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Photography QnA: Photographing Paintings and Artwork

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Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Photographing Paintings and Artwork

Check out this Q&A for information on photographing paintings - digital camera or film cameras can be used. You can also look at this informative article, How to Photograph Your Paintings (Digitally) for more answers.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 13 questions

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Photography Question 
Paula E. Marsili
BetterPhoto Member
marsiliphotography.com

member since: 7/17/2005
  1 .  Photographing Artwork
Can anyone give me any suggestions for photographing artwork? A friend has an art collection that he wants me to photograph for the purpose of sending these photos to a museum to inquire if they would be interested in exhibiting his collection. I am not a studio photographer so I do not have all the lighting equipment one would probably use for this. I have been told in the past that photographing things outside on a sunny day in the shade is the way to go. Anything else?? Thanks in advance.

12/13/2008 2:05:38 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Tripod
Manual white balance
North window light

Good Luck!

12/13/2008 8:01:13 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Paul ! Is this a copyright question dressed up in 'photography for reproduction' clothing, kind of like your collage question above ? Don't forget a written contract covering you, usage, release, etc. signed by the artist, friend or no friend.
M.

12/13/2008 8:49:43 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Like Pete said: No special lighting gear needed. A north-facing window provides the best light possible. A (D-I-Y) reflector may come in handy to soften and open up shadows, and model the subject's texture.
Plus: set ISO 100. And pay special attention to the camera's position relative to the artwork to avoid perspective distortion. A grid in the viewfinder, or a bubble level in the hotshoe will help.
For the same reason – avoiding perspective distortion – I would use a 100mm focal length lens. Which, depending on the size of the artwork, may mean that you need to step back from it: increase the camera-subject distance.
Also I would shoot Raw and bracket, to leave myself as much editing latitude as possible. And later, in PP, you ONLY work on copies!
Have fun!

12/13/2008 9:47:12 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  One more thing... use the selftimer, set at 10 seconds, to release the shutter, to allow for the tripod/camera/lens combo to REALLY finish swinging/moving before the shutter pops.

12/13/2008 9:55:50 PM

Andrew  R. Cohen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/15/2004
  The key to photographing art work such as paintings,photos or any "flat work" is to have your light source at a 45 degree angle to the subject matter. Ideally, two lights set at equal distances to the subject will do the trick- since you don't have studio equipment,two lamps of equal power will do but make sure you set your white balance to indoor lighting. If this is still somewhat of a challenge, the old north light, as long as the light is coming at 45 degrees will provide the results looked for- but in each case, your lens should be any where from 80mm to 150mm, and if possible use a tripod- Good luck!

12/16/2008 6:25:37 AM

Paula E. Marsili
BetterPhoto Member
marsiliphotography.com

member since: 7/17/2005
  Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I will do my best to use the information wisely. And NO Mark F., this is not a disguised question. There will be no photography for reproduction going on. The man simply wants to be able to give the museum a disc of photos that represent the collection of orininal art that he will be offering to them for exhibition.

12/20/2008 11:59:03 AM

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Photography Question 


member since: 11/3/2008
  2 .  Photographing Paintings
I've been trying to photograph my oil and pastel paintings for reproduction using my Digital Rebel XT with the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. My work varies in size frm 5x7" to 24x48". I have not been able to get a really sharp image except on very rare occasions. Often I have to click the shutter button a few times to get it to focus when I am in autofocus using a single focus point. I've tried using the various av settings. I'm locking the mirror. I'm using a tripod. I'm using autofocus and then switching to manual and just manual focus. I've tried using a picture of a grid to set the focus point. I'm zooming all the way in. I'm using custom white balance. Do I need a different lens? What lens would be the best for this purpose that will also be the most economical?

