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Photography Question 
Stephen Turner

Getting the colours right on copywork

© Stephen Turner
I'm trying to photograph original watercolour botanical paintings. I'm using a Canon EOS50 (although same problem with digital using Sony's Cybershot, see attached). The artwork is 24x12" on a white paper. I'm lighting the pictures with four 100W copylights, well positioned in a daylight room. I'm using Canon Gold 100 film. The images are coming out far too blue, especially the white background, which is far from white, and the leaf greens are v.poor. I've tried working the adjustments, but to no avail. Do I need a filter or special film - appreciate some help.

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6/1/2003 12:59:01 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  I would try taking the negatives back to the printer, along with the original artwork to show them, and have the prints redone with the correct color balance.

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6/2/2003 9:04:33 AM

Maynard  McKillen   I wonder which copylights you have, and whether you are using any kind of color correction filters? The filters, incidentally, might either cover the light sources or attach in front of the camera lens.

Copylights can have a color temperature of 3200 degrees Kelvin (These seem to be the most widely used.), 3400 degrees Kelvin, or 4800 degrees Kelvin.

When you said Canon Gold 100 I suspect you meant Kodak Gold 100, a daylight balanced film. If you shot the watercolor with the 3200K lights, Gold 100 film, and did not put an 80A filter on your lens, the watercolor print would have a decided orange-yellow cast. Add the 80A filter and your watercolor would record accurately on film.
BUT, if you have 3200K lights, Gold 100 film, an 80A correction filter AND have a significant amount of daylight/windowlight streaming across the watercolor, you'd get a decidedly blue cast to the print.

If you are using Gold 100 print film, a knowledgeable film lab can color correct your prints to an amazing degree, as Jon C. mentioned.

I suggest it is preferable to use color correction filters over the light sources or in front of the lens, and record the colors accurately on film, which results in fewer trips back to the film lab to ask for color correction on the prints.

If you have 3400K lights, an 80B filter corrects them, and if you have 4800K lights, an 80C filter corrects them.

Try not to mix daylight and tungsten light sources. Close the drapes, or turn off the copy lights and use window light. Windowlight, however, can have a slight bluish cast to it, so an 81 or 85 series filter (I forget which) can be used to correct for window light.

That's a pile of data to shovel up, but it should get you started toward more accurate color reproduction.

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6/3/2003 8:59:53 AM

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