View Full Version : Photographing graphite art digitally

01-17-2002, 01:32 PM
I have seen a lot of references lately regarding people trying to successfully photograph their artwork with a digital camera. I have done a LOT of playing around with this and wanted to share a few of the things I learned.

1. It is of utmost importance to photograph it in "outside" light. Indoor lighting always unevenly illuminates the artwork and usually gives it a yellowish or orangish hue.

2. Do NOT use a flash as it makes parts of the graphite shine and overexposes it.

3. If your camera has a "zoom" on it. Get as close as you can to the artwork and zoom it to fit right in the viewfinders frame. That way you don't lose as much "clarity" when enlarging it via a photoshop program.

4. One VERY imporant thing I learned is that because digital cameras take the picture in "color" mode, it can make b/w drawings lose some of their subtle shading clarity. As well as give the drawing a 'bluish" hue to it. Always upload your images into a photoshop program and convert the file to "greyscale" format for authentic gradiations of shading. I also use the "brightness' feature to brighten up the drawing (because no matter what light you use, the image will appear darker in the photo image) a bit and then "contrast" to really make the darks pop out better.

Hope this helps!

01-17-2002, 01:38 PM
This is great advice Jodie. I have saved the info.:)

01-17-2002, 06:06 PM
Good notice!

01-17-2002, 06:06 PM
Thanks Jodie, will have to try all this the next time :)

01-18-2002, 08:13 PM
Thank you for the imformation, this is great i wondered why my images seemed bluish i have also saved this best wishes David.:) .

01-19-2002, 09:45 AM
thanks Jodi....some good hints there...also I have that info about the workshop in the Twin Cities if your still wanting it....just email me and i'll send it to ya....would be fun to go together!!


01-19-2002, 10:27 PM
Hi Jody, I would also like to point out it always depends on your camera too. Some cameras are good for certain things, and will do some stuff better than others. My digital camera for instance, is a Nikon 990 Coolpix, and I can take an indoor shot and it will come out color balanced too. Thank Nikon for that, not me. I never have to take a shot in B/W 'cause I am familiar with Photoshop enough to fix whatever needs fixing. I also have various settings on it that will allow me to do a lot of other stuff that would help, but it might get too technical here, and can be over my head sometimes too!:D I always take my shots in color, and I have Photoshop 6.0 (not the Deluxe), so I take it in there and do a grayscale, then contrast the image while comparing it to the original drawing. ( I also realize that everybody's monitors are different, and there's not alot we can do about that without getting REALLY into it, even printing companies have that problem) I do realize of course that not everybody has PS, or even a program that will allow this, but if they do, I would highly suggest playing with 'CURVES' and/or 'LEVELS'. Those two combined with 'SHARPENING" your drawing afterwards can really make a BIG difference in the way they look. There is a jillion programs out there that offer a variety of ways to add that punch to your pics, and while I'm not THAT familiar with hardly any others, from what I have seen though, it's always kind'a similar in the ways of contrast, and of sharpening. I would say that even a scanned drawing, painting, or whatever always needs these contrast and sharpening moves on them. I never leave home without 'em!:D I have wanted to mention this same subject for a while, and one of these days I was going to get around to it, but you did a good job in bringing this to our attention, and I'm sure that everybody's stuff is going to POP now! Thanks!
(If anybody does have Photoshop, let me know if you need any assistance, that's what I do for a living, and I might know something (hopefully, huh?):) that could help you get better images, and even a snapshot of how you can do it yourself, if you need it)
Also, for those of you that would like Photoshop and can't afford that hefty price tag, you might want to check into Photoshop Elements, it's a very good program JUST LIKE the big boy, but, it costs only $99.00 US, and I have seen it on sale for $49.00 several times in the last year. The only difference is, it doesn't have some of the professional settings in it that are used in color-correcting images, which you really don't need that stuff anyway.

I will say that I have read here in all kinds of forums that people have to wait 'til it gets light enough to take that pic, and in some cases, like I know of some in Scotland etc. that say it isn't light enough there that time of year to take an outdoor pic, and don't really have a choice. There is a solution, sorta, maybe not for everbody...
In photography, they use umbrellas to bounce light, you can simulate this by changing your digital camera to B/W, and then using white cardboard, or gray is even better, to bounce available light in the house, using whatever lamps that are able to give you enough light. I know that maybe this is a long shot for some, but I use it all of time with good results. If you have the time, it would be beneficial to play with whatever camera you have and kind'a learn what it can, and can't do... Sorry this is so long , but I love to rattle on sometimes... O.K., all of the time!:D

01-19-2002, 11:50 PM
Very useful information Jody and Randy. I will have to file this one away.
I have Adobe photoshop Deluxe. Does that mean I could be doing these great things and dont know it?? Huh! I will have to play more and take these hints here to practice..

05-01-2008, 08:40 AM
I, too have photoshop...but now I might try a few more settings! Thanks! Thanks too to Jodie for some good tips!:thumbsup:

12-08-2008, 09:01 AM
I have just asked over in the Photography Forum (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=534195)...figured they might know a trick or two!:D They came up trumps!