11/3/2008 7:49:07 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  1) Zoom lenses deliver inherently softer focus images than fixed focus lenses of equal focal length.
2) 18-55mm = 29-88mm in 35mm equivalent. 88mm is too short for sufficient perspective distortion compensation. Between 100 and 135mm results in less distortion. Perspective distortion may contribute to the softer focus.
3) insufficient light may also contribute to apparent focal softness.
For working from tripod the ideal lens, in my opinion, from a technical and image quality point of view, would be the EF 135mm f/2L USM.
Using the self-timer, to let the camera/tripod combo stop swinging before the shutters pops, could also improve image quality.
It may also be worth your while to consider a reproduction stand with 2, or preferably 4, quartz lights.
Have fun!

11/3/2008 9:35:22 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  With the DRebel XT, I'd use the EF 50 f/1.8. Less than $100 and very sharp. This gives you good working distance for the larger works, but as W mentioned, you'll be a bit close for the 5x7 (~18"). You might go for a longer macro lens for improved "flat field" performance (so the edges of the frame remain in the same plane of focus as the center), such as the EF 100 f/2.8 USM, or similar from Sigma or Tamron.

Shoot at f/8, where the lens is sharpest. Depth of field is not a concern with a subject that has no depth, like a painting. Just make sure the camera is mounted perpendicular and centered relative to the painting. Use diffused lighting, no direct flash.

11/3/2008 11:50:24 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
I'd like to add: a bubble level and/or a grid in the viewfinder will serve you well for this type of work where dead-on horizontals and perpendiculars are so important.

And if you use ambient light - diffused, as Jon pointed out - it is important to carefully set/calibrate the White Balance.
A (D-I-Y) reflector can be very useful.

Of course if you shoot RAW you can eek out every last ounce of image quality, color control, and texture rendering that's in the raw file. Skilfull application of HDR, tonemapping, blending exposures, and editing – in CS3 and/or Photomatix – can get you amazingly detailed and eye-pleasing results.

Here's an exercise performed on a 24mp JPG from Sony's A900, B4&After: http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll173/HMrepository/A24mpJPGHDR-ed.jpg

11/3/2008 9:10:11 PM

Bob Friedman

member since: 6/10/2002
  I agree with most of the above but I would use the 50mm Macro and the 100mm macro. I used to shoot painting professionally for Giclee's for artists like Peter Maxx, Karen Stein, etc. Strong tripod, electronic release or self timer, and continuous soft light are key ingredients. I used an eyepeice magnifier and manually focused. I found an old finder magnifier for a film minolta that just happened to fit my Canon D20. A little loose but dirt cheap. make sure your square and centered to art work. For smaller work a copy stand is the best. Oh a right angle minolta finder also fits for use on the copy stand.

11/4/2008 3:44:48 AM

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Photography Question 
Bill Griggs

member since: 9/30/2006
  3 .  Best Lens to Capture Art?
I have a Nikon D70 and I would like to know the best recommended type of lens to use for photographing fine art for reproduction. I'd be looking for very little distortion, clarity, sharpness and fine detail. Most images would be shot between 2' and 15' from the camera.

5/21/2008 5:51:53 PM

  Hi Bill,
I have an article here about lighting art copy work, and you can see it at: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=170. The best lens for copy work is a macro lens, like the Micro Nikkor 60mm. The key is to get a fixed focal length lens, not something that has as many functions as a Swiss army knife and also does macro. Thanks, John Siskin

5/21/2008 6:03:33 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Ideally you want to minimize perspective distortion. That dictates stepping back as far as possible and using a focal length as long as possible. Obviously, a tripod is a no-brainer. As is a bubble level. Lighting is next... You have only started, Bill!
Not so long ago this was the preserve of large-format photographers with bellows cameras that were tiltable along 3 axes (what is the plural of 'axis'?). And their stunningly magnificent very large size prints have yet to be matched by anything digital!
Have fun!

5/21/2008 6:14:41 PM

  View cameras are the best! John Siskin

5/21/2008 6:17:45 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
So, on balance, perhaps the Rodenstock 210mm f/5.6 Caltar II-N is the best lens to capture art.

Unless it's Christo's, of course...

