View Full Version : Photographing work

Leslie Ann
09-15-2006, 08:47 PM
Hi all.

I am relatively new to all of this. I am learning that to get by, one really needs to have alot of computer and camera saavy. I have neither.

I need to photograph my work, but I am not sure how to do it. I don't have the money to pay someone else, and I have a cheap automatic digital camera (3 megapixes).

Could someone offer advice on how to light the work? Should it be flat on a wall, or on an easel? Inside or out? (Before or after a cup of coffee?) etc.?

Also, do you need to have software like photoshop to get it to look right?

Are there any books that may help me with all of this? Seriously, I am lost.


Leslie Ann :confused:

09-15-2006, 09:59 PM
I've actually found two great books: Photographing your artwork by Russell Hart and The quick & easy guide to photographing your artwork by Roger Saddington.

Both books talk about digital photography a little, but they mostly deal with film (which is what I use to photograph mine). It does, however, talk about how to position your painting and aim your camera. I found both books at my library.

I use a film camera and I have to use a filter on it. I use two halogen floodlamps and the filter helps balance the color. You may not have to do that with a digital camera. I feel the lighting is better with the lamps rather than outdoors. Also, most of my photos come out better with the painting mounted flush on the wall. You also have to make sure it's level.

It takes a little practice to do it right.

A photo editing program is a must, but you don't have to buy an expensive one. I got Gimp and Photo Express for free and they do a good job with cropping and minor color corrections.

Good Luck!

09-15-2006, 11:25 PM
Desert gave you some good tips that apply to both film and digital, so I'll just tell you that your camera is quite adequate for photographing artwork.
Just make sure the canvas/paper/etc is vertical and not leaning.
Turn off the flash when shooting indoors and try to take advantage of the brightest room in the house.
Flash will cause distracting glare on the painting surface.
If you prefer to shoot outdoors, beware of bright sunlight and shadows.
You may have to try several locations before you find the right "light".
Desret mentioned Gimp and PhotoExpress and I'll just toss in "Irfanview", because I have used that free program before and it has the ability to batch resize and the sharpening tool is excellent.
You can learn a lot just by experimenting with your camera. Move in close to the art work until it fills the frame. You will most likely get some barrel distortion, but you can "crop" (trim) close to the edges of the art work to minimize that. Make sure your camera is not being held on an angle.

Good luck!

Leslie Ann
09-18-2006, 04:19 PM
Thank you. I'm finding this all a bit intimidating. But...I suppose I need to face my fears.

My film camera died at the beach this year. But my brother has a nice digital one that I secretly have been coveting. I wondering if he'll let me borrow it!

Do you recommend a tri-pod for shooting? To stop the shaking?

09-18-2006, 04:56 PM
If you have a shaking problem, a tripod will help, but no, its not necessary unless you were photographing in extremly poor lighting or tend to shake.
The nice thing about digital is: you can practice by taking a ton of photos and there is no film waste.
Practice will help you over come your "fears"! :wink2:

09-18-2006, 05:19 PM
Practice will help you over come your "fears"!

I'll second that!

09-19-2006, 12:03 AM
Hi, Leslie Ann
I had the same problems while starting, still I have so many.
To start with I feel you can go through this URL, http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm (http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm)
He has explained in an awesome fashion all most all aspects of photography.
Use your digi cam, take snaps as much you can, after that each day review your work. Rate your own work.
As days pass you will find more and more photos gets better rating from you. This is the way I do, still doing
Best of luck