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Photography Question 

Taking Photographs of Art

I am 100% amatuer, but I have an assignment to take pictures of another artist's work. This artist does work with copper and aluminum that is matted and framed. He wants a portfolio of his work so he needs pictures to be taken of his art. The problem is controlling the light because light reflects copper and aluminum. It's either too much light or too little light. Any suggestions of the best way to capture his art with the most efficient light possible? Oh and once again I am truly a beginner so I need baby talk :)

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9/18/2003 11:53:52 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  The simplest way is to place a gray card (you can purchase it in a camera store) on the art piece and take the exposure off the card. Make sure your own shadow does not fall on the card and the card fill your camera's viewfinder. Lock the exposure (if you have a manual camera or use "manual" function of your automatic camera) and you are fine.

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9/19/2003 6:19:43 AM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2003
  Brooke - You might also try using a polarizing filter, to cut the reflection to a degree that you will see through the lens. If you can photograph under diffuse lighting conditions (overcast day outdoors, or by placing a silk fabric between you and the light you are using inside, that can help, too.

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9/20/2003 5:32:33 PM

Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
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Shirley's Gallery
  One of my sidelines is photographing other artists' work so they'll have slides to be juried into galleries and shows. I use two bare flash units set equally apart from the piece of art in a darkened room. It helps if you have modeling lights, or lights that can be set next to the flash units, so that you can see the effect of the light prior to flash. When I have paintings or drawings behind glass, reflections are a problem, but if you put your camera on a tripod and look thru the viewfinder, you can see if there are any reflections from your lights. Each situation is different. Sometimes, I have had to turn the lights at quite an angle away from the artwork in order to eliminate reflections. Of course, you'll need a flash meter, or two dedicated flash units if you use flash.
Alternately, you can use two bulbs in reflectors, and use tungsten balanced film to counter the warmth of the lights on film. In this case, the pevious suggestion of metering off a grey card is important.

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9/24/2003 5:22:40 PM

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