5/21/2008 9:13:28 PM

  Hi W.S.
One of the apochromats or the process lenses, like the Artars or the Fujinon A Series might be better as they have a flatter field and better color correction. Also they are optimized for a closer distance. But you would need a Calumet Betterlight back or film to make use of such a lens. Thanks, John Siskin

5/21/2008 9:22:54 PM

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Photography Question 
Sandra Wortmann

member since: 9/23/2004
  4 .  Photographing Artwork
A local artist asked me if I would photograph her work, and then they could get prints made from those photos. What lighting would be best to use? I have studio lights - umbrellas and softboxes. What about what focal length to use so there is no distortion and that it would be close enough that would be very clear and detailed? Thanks!

11/19/2007 6:24:29 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Hi Sandy,
If it is flat artwork, scanning is a much faster, much easier way for digitizing it than "reproduction photography". Have fun!

11/19/2007 8:14:19 PM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Sandra, you don't say how large the artwork is. If you're talking about poster-size or bigger, then scanning would not be the way to go. For that matter, if the artwork is oil on canvas, with a lot of texture in the paint, then again a flatbed isn't going to do.
That said, if the artwork is actually flat (paintings, for example), then a lens designed to have a flatter plane of focus would be best.
Let me explain: With a regular lens, the zone of focus is actually described by the surface of a sphere. If depth of field is ignored, when you focus at 10 feet away, the actual layer that will be sharp are all the points exactly 10 feet from the focal point of the lens - and the area described by measuring 10 feet from a point is a sphere.
What this translates to in the real world is that if you are taking the picture of a flat subject and get the center in precise focus, the corners of the subject will be less sharp.
Of course, DOF allows for some "slop" with all this, so using a smaller aperture will ensure better focus all around. But some lenses were made with corrections to "flatten" the focus plane - Nikon's 50MM Micro lens is an example (it was often used to take shots of documents).
So if you use a Nikon camera, you could get a used 50mm Micro (macro) lens. I frankly do not know if the current 60mm Nikkor macro lens is similarly designed, or if Canon or anyone else has something similar.
Again, though, with a small enough aperture to give deep DOF (and a tripod to keep things rock steady), you should be okay. As for focal length, this depends on the size of the artwork and the size of your studio - and keep to something at the normal or slight telephoto side as wide-angle lenses tend to be prone to barrel distortion.
One more thing: You might want to investigate a program called DxO Optics Pro. This is a package that takes digital files and makes corrections for optical and chromatic abherrations - so it could make further corrections to the images.

11/19/2007 8:45:08 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
If the artwork originals are larger than the scanner's platen (glass plate), you could scan it in parts and stitch those seamlessly together on your PC.

11/19/2007 8:57:29 PM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Ah, of course - that's the easy way! Why didn't I think of that? Oh wait, I did - but it still won't help if the artwork itself has dimensionality - like oil paintings where the brushstrokes are thick.

11/20/2007 4:43:42 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Yes it does!
Scan your own hand, or a real flower, and SEE for yourself!
And then meticulously clean the platen . . .

11/20/2007 3:42:19 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  Sounds like the artist would like to make a series of sellable prints from her original paintings. IMO, the important thing here is quality. Her print customers are going to want to believe they're buying a little piece of her and so the print must be absolutely sharp.
This CAN be done with a d-SLR, but you'd want to ensure that you captured enough information to be able to print at the printer's native resolution at full-size.
Let's say the artist wants to sell 16x20-inch limited-edition prints. I'm going to use an Epson 4800 to print them on, and I want 360 dpi for the best quality. That means I need to have an image that is at least 5760x7200 pixels in size, or about 42 MB.
If I were doing this job with my personal equipment (Sigma SD14), I'd take a 3x3 multi-row panorama using an 85mm to 105mm macro lens. I'd want to be off at a distance to minimize any lens distortion and I'd shoot at f/8 to f/11. I'd make sure I had absolutely flat lighting from multiple sources so that any ridges or texture on the image would not show shadows.
I do have one shot somewhat like this on my gallery ... it's actually the ceiling mural, made with a 3x3 multi-row panorama using a Fuji F30 6 MP digicam!

