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Shooting artwork(paintings)

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 02 Sep 2010 (Thursday) 00:08   
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buurin
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A friend wants me to shoot her paintings.

I believe they are on canvas and are not behind glass...

Any links to tips? I've googled and only found some pretty basic stuff.

I'm curious about ALL aspects.. lighting, lenses(focal length), setup, etc..

Thanks

Post #1, Sep 02, 2010 00:08:50


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Karl ­ Johnston
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A lot of painters opt to have their work scanned rather than photographed.

Post #2, Sep 02, 2010 04:50:10


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SkipD
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buurin wrote in post #10834545external link
A friend wants me to shoot her paintings.

I believe they are on canvas and are not behind glass...

Any links to tips? I've googled and only found some pretty basic stuff.

I'm curious about ALL aspects.. lighting, lenses(focal length), setup, etc..

You should use a lens that lets you stay several feet from the painting and that has very little pincushion or barrel distortion. Your 100mm lens should do just fine.

You will want to do some very serious color control. You need to make sure that your monitor is properly calibrated (using both hardware - a colorimeter - and software) before attempting such a project. You will need at least a known neutral reference card and, preferably something like a Color Checker cardexternal link to get your images displaying the proper colors.

What is your background with lighting? What do you have for lighting modifiers?

Post #3, Sep 02, 2010 05:12:01


Skip Douglas
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neilwood32
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Ensure you are shooting at 90 deg to the painting.

Yes it is possible to alter the shape in PP but it does reduce the quality - better to capture i t right first time.

As Skip has said, WB is critical so do a custom WB. Even correcting in RAW might not get a 100% accurate WB.

Lightingwise, try to make sure the lighting is as even as possible. If need be use a diffuser to reduce any bright spots.

Post #4, Sep 02, 2010 07:10:01


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PhotosGuy
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How to photograph your art.external link

Photographing my Artwork

How to Photograph Artexternal link

Copying old portraits

Post #5, Sep 02, 2010 08:56:45


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20droger
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1. Use a macro lens of 100mm or longer. That's a real macro lens, not just some lens that has "Macro" on it.

2. Mount the camera absolutely perpendicular to the subject both vertically and horizontally.

3. Distance the camera so that the subject almost but not quite fills the frame. Crop later.

4. Use two equidistant and identical diffuse light sources at 45° to the subject at its centerline.

5. Use custom white balance.

Post #6, Sep 02, 2010 09:21:01 as a reply to PhotosGuy's post 24 minutes earlier.


Mad science is better than no science!

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crobs808
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Only use FF bodies to shoot artwork. It does the artist an injustice to use anything else.

1. Use FF
2. Use L glass
3. Shoot at 90 degrees (perpendicular to artwork)
4. Shoot sections/quadrants, then stick together for higher final resolution

Post #7, Sep 03, 2010 15:06:21


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buurin
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crobs808 wrote in post #10844921external link
Only use FF bodies to shoot artwork. It does the artist an injustice to use anything else.

1. Use FF
2. Use L glass
3. Shoot at 90 degrees (perpendicular to artwork)
4. Shoot sections/quadrants, then stick together for higher final resolution

Interesting feedback.. Do you really think there would be a discernable difference between my crop(30D) & prime(100f2) vs FF & L-glass?

I would think under such controlled circumstances the FF/L doesn't have much advantage.

If you were to shoot in quadrants how would you reliably move the camera around?

Post #8, Sep 03, 2010 16:12:14


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itzcryptic
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The advice about shooting only with FF is just silly IMO.

Post #9, Sep 03, 2010 19:03:11




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Fast ­ Fredy
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buurin wrote in post #10845309external link
Interesting feedback.. Do you really think there would be a discernable difference between my crop(30D) & prime(100f2) vs FF & L-glass?

The recommendation of using a real 1:1 macro lens is good. Macro lenses are designed to be sharp from "edge to edge". I have the 100f2 and it is good, but a macro lens will out perform it.

Post #10, Sep 03, 2010 20:14:46




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buurin
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Fast Fredy wrote in post #10846462external link
The recommendation of using a real 1:1 macro lens is good. Macro lenses are designed to be sharp from "edge to edge". I have the 100f2 and it is good, but a macro lens will out perform it.

Ive heard macro lenses tend to not perform well (or at least optimally) outside of the close focus distances which they are designed for...

Ive never used a true dedicated macro lens so I have no idea.

Post #11, Sep 03, 2010 21:41:10


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Canon 17-40/4.0L Canon 50/1.4 ● Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro ● 2xVivitar 285HVs ● 430EX ● Cybersync Flash Triggers ● AB800 ● AB400 ● Vagabond II

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20droger
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buurin wrote in post #10846794external link
Ive heard macro lenses tend to not perform well (or at least optimally) outside of the close focus distances which they are designed for...

Not true. Macros work supremely well out to infinity.

A true macro lens is a prime lens (there is no such thing as a zoom macro lens) that has a couple of things going for it that non-macro lenses lack: an extremely flat plane of focus; and a long focus ring travel.

A macro lens has an extremely flat plane of focus because one of its primary uses is as a copy lens. This, of course, makes it ideal for shooting artwork, which is essentially copying, where a sharp corner-to-corner focus is required.

A macro lens has a long focus ring travel because it is usually focused manually at distances where the depth of field is extremely shallow and focusing is critical. Again, this makes it ideal for shooting flat artwork, as the focus can easily be adjusted exactly on. Ideally, a split prism focus screen would be used.

Beware, however, of non-macro lenses labeled "Macro." This is purely a marketing ploy, and many lenses are so labeled. Many such lenses are truly optically atrocious.

Post #12, Sep 03, 2010 23:32:08


Mad science is better than no science!

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yogestee
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Most "normal" lenses camera weren't designed to shoot two dimensional subjects like artwork, documents or brickwalls.. Normal lenses have too much of a fall off in resolution from edge to edge, corner to corner,, and in many cases curvature of field and barrel and/or pin cushion distortion.. Zoom lenses are worse.. This kind of photography is reserved for flat field lenses which are rare and very expensive.. The best option for artwork photography are macro lenses..

Post #13, Sep 04, 2010 00:20:43 as a reply to 20droger's post 48 minutes earlier.


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cfortner
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I'd suggest exposure bracketing your shots so you can have the opportunity to create hdr photos as well.

Post #14, Sep 04, 2010 00:42:44




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buurin
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cfortner wrote in post #10847596external link
I'd suggest exposure bracketing your shots so you can have the opportunity to create hdr photos as well.

For this particular shoot I am trying to represent the artwork accurately.. My lack of experience with HDR(photomatix) makes it difficult for me to create realistic looking photos.

Also, I can't imagine the dynamic range of the artwork would require or benfit from HDR. I could be wrong.

Sounds like I am going to go with a macro lens. I am thinking the 100/f2.8 which I can rent locally.

What about lighting? I have two alienbees(ab800, ab400) and a large softbox(27"x55") & a large octobox(47") as well as 3 speedlights & unbrella.

I was thinkign just using the bee's and the octo+softbox @ 45 degrees left and right.

Thanks for all the help

Post #15, Sep 04, 2010 02:08:15


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Canon 17-40/4.0L Canon 50/1.4 ● Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro ● 2xVivitar 285HVs ● 430EX ● Cybersync Flash Triggers ● AB800 ● AB400 ● Vagabond II

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