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Photographing paintings

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Photographing paintings

Postby jenbray » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:58 am

Can anyone give me tips on taking good photographs of my paintings. I have a reasonable quality digital camera but my photographs dont show my paintings like they are really. I don't use the camera flash and try to take the photos on a flat surface to no avail. My pictures always end up wornky or out of focus. I also end up having to crop lots of the picture and the painting to get a properly square image. This is driving me nuts, please help.
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Postby arlynnhr » Wed Sep 10, 2008 8:39 am

I need help with this issue also! :oops:

One of my art teachers suggested me to buy a tripod...

I want to create a portfolio with all my artwork...but I need quality pictures to do that...
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Postby Singular » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:55 am

Most people can't afford expensive lighting equipment or to have their pictures taken professionally. That being said, if you are going to use a decent quality digital camera, I recommend talking your picture with as much natural light as you can. I have even taken mine outdoors. If you prefer to take them inside, make sure you adjust your levels using a image editing software such as Photoshop or Fireworks. You can enhance or correct your images very easily using software.

all the best,
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Postby Ashley West » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:16 pm

I have trouble taking pictures of my paintings to. Mine are out of focus and even if i take them outside the colors are weird looking and no matter what I do they are always crocked :cry:
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Camera shake

Postby Harmonygirl » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:46 pm

What happens is that our hands, when taking pictures always shake, the lighting within our homes aren't
ight enough to stop an image (like a flash would) and prevent blurriness. A lot of cameras also don't allow you to get in close enough to the picture so in turn there is a lot of cropping and you lose detail because you are further away.
With that said, a tripos is great, you can pick them up second hand at camera stores or pawn shops, I think I got mine (10 yrs ago) for 30 bucks. Also like Joe said the
ightness of the outdoors is great, a overcast day is better as the light is still
ight but there won't be any harsh shadow if your paint is thick. If you can't get outside then next to a light source, preferably a window. I find it helps to if you have the art placed on an easel, you can match (pretty much) the tilt of the easel with the camera.
Oh, also a little trick I picked up is this, if you are having dark areas, and you have a extra set of hands around, ask them to hold a white board (I wonder if a mirror would do it???) next to the art, angle the board so you are reflecting light from the light source onto the dark area in the art.

It also helps if you have a okay camera, I am borrowing one, and haven't mastered the autofocus..... I would rather have manuel... anywho, i hope this helps.... if I left anything out.... just ask
sorry I am wordy...
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Digital photos

Postby rrsum » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:29 pm

Lots of good advice in the other posts. Thanks!

I've played with several different ways of taking photos of my paintings, and have finally decided this works best, at least for me.

1- A tripod or some sort of solid camera mount is a must. It eliminates any shake or vi
ation from your hands.
2- If you're using a digital camera, set it to take the highest resolution image you can. If you're using film, use a film with a slower speed, like 100 or 200. Faster film can make your photos more grainy.
3- Make sure your painting is hanging or setting as close to exactly vertical as possible and square to your camera. This helps you avoid any perspective issues that you get when the painting tilts or is turned a little.
4-I always take mine outside when the sky is somewhat overcast, but not so dark that it darkens the painting. That way I get a nice flat light, with no
ight or hot spots on the canvas. The camera reads the painting better as well, and I don't get too much contrast. It also eliminates the need for the flash, which can wash out your colors.

Once those steps are taken, I shoot at least 3-4 shots of the painting. You'd be surprised how you'll see a difference in each photo from the subtle changes in the natural light.

Then you can open the shots in PhotoShop, Paint Shop Pro or other graphics editing software and crop, add borders, etc.

I'm no expert, but I've had pretty good success with these steps. Good luck and have fun.
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