11/21/2007 1:41:11 PM

Steve Parrott
LightAnon.com

member since: 9/4/2004
  I have done this many, many times. You can get very good results with any decent DSLR and lens combo. Just be sure your lighting is even and glare free on the artwork. Your studio lights with umbrellas should do fine, preferably with white umbrellas. Shoot RAW and use an ACCURATE grey card such as made by WhiBal for your initial shot. Then in the RAW converter you can click on the grey card to set the correct white balance... remember the color needs to be RIGHT when shooting someone's artwork. Use a small aperture, something around F11 will put you in the "sweet spot" of your lens where you will not have any pin cushion or barrel distortion to speak of. Be sure to use a tripod and have your lens level and plumb with the artwork. If the artwork is small enough, it can sometimes be best to place it on the floor and shoot down. If you must shoot the art in an upright position, be sure it is not leaning. Secure it flat against a wall if you must. You will still likely have to crop out outside backgrounds when you have the photo in the computer. Be sure and tell the client that the artwork is not likely to be of the same aspect ratio of an 8 x 10 or 16 x 20 or whatever, so it will have to be "dropped" into a sized canvas in PS if they are wanting a "standard" sized print from it. Use a QUALITY lab to do the printing. They will use a RIP program to upsize the photo so your will not have to worry excessively about native resolution. M Pix has always done great work for me.

11/27/2007 7:07:54 AM

Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  I have heard that shooting artwork outside on a overcast day can work well!

11/27/2007 11:32:23 AM

  Hi Sandra,
I have done this professionally for many years. You may want to check out an article I wrote about it: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=170
Thanks, John Siskin

11/27/2007 6:40:08 PM

Milan Banik
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/10/2005
  thank you all for great support with this discussion.this will help me too.
thanks
milan

12/7/2007 5:30:50 AM

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Photography Question 
Mary E. Heinz
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/23/2005
  5 .  How to Photograph a Painting
What's the best advice for taking a photo of a painting?

2/26/2007 9:28:46 AM

  Hi Mary,
I posted this article about copying artwork ... I hope it helps! How to Copy Artwork
Thanks, John Siskin

2/26/2007 11:43:11 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Mary,
The material must be uniformly illuminated in glare free light. If you don’t have a copy set-up, take the work outside. Place in full shade or better, wait for a highly overcast day. Always remove cover glass.

Place camera on a tripod and make sure the camera is square on, dead center, perpendicular to the work.
If you can’t fully eliminate glare and reflections by lighting technique, mount a polarizing filter on your camera. The filter mount must allow the filter to be rotated. As you observe through viewfinder or LCD screen, turn the filter (rotate) for maximum reflection cancellation.

If this is to become routine, invest in a copy set-up. Polarizing filters on the copy stand lights as well as camera can be helpful. Can’t work outside, no copy set-up? Use ordinary pin-up lamps from the hardware store, Mount two lamps at 45° placed off to side. Increased lamp to subject distance insurers uniformity. Sometimes, with a causal set-up, bouncing the light off the ceiling is best.
Alan Marcus

2/26/2007 11:52:50 AM

Michael H. Cothran

member since: 10/21/2004
  Hi Mary -
The good news is that you don't need any fancy equipment. Two lights is all you need - about 45° to the painting, one on each side of the camera. Furthermore, you don't even need light modifiers such as soft boxes or umbrellas. This is due to the angle of light.
The secret, however, is in even illumination. You will achieve this best by using a hand meter. Take a reading from each corner of the painting, and one from the middle. Move the lights until you get the same reading from each spot.
While I have a lot of fancy studio lighting, I can say from years of experience that simplicity rules in flat subjects.
Michael H. Cothran

2/27/2007 5:27:36 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Just to add to the already good advice; you may consider manually white balancing with a gray card, especially if the art is very colorful.


Pete

2/27/2007 8:39:38 PM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Thanks everyone, I appreciated the information also!
Nancy

3/1/2007 12:44:51 PM

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Photography Question 
Dimitris 

member since: 5/6/2005
  6 .  How to Avoid Glare from Flash on Paintings
I am having problems photographing byzantine icons. These are either framed in glass or not, and they have golden or silver areas. As I cannot move them from their place (they are hanged in churches and some of them are 2m high and 1m wide), the natural light is not enough, so I use a diffuser and a flash to light them but there appear areas that are more lighted than others. Any idea how to get rid of them during the photographing? Which is the proper arrangement of the equipment (diffuser etc.)? I use a digital SLR.

