring minimal maintenance. Perhaps most importantly in this context exhibition LED lighting does not create much excess heat, unlike traditional incandescents. Heat can damage artworks but the low heat emissions of LEDs avoid this issue. When designing the layout of a gallery space remember that direct sunlight can also cause fading, and try to avoid placing pieces where they may be negatively affected. 


Bear in mind that any space needs a combination of general light and more focused lighting on the artworks for a well-balanced scheme. We suggest opting for dimmable lighting, which will allow you to adjust the lighting according to the time of day and available natural light. It also means that you can control the ambience, dimming the lights for evening drinks or a private view event when you want to create a relaxed atmosphere.


Treat photography with the same respect as any other medium, and think about how to make each individual piece stand out in the space. The principles of what makes great exhibition light are the same for a digital photo exhibition as for a collection of oil paintings. Our L’Art range includes fixtures which can frame each piece with light, giving the impression that the piece is backlit. It’s a great way to make a visual impact.


Photographs are often shown behind glass, so it’s especially important to minimise glare. This is also true if photographs are unframed, but have a gloss finish. One of the simplest tricks is to direct light onto artwork at an angle of 30 degrees, which has been calculated as the optimum angle for avoiding glare. The L’Art fixtures also offer an anti glare honeycomb filter which acts as additional glare protection.


Every artist pays great attention to the composition of their work and their use of light, shade, and colour is thoughtfully considered. To ensure that the gallery visitor can experience the work as their creator intended, it’s vital to use lights with a high CRI value. CRI, or Colour Rendering Index, relates to how accurately colours are seen by the human eye. When the CRI value is high, colours are rendered at their truest and most vibrant. For photo gallery lighting, or any exhibition space, we recommend a CRI value of at least 90. 


Finally, in pop-up spaces or small nooks of a gallery, you could consider photo gallery wall lighting. Using lights which attach to the wall can be a nifty solution in awkward or temporary spaces, or if you’re trying to find lighting ideas for a number of works concentrated in a small area.

Book a free consultation with our art gallery lighting specialist.

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Banno Lighting is located in Brooklyn, NYC. We are a small family owned business who specialize in Art Gallery Lighting.

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(347) 308 6016

Banno Lighting

172 Suydam St Unit 4 R Brooklyn, New York, 11221

(347) 308 6016

Banno Lighting

172 Suydam St Unit 4 R Brooklyn, New York, 11221

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