Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Jul 2018 (Monday) 18:13
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Photographing paintings behind glass

 
DaveC426913
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
     
Jul 02, 2018 18:13 |  #1

I have a collection of hundreds of watercolour paintings by my father that I plan to put into a coffee table book for all my family. At least half of them are framed already.

I've been reading up on photographing framed artwork, but I've got a few questions - and would certainly appreciate any other advice you have.

I have access to a large dark space, so I can minimize ambient light, which would show reflections of my equipment.
I have two lights with old aluminum 12" bell-like reflectors, which I'll angle at greater than 45 degrees from axis, and that I hope will cast mostly directional light, so they won't light up my equipment directly (I'll add barn doors / baffles if I have to).

But of course, the artwork itself will definitely light up the gear. I'll suspend a black sheet with a hole for my lens to poke through, but I suspect I'll still see the reflection.

I'll use a shutter release, so's'n I don't see my own ugly mug in the pic.

?'s:

Is there any better way of ensuring my gear isn't reflected in the image?

Are two lights sufficient? I want to have them properly lit, and I know the more lights you have, the more even the lighting is. (I've spent too many hours in Photoshop trying to eliminate the parabolae of uneven light on pictures.

What types of bulbs? I guess they have to be the same if I only have two. But are there particular bulbs I should get?

How can I be sure they are all correctly white-balanced? Do I take 2 pictures of every piece, one with a colour card?

I haven't figured out how RAW format would make my job easier, especially considering the extra step it takes. I suppose though, at least I can control the lossy compression, rather than relying on the camera's settings.

More questions to follow.

Thanks in advance for you help.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)
Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
Avatar
9,005 posts
Gallery: 11 photos
Likes: 1937
Joined Jun 2011
Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
     
Jul 02, 2018 18:15 |  #2

What size are the paintings?


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Tony-S
Cream of the Crop
Avatar
9,903 posts
Likes: 199
Joined Jan 2006
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
     
Jul 03, 2018 07:01 |  #3

DaveC426913 wrote in post #18655298 (external link)
I have two lights with old aluminum 12" bell-like reflectors, which I'll angle at greater than 45 degrees from axis, and that I hope will cast mostly directional light, so they won't light up my equipment directly (I'll add barn doors / baffles if I have to).

This is how it was done in the "old days". You might consider a polarizer as well.


"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
     
Jul 03, 2018 09:15 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #4

Paintings average 16x20 but go up to 30x40 .




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
NDAPhoto
Member
206 posts
Gallery: 1 photo
Likes: 70
Joined Jul 2015
Location: California
Post edited 4 months ago by NDAPhoto.
     
Jul 03, 2018 09:30 |  #5

You do not mention the specific light source which is the fundamental thing. Are the bulbs tungsten, incandescent, fluorescent, LED? Generally, you want high wattage and diffuse light, therefore the advantage of strobes instead. Nonetheless, when shooting images behind glass, you will be much better off using soft boxes or scrims rather than a bare bulb with reflector alone. Color temperature is determined by your bulb type. You can use a color checker, but if you know the color temperature of the bulb to start, you can adjust in-camera much easier. Size of the art does matter because it is relative to getting even light. So again wattage and diffusion are important since they determine how far your light sources can be from the subject. As for minimizing your own reflection, you can use flags (black board or fabric) between you and the lights to block the spill from the sides.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
ksbal
Goldmember
Avatar
2,585 posts
Gallery: 331 photos
Best ofs: 9
Likes: 2022
Joined Sep 2010
Location: N.E. Kansas
     
Jul 03, 2018 10:07 |  #6

I've done this once with a very large under glass work, and I ended up creating a 'black tent' instead of a white tent. Otherwise, the reflections are just a pain in the rear. Polarizing gels for the light source may help as well. Good luck.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
     
Jul 03, 2018 10:31 |  #7

NDAPhoto wrote in post #18655601 (external link)
You do not mention the specific light source which is the fundamental thing. Are the bulbs tungsten, incandescent, fluorescent, LED?.

Indeed. One of MY questions is 'what bulbs should I get/use'?




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
Avatar
9,005 posts
Gallery: 11 photos
Likes: 1937
Joined Jun 2011
Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
Post edited 4 months ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 03, 2018 14:06 |  #8

Black drape or not, even the camera lens can/will reflect in glass.

One approach is to light the original brightly and have the camera far enough back that any light falling on it is not seen. Obviously this requires space and a long lens. Don't get too hung up on the 45 degree rule, sure they need to be out of the way but the main thing is having them equally spaced so that you create a circle of light that is relatively equal from corner to corner and in the center. If you don't have a light meter, placing a white piece of paper as large as your largest original help you evaluate the lighting on a computer ... use RGB 0-255 values.