5/6/2005 2:34:36 PM

Laura Roth

member since: 3/16/2005
  I would perhaps suggest:
-Use a tripod
-Turn off the flash
-Set your camera on an aperture priority mode so that it'll set a longer shutter speed to expose for natural light.
That's about all that might help, other than setting up a large extra light (don't think churches would go for that).

5/9/2005 12:13:31 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Dimitris: I photograph a lot of artwork for reproduction in books and catalogs - mostly paintings, both oil and watercolor. I'll offer the whole technique; then you can pick and choose what aspect, if any, you want to try.
To do this right, you first need the painting at camera level, set on an easel or some kind of table that you can make plumb, square and level to the camera lens. Likewise, the camera has to be square, plumb and level to the painting. A view camera works best for this, although I've pulled it off using 35mm and medium formats as well. A tripod, as Laura mentioned, is pretty much mandatory, as is a lens hood or lens shade. A tape measure, or some kind of laser-measuring device for checking distances, is handy to have too.
Your lighting has to be balanced, and equal. Remember that angle of incidence is equal to angle of reflection. I usually use two studio lights of 1000 w/s each, having UV coated flash tubes or UV filter on your lens. Organic pigments used in oil colors tend to fluoresce under UV light, and that fluorescence causes parts of the painting to appear as though they're glowing and color shift.
The lights are positioned at 45 degrees to either side of the camera, set equal distance from the centerline of the picture.
Using a diffuser isn't much help, because all that does is soften the light output. If it's not set at a proper angle to the work, you'll still see hot spots or glare, or some areas of the painting may be washed out. And to avoid that you need balanced lighting anyway, from two sources.
If either your lights aren't set correctly, (and doing this well with an on camera flash is nearly impossible) or if your picture is out of square to the camera, then chances are you'll see some kind of glare or unwanted reflection in the final image. If the painting is framed in glass, it's still doable but much trickier. Most of the time, I have the gallery or artist remove the glass. Even a polarizing filter isn't much help photographing art work because the colors or contrast are inaccurate.
Also, in at least one frame of each painting, I attach a color card and Kodak gray scale card to the tops of the frame to help the printer match the color or find the right contrast for reproduction.
In situations where you can't move the painting, then you need to go to it. In a church, that may involve using something like a rolling scaffold with lights clamped to either side of the support rail. We did that recently for a series of churches in New Jersey. It also included shooting all the stained glass for Dow Corning. YIKES!!! Compared to that, the paintings were a piece of cake. It's all about knowing how to use, what type to use, how much to use, and how to control your lighting.
Take it errrr ... light ;>)

5/9/2005 1:45:07 PM

Kim Moyle

member since: 7/13/2004
  I read about a cool technique for getting rid of glare but never had a chance to try it, its pretty low tech and seems easy to pull off. Simple take a large sheet of black paper and cut a lens sized hole through it, then simply shoot through the hole, as long as the black paper is the same size or larger then the icon then there shouldn't be any glare. You will have to use off camera lighting, but the black paper should cut back on any ambient lighting that you may not be able to controll.

5/10/2005 6:02:46 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Hi, Dimitris. I am Byzantine Catholic and we have the same icons in our churches. No need for artificial lighting. I use Laura's technique (available light, tripod, no flash), and I use a blue filter to compensate for the tungsten lighting. I don't do digital yet, so I don't know much about white balance & stuff. I use an 80A for slide film, but for print film I use 82B and the lab takes care of any remainding color cast.

