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Old 10-04-2017, 09:21 AM
zippie zippie is offline
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Recs for improving web images of paintings?

Hi Folks,

Before posting this I did read lots of prior posts on cameras etc. but wanted to just make sure that I'm on track.

I currently use my iphone 4 to shoot artwork for my website. I am not happy with the quality. Many of my oil paintings are dark and I don't seem to get enough definition, if that's the word.

I have quite a small budget, say $200 at most. From what I've learned, I thought getting an older DSLR and a good lens (50mm 1.8) would kick my quality up a good bit, all things being equal...lighting, skill etc.

I've also been reading about the advantages of shooting RAW and am learning more about GIMP at the moment.

The other part of this is that I now have a crappy old laptop with a poor resolution screen so I am going to also upgrade that as well to better enable me to actually 'see' what I've got.

Make sense so far?

My questions are:

Is the iphone 4 good enough if I can better use GIMP on a good screen?

Would an older DSLR like a Canon xti or Nikon D3100 be a worthwhile step up?

Or...get a new ipad for both shooting and editing?!!

Thanks for your help on this! I used to do a lot of film photography back in the day. My number one camera was a Minolta x-700 with a 1.4 lens. Had some good times with that kit! Just gave it way to my nephew not too long ago.....

thanks again! other camera recs also much appreciated. tho i don't like the feel of p&s cameras...i really want a viewfinder!

cheers!
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:08 PM
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droll13 droll13 is offline
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Re: Recs for improving web images of paintings?

Here's my reaction; I may be in the minority on some points, so give it as much or little credence as seems right.

1) IMO, using an Iphone 4 to take photos of your artwork is a case of using the wrong tool for the job. Even with the improved cameras of newer cell phones, I believe that if you want quality photos, use a real camera.

2) I have no experience with GIMP, so I can't speak to that other than to say that many people find it completely adequate for their uses. Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, and full Photoshop will all do a better job of post-processing your images - addressing the darkness and lack of definition you mentioned. Of course, these cost money - from a relatively small amount in the case of Paint Shop Pro and Elements to a very high price for Photoshop. (I do a lot of photo editing, so I saved for months in order to buy full Photoshop. It was, in my case, money well spent.)

3) Yes, a higher resolution screen that displays colors close to accurately would be a big help.

4) As for cameras, I've used several "bridge" cameras - not quite DSLRs but close, with high resolution and excellent optical zoom. In my experience, they are just below a DSLR; many, many times better than a point-and-shoot. (My current camera is a Canon Powershot SX60HS.) And I've photographed a number of pieces of artwork (using an older model of Canon Powershot), both for myself and for clients, with very good results. I suspect that a full DSLR, while nice to have, might be more than what you need for your goals.

5) I'm afraid that your budget isn't enough to solve the problems you've described.

6) So my suggestion is to save up enough money to get better equipment, in this order:

- a) a better laptop so what you see is close to what the camera captures
- b) a real camera
- c) quality photo-editing software; maybe start with GIMP until you have the $$ for something better

I wish I could paint a rosier picture for you, but it seems that what you're trying to accomplish can't be done with the tools you're currently using and the small budget you mentioned.
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:51 PM
zippie zippie is offline
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Re: Recs for improving web images of paintings?

Thanks Dave!

I'm leaning toward upgrading the laptop first as it's multi-use, while learning more about post processing--using Gimp for the time being.

The prices for an older DSLR with a good lens is pretty kind to my budget, well under $200. (the laptop has its own budget, sorry if that wasn't clear!)

I was assuming that the larger sensor and better glass of a DSLR would be an improvement over the iphone while still way cheaper than something newer like even a high end compact. Is that not correct?

Appreciate the thoughtful comments! It's hard to discern the best path with so many variables!

cheers
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:58 AM
kdd kdd is offline
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Re: Recs for improving web images of paintings?

posting a pic or two would be extremely helpful (your setup and the finished product, sans post production). what is your light source? shooting inside or outside? if inside, flash light or constant light? if constant light source, what type of source is it (incandescent, florescent, etc.) and what is its color temp? if outside, full sun or full shade?

shooting raw requires a different skill set for post production. shooting jpeg or tif (if possible) generally needs a bit of color correction to eliminate color cast caused by either sensor or light color temp or both. don't forget to size photos in pixels and at 72 dpi, if you didn't know that already.

i have heard that most folks who buy art online know that the colors are going to be off somewhat on the online photo than in the original. for what you are doing, a modest investment in lighting and a not-so-top-of-the-line-dslr with a decent piece of glass and a desktop computer would suffice (forget your $200 budget, ain't gonna happen). if you want to use a laptop, a led screen would be for better color correction than a lcd screen.

however, for top quality professional results, you need to invest in a professional graphics card in a box with at least 16gb of ram, a monitor that is geared for professional graphics, a good (read, expensive) colorimeter to profile your monitor, proper lighting and wall color in your post production and viewing facilities and photograph your work using tungsten lights (lowel, smith-victor-arri, etc.) with a 4x5 inch or larger camera, especially if you plan on selling prints of your paintings.

cheers
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Last edited by kdd : 10-12-2017 at 07:18 AM.
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