Another set up needs less space and relies on getting the reflection shown to be in another part of the room. It doesn't take much to move the camera out of the reflection. You can rely on light fall off, or put a black cloth up. Obviously this requires some post work to straighten.

Oh, most definitely have 4 identical lights ... bulbs and housings. "Black Body" lights (incandescent) are full spectrum. Color temp is easily fixed, missing parts of the spectrum with LEDs and CFLs is sometimes not so easy.


HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
     
Jul 03, 2018 18:18 |  #9

My entire basement is currently empty, so I have a 20x40 room to play with.

Yeah, a white board is what I planned to use to evaluate the distribution of light.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
PhotosGuy
Moderator
Avatar
75,594 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
Likes: 2343
Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
     
Jul 03, 2018 21:47 |  #10

DaveC426913 wrote in post #18655298 (external link)
How can I be sure they are all correctly white-balanced? Do I take 2 pictures of every piece, one with a colour card?

Custom White Balance (CWB).


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
-Duck-
my head is usually in the way
Avatar
1,626 posts
Gallery: 15 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 617
Joined Apr 2016
Location: Shelton, CT USA
Post edited 4 months ago by -Duck-. (3 edits in all)
     
Jul 03, 2018 22:37 |  #11

My first question is, "why can't you remove the paintings from their frames?" That would be the easiest method to avoid glare.

A local photographer here did a lot of high end artwork photography and his setup was surprisingly simple. Two lights, left and right, cross lighting the surface of the artwork to reveal paint and paper texture (without glass). He uses a large format view camera with a line scanner attached but the camera is set square to the artwork so the lens is roughly in the middle of the artwork. This avoids distortion (keystoning). For color balance he uses a Colorchecker. I do believe his lights are polarized, if memory serves me. I haven't talked to him in a few years and he might actually be retired now.

I would strongly suggest removing the paintings from their frames in order to get the most precise representation of his artwork. The key will be balancing the light so it doesn't wash out colors, specially any soft, pastel like colors.

Good luck.

P. S. He used daylight balanced fluorescent lights (two banks of four lights each, left and right) to light the artwork. Hope this helps.


"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
Unitas Photography (external link)Blog (external link)Facebook (external link)Flickr (external link)

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
That's my line!
Avatar
9,005 posts
Gallery: 11 photos
Likes: 1937
Joined Jun 2011
Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
     
Jul 04, 2018 00:47 |  #12

DaveC426913 wrote in post #18655856 (external link)
My entire basement is currently empty, so I have a 20x40 room to play with.

Yeah, a white board is what I planned to use to evaluate the distribution of light.

You are set up great. Long lens and you will be far enough away it won't matter at all.

This is a set up I was going to post a proper pic of in another thread, but here's a phone pic.

You can correct and batch process a "skew" on each image, if you really want to be precise.

Look close at the pic to see the lines and two center points that I set up for two different size originals


HOSTED PHOTO
please log in to view hosted photos in full size.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
Post edited 4 months ago by DaveC426913. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 04, 2018 18:36 |  #13

-Duck- wrote in post #18655953 (external link)
My first question is, "why can't you remove the paintings from their frames?" That would be the easiest method to avoid glare.

1] *Hundreds* of works. AND I'd have to put them all back again.

2] Because I'd still have to put them under glass to flatten them out. (That's what I have to do with all the unframed ones.) Watercolour paintings are notoriously rumply, far more than any other kind of painting.

-Duck- wrote in post #18655953 (external link)
The key will be balancing the light so it doesn't wash out colors, specially any soft, pastel like colors.

Indeed. Watercolours are also notoriously hard to shoot to capture the subtleties of washes.

I fear this may be one of my biggest headaches - custom adjustments in brightness to highlight washes.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
     
Jul 04, 2018 18:41 |  #14

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18655989 (external link)
You can correct and batch process a "skew" on each image, if you really want to be precise.

I like the idea, but the sizes are as varied as the paintings. So I can't batch them.

That is, unless I shot every painting - even the 8x10s - as if they are as large as the largest 30x40, then cropped them all individually.

But I might try to find some compromise. Shoot all similar-sized paintings in batches, and set up the skew a batch at a time.




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
DaveC426913
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
56 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Apr 2007
Post edited 4 months ago by DaveC426913. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 04, 2018 18:47 |  #15

PhotosGuy wrote in post #18655934 (external link)
Custom White Balance (CWB).

Is this a camera setting?

I wonder if it will be preserved across a range of exposures, as I shoot various sizes, having to zoom in or out as-needed. I guess as long as I don't move the lights themselves, the exposures should remain constant.

Will it survive changes in matte? i.e. a white matte will have an overall reflection brighter than a navy matte.
(Though I'll be cropping the mattes out.)




  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

3,492 views & 4 likes for this thread
Photographing paintings behind glass
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is Benas
706 guests, 261 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6430, that happened on Dec 03, 2017

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.