5/10/2005 10:36:55 AM

Joe 

member since: 2/7/2005
  I have shot a lot of paintings and I find that the best way is to use two softboxes (larger than the painting's height). Set them on either side of the painting pointing directly at each other (parallel to the painting). This will wash light across the painting and produce no glare since the angle of incidence won't point back to your camera. Put the camera on a tripod, use a long lens (I used to use a 360mm on my 4x5 view camera) and use a lens hood. Use black artboard to shield the lens from the lights if you don't have a hood. It also helps to shoot in a dimly-lit or dark room since the sheen of the painting (especially oil or acrylic) will pick up specular highlights from ambient light sources. Hope this helps. Using these techniques will yield very saturated colors. If you are shooting digital, invest in a $5 gray card to properly white balance the camera for the lighting used and you should come up real accuarate. Good luck!

5/10/2005 2:03:34 PM

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Photography Question 
Jackie Sevier

member since: 7/20/2004
  7 .  Photographing Artworks
Show applications require slide applications. I'd like to photograph my miniature works (approx 3" x 6") and fill up the whole slide rather than have a lot of silver tape blocking out the borders. I think I need a macro but have no idea which one and where to begin looking. As you know, good slides make all the difference in getting accepted in national shows. Thanks.

7/20/2004 6:27:15 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  A 50-60mm macro lens will produce the best corner-to-corner sharpness. You can probably find a used manual-focus macro in your camera mount for not a lot of money.
I would suggest a copy-stand type setup with a fine-grain tungsten-balanced slide film.
Shoot straight down to the image with the two light sources at 45 degrees. For a full frame, you will need to position the camera and lens at 10" away (measured from the center of the artwork to the film plane).
In 35mm format, you will lose some of the image on the long end (I think it will be closer to 3" x 5", or so.)... or you could place a piece of black foam-core or poster board under your works and give the slides a black border. Hope this helps.

7/20/2004 7:17:54 PM

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Photography Question 
Betty Amirault

member since: 9/1/2003
  8 .  How to Shoot a Document That Is Behind Glass
I have an Olympus D-460 Zoom camera and have some documents that are behind glass that can't be taken out of their frames. How do I get a proper picture? I have tried several times, but my lighting is off - so I end up getting a reflection of myself or whatever is around glaring from the glass.

3/30/2004 5:01:21 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Turn off the camera's flash. Most museums don't allow use of flash anyway as the light from flash deteriorates paper, fades ink, etc. Try to block the reflections from the sides with a dark sheet, or coat, or hat. Getting the camera closer to the glass helps. Use a rubber lens hood - then, if you hold the camera so that the hood is against the glass case, you won't get any reflection.

3/31/2004 9:31:44 AM

Dave Moffatt

member since: 10/12/2000
  Also try to use a polarizing filter if you still need to eliminate glare. It will cut down on the light coming into the lens so you might need to use a tripod or some other way to stabilize the camera for a longer exposure. But polarizers in my experience will almost totally eliminate glare, reflections, etc., if you eperiment with them (I have a circular one and if I look thru the view finder while turning it I can see now the polarizer changes the exposure and choose what looks best).

4/5/2004 7:41:53 AM

Betty Amirault

member since: 9/1/2003
 
 
  Geo & Paul
Geo & Paul
 
  ethel school diploma
ethel school diploma
 
 
I have written a reply to your help,but Ididn't ahve the pictures that I was talking about close by. I do now & would like you to take a look.

4/5/2004 12:35:26 PM

  Hi Betty. If you are talking about your own framed documents which have glass over them, then the setup is fairly simple. Set up in a room where you can eliminate any outside light or daylight from coming in. Then you'll need two lights to put one pointing at each side of your document to light it evenly. Look through your camera lens and check for glare on the glass. If you see glare, move the lights around until you no longer see glare on the glass when looking through the camera lens. If using tungsten lights, you'll need to either filter for correction, or use tungsten balanced film. If you have two flashes or studio lights, which are my setup, you'll need a flash meter to get correct exposure.

4/5/2004 3:25:31 PM

Betty Amirault

member since: 9/1/2003
  thanks for the info. I will try that when I get a chance. Thanks all for the suggestions. Right now I am busy getting ready for a reunion in NS this summer & trying to get all the genealogy together.

