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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Paula E. Marsili
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/17/2005

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
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.

12/13/2008 8:49:43 PM


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


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

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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