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Old 10-05-2004, 08:53 PM   #1
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Photographing your artwork in the digital age.

I had had all my work photographed for my portrait portfolio, by a professional using a 4x5 camera with the attendant polarizers on both the lenses and the camera. The results were of course, terrific. The gentleman, I used has since retired. I have been doing my own as of late, but since they are pastels, they are much easier to photograph than oils.

This past two weeks, I have been trying to photograph my latest oil, a painting, that is my usual billboard size 69 1/2" x55". The color seems rather dull. During the dinner at the portrait convention, last spring, Dean Paules, allowed that he photographed all his own work, with a standard SLR and Portra NC film. I have used variously, Fuji Reala, Portra NC and Portra UC.

Another photographer, I know, photographed my work with the new Nikon/Kodak 14000 megapixel camera. The color was lovely, but since he neglected a polarizer there was a lot of glare. He said the photo angle of the lights at 45% would solve the problem of glare, it didn't. I can shoot without glare using a polarizer and judiciously placed black velvet cloth. I shoot at midday, in my southeastern exposure studio, with large picture windows and trees, unfortunately only 35' away. I have shot figures in that same room and have gotten lovely color.

The last shots I took were the best, Portra NC, not world beaters however.

What digital cameras seem to work the best? Do you use polarizers? Should I have it re-shot with the Kodak/Nikon with polarizers or is 14000 megapixel over kill?

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Old 02-24-2005, 08:38 AM   #2
Richard Barnett Richard Barnett is offline
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Me too

Me too, I have the same problems. I see you posted this some time ago. I just wanted to know how that worked out for you and if you have solved these problems? Could you explain what a polarizer is? I know these were your questions, but the post was some time ago so maybe you could share what you found out.

Thanks Rick .
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Old 02-24-2005, 03:55 PM   #3
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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I attended a workshop for photographing your artwork, even with glare from the varnish. The method is to place your painting against a black velvet (cotton) fabric and take it outside in FULL SUN either midmorning or midafternoon. Place your painting at an angle directly facing the sun (that's why the time frame of midmorning or afternoon, lower sun angle) and line up your camera directly facing your painting, same angle.

I have tried it and it has worked for me using Fuji-Chrome and 100 speed color print film. I have tried it with my Nikon D70 and was pleased although the sun was a bit shaded. I believe that if I had used full sun I would have been happier.

The main drawback is you have to wait for a sunny day.

The workshop also said if you must shoot on a cloudy day to place your lights at 45 degree angles (2 lights). I've had relative success this way as well.

Hope this helps. If anyone has any further suggestions I would love to see them, too.
John Reidy
Que sort-il de la bouche est plus important que ce qu'entre dans lui.
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:51 PM   #4
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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Glare Solvers

I have tried polarizers - didn't work well for me. I still got lots of glare.

I learned that if I bounce my lights off my ceiling and use lots of lights (continuous lights - tungsten, with tungsten slide film - Kodak Ektachrome 64T), I get good results. But it only works well for me in one room in my house that has a ceiling with a high slope - I tried it in a standard 8 foot ceiling room with poorer results. I also have light colored walls and floors, which helps bounce the light around some. For a large painting, my concern would be lighting the artwork evenly. If the art were a vertical piece, I would lay it on its side to get evener coverage.

Others have mentioned shooting their works under skylights.

I have also paid a professional to use his digital camera to take photos to put on a CD. He had an 11 pixel Canon, forget what make. He took them in his studio, but I don't know what he used as far as lighting. They came out fine.
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Old 02-24-2005, 11:52 PM   #5
Elizabeth Schott Elizabeth Schott is offline
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Nikon/Kodak 14000 megapixel camera
Sharon I am not sure what kind of camera you are talking about, but was it a back for a large format film camera that connects to a computer?

Kodak has a new camera back that is 16 megapixels.

I do think it is a function of light while copying work. I would love to know how your retired pro shot your big paintings (if oils). It seems to be a law of equals, levels and balance. I certainly haven't figured out how to do it.

My guy showed me how to put them up on a perfectly square wall, leveled - camera dead center on the support - leveled, lights on both sides, equal distance, height from the painting and the camera, then there is the dastardly gray card. Too much for me, I am sending all of mine to Mike.
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:52 PM   #6
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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I rely on my grey card. It's the best tool in my bag when accompanied with my light meter.
John Reidy
Que sort-il de la bouche est plus important que ce qu'entre dans lui.
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Old 02-28-2005, 08:47 PM   #7
Garth Herrick Garth Herrick is offline
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Shoot at an Angle! (No Kidding.)

Don't laugh, but to avoid all glare, I shoot my paintings at an angle! This gives them terrible keystoning and perspective issues, but........

Don't worry, because this is not hard to fix and restore in Photoshop! This may not be for everyone, but it works for me. Virtually every 2D work I've posted was shot at an angle!

Just my two cents,

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Old 02-28-2005, 10:53 PM   #8
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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For many years I used natural sunlight, and used daylight film (5500K) and which needs to be shot about 10 am or 2 am-it works here in AZ where there is never anyhting but a clear sky.

After writing my book ( I was virtually forced into a Tungsten light set up, and I have to say they were right.)..regardless of whether you are going to shoot under natural or artificial light, you will need to control both the Kelvin temps and the angle of the light. Varnish creates glare.

I have really found that tungsten light results in wonderful color and consistent results. The more varnish-glare, the more obliquely you need to set up your light source angle.

I think that there are probably some filters that can help but that is more technology than I want at the moment
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:10 AM   #9
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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The pro used properly angled strobes and 4x5 film.

I have been photographing inside my studio slightly past midday with a polarizer. I put black velvet on the floor under the painting to reduce glare and on the wings. I have huge sliding door windows that let in a LOT of light. This area has worked really well on the pastel (sans velvet and polarizer) as pastels have no glare.

Beth, the 14 megapixel Kodak/Nikon is a camera, not a back.
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Old 03-01-2005, 10:01 AM   #10
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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I think this is the Kodak camera you mention:

Mike McCarty
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