View Full Version : Shooting Art

07-27-2005, 01:35 PM
This is a tough subject, at least for me. I have two questions:

Do you have any general hints?

and: This is my set up, do you have any specific advice?

I shoot bouncing a 300 watt construction halogen off a warmish white wall, shining a 150 watt "color corrected" incandescent in a reflector directly on the painting, and using the old various temperature fluorescent lights that probably don't have much impact. I use an 18% gray card to set white balance, and use my 50mm 1.8 because I think it is reasonably sharp. The camera sits on a tripod, I try to eyeball it to be on a perpendicular to the center of the canvas. I use 6.3 as the aperture, because I hope it is a good compromise between sharp and not too long an exposure. I use the self timer, but not mirror lock up, and this (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6190&page=13&pp=10) is an example from another thread of the results. It was an 1/4 second exposure at 100 ISO.

I hope this doesn't count as cross posting...

Any comments appreciated.


07-28-2005, 08:02 AM
It's hard to comment without knowing what the art looks like to begin with. It sounds like you are more careful than I am at shooting art. I paint in water colors, and I like to shoot what I paint afterwards. I am very much an amateur when it comes to painting and photography.

My goal when I shoot a painting is to make the photo as close to the painting as possible, which I am sure you do as well. I don't quite have the setup you do, and I think yours sounds good.

Generally, I always manually set the white balance (as you do), and I bracket the exposure to get the correct setting. The next thing I do is take the photo over to the computer and photoshop and make some minor corrections to color to get the right settings. It is important to be careful and not make any automatic corrections, balancing, etc... I am sure you know that. I also find it very important to be sure that the monitor is calibrated right.

I suppose my method wouldn't work so well if I were in an art museum, but my photos generally turn out quite close to what I want, so I can't complain.

By the way, your photo looks great as does the painting.


07-31-2005, 11:06 PM
Thanks for your comments,

I have some sort of problem with either my printer or my monitor calibration. First, when I look at the value scale at the bottom of the page (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/) I can't differentiate the three lightest values. Second, my prints tend to compress the darks.

I use my camera for two distinct purposes. One is for reference for paintings, and one is to document the final painting. The prints are important for the reference material.

For web use, I hope the photos look the same on a well calibrated monitor as they do on mine, but checking seems difficult. My page below looks reasonable on the other computers I have seen it on, but there is always about a 20 minute gap between the last time I saw my photos on my computer, and the time I see it on another. My visual memory isn't that good.

I wish I had a computer in my studio. I used to paint from the monitor, but now my studio is in a building that isn't that secure, and in a part of town that isn't that nice, so I can't afford to have anything really nice in it. As it is, when I don't paint from life I rely on printed photo reference. Though I jigger the reference a good deal in photoshop, I end up with a print that looks like the second cousin of the version on the monitor. I use a canon i960, but I don't use canon paper. Too expensive. That means I don't know if the problem is due to cheap paper, or a lousy printer, or poor monitor calibration. Ah, the life of the starving artist!

Lots of this feels like I am in the dark trying to read a book in a foreign language.