View Full Version : How do you take your photos of your paintings

09-03-2005, 12:50 PM
I hope this isn't a silly question, but you could save me hours of time and loads of printer ink!!!. I have gone through one cartridge of ink already trying to get it right :(

How do you take your photos of your paintings to make your own prints?. Do you go up really close and fill the view finder, so all you need to do is print. Or do you take them a little further away and crop the photo. I have found when I crop the photo is reduces the pixels/resolution etc which is all very confusing.

Many thanks

09-03-2005, 01:19 PM
Hi Lorraine,

I don't print my own photos since I would not have a use for it and besides I don't have a professional printer. I have taken a print or two to show to coleagues or family, but only for fun.
I cannot advise you technically on how to take photos, but check the site :


They have a section about photographing paintings, as far as I remember




I think it's better to fill the viewfinder with all and only the painting
It goes without saying that the resolution, in case you use a digital camera, should be set at max.. Maybe unless your camera has something like 10 megapixels or so.

09-03-2005, 01:47 PM
Thanks Jose, I will check out the website. :)

I have an excellent new printer, but it is my new camera that is letting me down. It is a 7 mega pixel camera, the problem I am having is the flash goes off before the camera takes the photo, so my paintings are coming out dark. My old camera which is a 3 mega pixel flash went off at the same time. But the pixels were not enough for A3 printing. The user manual for the new camera is on a disc, which is a pain, I'm old fashioned and want a book that I can flip through and read to learn. I can't find anywhere on the CD manual for adjusting the flash. Driving me nuts.

I was just wondering how everyone takes their photos of their paintings.


09-03-2005, 01:59 PM
Hi again,

I have a Kodak CX7530 digital with 5 MP.
Depending on the lighting, you may want or not want to use the flash. The button with the lightening is related to the flash.
I don't take any special procedures to take photos of may paintings, nor have any special lighting.
What kind of lighting do you have ?
Try using the Macro mode if you take a close shot.
Maybe you could manualy set the shooting speed, thus giving more time for the camera to «read» the image ?



09-03-2005, 02:12 PM
First, Lorraine, don't use a flash unless you absolutely must; pastels have a crystalline structure and the lights will "shine" while the darks will get a chalky glaze from flash. Instead, try using "daylight" bulbs to illuminate if you cannot take the actual picture outside in natural light.

Even then, make sure you adjust your white balance for the type of light you are using- you should be able to find white balance on that CD- and I know what you mean about preferring a book. If you check online, you might be able to find a PDF format of your user's manual which you can download and print off (a lot of paper, but maybe worth the trouble).

Your flash is going off seconds beforehand to reduce red-eye in pics of people- someplace there *should* be a setting to change that. Then again, it's all according to how "automatic" the cam is.

09-03-2005, 02:35 PM
Lorraine - I have a Nikon Coolpix 4200. It has a setting for taking photos in galleries or museums, so I use this. I position the painting on the easel in good sunlight and fill the viewfinderwith the image. I usually get good results this way.

09-03-2005, 03:51 PM
Thank you everyone, I felt at such a loss with this.

I have bought a Olympus Camedia 7.1 megapixel C-7000 or C-70.
I have just scrolled through the CD Manual and found the white balance pages and have printed them off for bed time reading. I will have a go at taking the photos with the white balance adjusted tomorrow. The light is going now as the day is drawing to a close.

I find when taking the photos in daylight the photos of the paintings have a blue tint to them from the ultra violet light. e.g the pale grey velour I use comes out blue. So with my old camera I used the flash as well to stop this, but with this camera its not working, it's as if it is stuck on red eye reduction even though I have selected for the flash to be on and not the red eye symbol.

Jose....Thanks, I will go and find the section on the CD about shooting speeds and print that off for my bedtime reading as well. Should it be slower or faster?

I really appreciate all your help, I have been going crazy with this. It felt like it was going to be easier to paint the paintings again than taking a photo of them!!!!


09-03-2005, 04:29 PM
I take photos for posting, but will be taking them to a studio to let a professional take a digital capture to use for slides and portfolio presentations. They charge about 5$ a slide, put the capture on disk, which can then be used for other purposes including printing out on your home printer.
When I photograph my paintings I set them up in my house in the middle of my room which has windows on both sides. I make sure the painting is vertical and square to the camera. I have found I get the best image if I stand back abut 10 feet and telescope in to fill the frame and crop later to take care of any funny edges. You want to shoot at the highest resolution. When you print print at minimum of 300dpi. The higher resolution you shoot at, the larger the file will be, the tighter packed will be the pixels. Yes the file shrinks when you crop an image just as the paper "shrinks" when you cut out a crop of an image in real life. The density of the pixels is the same in the crop, however,as in the original, in other words the resolution stays the same. somewhere on wet canvas is a whole thread on this subject that includes setting up lighting. Many artists do print their own prints for sale. I think the success of that depends on the quality of the printer, the capacity for calibrating monitor to printer, for color correction, etc. A big item is whether you are using regular printer inks which are not archival, or pigmented dyes which are archival. Right now, only Epson makes printers that uses those for the home market. One of our artists has her work scanned and copied at the UPS mail center. The colors are remarkably good and it costs her less than $2 a print. If you can't find how to turn off the flash try putting a piece of masking tape over it to at least mute it.

09-03-2005, 04:30 PM
You may have to "fool" withthe white balance, too- and I don't mean just custom select, but actually fool it!

I was finding in natural daylight, my pics were coming out too warm- greens all leaned olive, blues were gathered to the warm side or they went turquoise- and reds absolutely overwhelmed. Sooo... I did an experiment. I have a plant out front with a warmish green tint- the leaves are yellow-green with hints of orange and red- but it's shadowed areas are "plain" green. Pics of it invariably were far too warm, and there was no "green" at all- just olives. So, I coloured one piece of white paper a warm white, and another a cool gray white, and used those to reset white balance one at a time to see which one cooled the resulting pic. Wonder of wonders, when I reset white balance using the warm white as "white" the pics were cooled and read "correctly". So keep that in mind if you still have trouble.

White balance on the "fully auto" cameras is usually a little warm because most amateur photographers take people pics, and no one wants to see Uncle Joe looking like a bleached-out whale....

09-03-2005, 06:29 PM
Hi once again,

The lower the speed the more time it will have to capture, BUT to do this the camera must be 100% still since lower speed mean more shaking.

« take photos for posting, but will be taking them to a studio to let a professional take a digital capture to use for slides and portfolio presentations. They charge about 5$ a slide,»

Aztrillium, Do you send digital photos to make slides or do you buy a slides' roll ?
I took some slides of my shoes painting and paid something like 6 Euro, more or less 7.5 dollars. Here one pays for roll, so even if I had them made 24 slides I would pay the same. And I'm talking already inside those squares.
Besides, as far as I'm aware, slides from a roll are much better than digital to slide.
Of course that if one has a top of the line (read expensive) digital SLR the difference is not so noticeable with naked eye.

Best regards,


09-04-2005, 01:05 AM
You're right Jose, film slides are better than digital for the home photographer, but the professional can use a very expensive very high resolution digi or scan that is equal to or better than the film version the home photographer uses.