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Photography Question 
MaryAnn Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/24/2006
 

Shooting interior faux finishes for a painter


There is a local painter who would like me to photograph rooms in several homes where he has done faux finishing on the walls. I would like some advice on the best way to light the rooms so that I don't get glare on the walls, but still get the right colors. Any suggestions? I use a Canon EOS Mark III and I have studio strobes and a speed light. Thanks, MaryAnn Ryan


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12/6/2007 1:50:57 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi MaryAnn,
I have a job like this coming up myself. One thing I have already explained to the client: if you make a 4X6 inch print of a 15X20 foot room you won’t see any of the details in the painting. I expect the client to buy 16X20 prints for his portfolio. I will like the rooms with 2 or three strobes with a couple of large umbrellas place well to the side. The light will need to be placed near the ceiling. Position and height will help to reduce the reflections in the walls. I will also be taking some detail images of the room. So that a print could be made showing a room with a window showing the treatment.
Thanks, John Siskin


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12/7/2007 6:27:10 PM

 
MaryAnn Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/24/2006
  Thanks for the advice, John. Where should I place the strobes in relation to the walls? I am used to lighting people, but don't have a clue as to where to point the light to photograph walls and columns. Should I just illuminate the room, itself? Also, should I add ambient light from lamps in the room?

One other question, (I promise), I have a 50 mm, 1.8 lens. I'm trying to shoot a group of 4, white background, high-key. My subs meter at 8.0 and my drop around 11. For some reason, the lens just doesn't seem to want to autofocus. It keeps making a clicking sound, and trying to focus, but the photos are always soft. I'm using AF assist, but it doesn't help. I switched to an 85 mm lens, and didn't seem to have the problem, but I have to back up so far to get everyone in the picture! Any suggestions? Thanks, MaryAnn Ryan


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12/8/2007 12:56:12 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi MaryAnn.
A lot of people approach portraiture as if it is program: you just put in the right numbers and everything will turn out well. You can’t do that with architecture. Rooms are too difficult to predict. Your goal is to move the lights to a position where the light will be even, while minimizing or removing reflections. This will probably mean lights to the side as I said in the earlier post. If you illuminate the whole room the bounce light will probably change the color of the faux painting. You might try for a ceiling bounce, but only if the ceiling is truly white. A key part of a job like this is to accurately reproduce color and keep the painted areas of the wall evenly illuminated. Consider that you will probably need to set up the strobes in multiple positions before you find a spot that works well. I would avoid any lights other than daylight as a source in the room. Incandescent and fluorescent lights have very different color from daylight and your strobes, so these sources will keep you from getting accurate color.

Regarding your 50mm lens. I would suggest that you try it outside on a sunny day. If it does not focus in full daylight than the problem is with the lens. Fortunately 50 f!.8 lenses are cheap. This is probably why this lens malfunctioned. If this is not the answer you could try mounting and removing the lens several times. There is a small chance this will help.
Thanks, John Siskin


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12/8/2007 2:27:26 PM

 
MaryAnn Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/24/2006
  Thanks for all the great advice, John. I will give it a whirl with the lens, and I'll let you know how the interior shoot goes. By the way, it was nice meeting you at the Summit. If you don't remember me, I'm the one you (almost) helped up after the group shot, but I lost my balance and fell on my bottom! What a way to make an impression!


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12/9/2007 9:21:30 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
 
 
 
Hi MaryAnn,
I am often a little unstable myself. The key to doing a job like this is be patient with yourself. If the lens will focus out doors, in sunlight, then it was choosing a bad area to focus on or there wasn’t enough light. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the lens.
Thanks, John Siskin

Ps. I hope you had a good time at the summit!


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12/9/2007 10:56:22 AM

 
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