Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photographing artwork

I had a chance a couple weeks ago to take proper photos of my newest paintings, and I thought I would show the great setup we use. My pal, Scott has researched and become a proficient photographer in the last couple years, and he has a great method for photographing artwork that gives you no glare.

"Polarizer gels are used on flashes in conjunction with a polarizer (linear or circular) on your lens to decrease specular highlights. This is primarily used when you want to photograph flat artwork. The most common setup involves 2 flashes positioned 45 degrees (relative to artwork surface) on equal distances from either side of the piece. Each flash (light) has a polarizer gel on it aligned in the same direction. The polarizer on the lens of the camera is aligned so it's axis of polarization is perpendicular to the polarizer axis on the flashes. This will eliminate unwanted specular highlights in the artwork."

In the below photo we are using 4 lights, but the more common (and affordable) setup would have 2.

Another tool that can be used is to photograph a printed color matching card with the painting to use to color correct in photoshop. Looking at some pure color boxes, just tweak the photo to match the sheet rather then trying to judge shifts in your more complex artwork.


Below are photos take seconds apart in the exact same lighting conditions as shown above. One quarter turn of your camera's polarizing lens filter makes the difference below.

9 comments:

偉冠儒冠儒倫 said...

說「吃虧就是便宜的人」,多半不是吃虧的人。......................................................................

Scott Murphy said...

Great post Mike! Reproducing my work has always been a hair pulling experience with mixed results. I wish I had known about the polarizing filter sooner. It seems to work wonders. Does it only work that well with the gels on the lights too? Also, what camera/lens are you using?

Kate Stone said...

Cool! I hadn't heard of the polarizing trick. I think I've perfected the hard way of doing it, with 5000K flourescent light bulbs, paper towels, a tiny room only six feet wide, and hours on photoshop removing white specks ;) Can't wait to get a new light kit after we move.

Mike Sass said...

Yeah, its frickin magic. Works great. Scott, you need the gels which is a sheet you cut up, and the filter that screws onto the lens of the camera. it only works with both, and the camera doesnt matter, I think. I use a canon rebel slr

Scott Murphy said...

Sounds good, I'll definitely have to pick me up some filters. thanks again!

麗王王珠 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情............................................................

王怡迪 said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。......................................................................

XpressiveInk said...

Here's another source for polarizing film. I just got 2 feet to use in my gel holders for the alien bees I have mounted on a ceiling grid in the house.

http://www.polarization.com/

The film was actually cheaper than on the Edmund site. Of course the gel holders cost me $100, lol, but I'm tired of struggling to get good pic of my paintings.

Kate Stone said...

Mike, do you know if it's possible to get the same effect using the gels with fluorescent bulbs instead of with flash?