4/5/2004 8:31:57 PM

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Photography Question 
Reno Massimino II

member since: 3/26/2004
  9 .  How to Shoot Glass Art
I have a unique chance to photograph artists who create glass sculptures. This is the first time I have ever shot a subject like this. What lenses and/or filters do you recommend that I use to take full advantage of this opportunity? I will be photographing the artists, their process from designing to production of a piece, and then the finished colored glass art. I use a Canon D60. Thank you in advance.

3/26/2004 2:17:39 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Lens choice will depend upon the size of the finished product and how close you are able to get to it, and the artist. Any lens from standard size to portrait (50-120mm) with close-focusing capability should work. Try backlighting the finished product to accentuate its shape and detail.

3/26/2004 4:16:43 AM

Charles Dias

member since: 6/3/2002
 
 
 
To shoot glassware, try to use side lights, lights from above or below it. You can also use a dark cloth or base to stand the glass piece, and a light background - so you´ll get the object in dark shades against the light background. The reverse would work too - light stand and dark background.As you´re using a DSLR, take care with the correct adjustment of the white balance. I suggest you use concentrated dichroic continuous light sources ... cheap and effective. Another tip: You can use a cross screen filter to get some light "star shape" sparkling ... in some cases it´s cool.

3/30/2004 11:01:25 AM

Dev Mukherjee

member since: 12/21/2002
  Do not forget about the opportunity to shoot the artist with his/her piece of artwork, with a moderate wide-angle lens (28 or 35). Also, make sure you catch the pride in the artist's eyes when you take this photo. If you see a lot of glare in the glass or unwanted reflections, you might try a polarizer. You could try it both ways - with and without a polarizer - and see which shot is better.

3/30/2004 3:08:34 PM

  Charles had the best suggestions for shooting the glass objects. I shot glass sculptures in an art gallery for their catalog of the show. The pieces ranged in size from very small to quite large. I had the best results from using indirect lighting. I used my two studio lights, which also have modeling lights, so I can see ahead of time where the flash will fall. What works for one piece may not work for another. You have to move your lights around until you see what best shows off each piece. Some looked best with a bit of backlight to show their design in the translucency of the glass. Most of all, try to avoid hot spots, or glare, on the glass, if possible. As always, a good tripod is a must.

4/5/2004 3:33:10 PM

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Photography Question 
Ann F. Nermoe
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2002
  10 .  How to Shoot Artwork
I am assigned to shoot pictures of artwork at a local gallery. There are all different types of art and the lighting in the gallery is not the greatest. I have a Canon G2 Powershot. What is the best method in shooting these paintings. Some have to stay on the wall, some I can remove and take outside and use natural light. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

10/6/2003 8:23:43 AM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Ann,
Try this thread about shooting paintings:

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/qnaAll.asp?catID=183

10/6/2003 8:44:14 AM

  Use a tripod with natural light and long exposures with the pictures on the wall. Even if the existing light is dull, you can add light by exposing for a longer period of time than the camera indicates is proper exposure. This could be as long as 1 minute or longer depending on the light. Can your G2 make very long exposures?

10/6/2003 10:48:04 AM

Ann F. Nermoe
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2002
  I'm not sure since I have shot so much on auto. I'm learning manual and this will be a good exercise. I appreciate your quick response and I'll go try that method.

10/6/2003 11:04:38 AM

James Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  Hi Ann,

You can also get a few tips by reading How To Shoot Paintings in our Articles section at BetterPhoto.

10/14/2003 10:48:56 PM

Ann F. Nermoe
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2002
  Thanks so much, Jim. I've just printed out all the info and will keep it to study.

10/15/2003 9:19:58 AM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Ann, I just realized that the link I posted is a link to this thread! How stupid I am! I meant to direct you to another thread that discusses photographing artwork, but now I can't seem to find it!

Anyhoo - Jim has provided some good info. YOu might also check out the Web Photo School. I believe they have a detailed lesson on this very subject. I'm not sure, but you might need to sign up in order to access the lesson. Check the free ones first. It's only $60 for a year's membership. $20 for one month's worth of lessons - they usually post about 3-4 new lessons per month on various digital -- and straight photographic -- techniques.

10/15/2003 10:18:29 AM

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