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Old 06-23-2018, 09:40 PM
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Oil Can Boyd Oil Can Boyd is offline
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Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

I've got about 10-12 new paintings that I'd like to feature on my website and also to create a portfolio. I've never had my paintings photographed specifically for this purpose, and was wondering how other folks here do it. Is it best to hire a professional photographer with a fancy camera? One friend of a friend said to just find someone with an iPhone 8 and have them shoot pics in daylight.

What do you guys do?
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Old 06-23-2018, 10:18 PM
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Humbaba Humbaba is online now
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Some phones work better than others to take pictures, I would prefer a digital camera with factory settings to take as many as I like and upload to the computer for cropping, sizing, etc.

With the correct illumination you can take high quality pictures using a good phone, you need to eliminate glare from the surface of the painting placing the piece correctly.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:11 PM
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Oil Can Boyd Oil Can Boyd is offline
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Thanks, Humbaba. So would you think that shooting in bright, indirect natural light with an iPhone 8 (or X) would produce photos that would be suitable for website and portfolio prints?
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:00 AM
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Humbaba Humbaba is online now
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Professional photographers have a hard time controlling sunlight, in a room or studio you just need the right illumination to capture the image you want without struggling with the caprice of the outside elements.

Give it a try.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QAg49xwjCQ

Last edited by Humbaba : 06-24-2018 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:06 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

It depends on what you consider an acceptable photograph.

There isn't a tablet or phone out there that has a camera that will produce an image that is good enough for me, but lots of folks are happy with the results. An absolute must is at least one polarizing filter that fits your camera to control glare. If you polarize the lights as well, then you will total control over reflections. If your paintings have a lot of textures in them, some reflections are actually needed, otherwise it will look too flat, but you want to decide where and how much there is.

If I am shooting for prints the minimum resolution I would use is 24 megapixels. I use a process similar to this:

https://www.nitpickyartist.com/photographing-art.html
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:44 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

I photograph my painting in my studio on my easel. I use a combination of cold light (5K to 6K) and warmer light (around 3k to 4K). The camera (a Nikon Coolpix) is mounted on a cheap tripod. I try to place the camera so that it is "square" with the painting, but I don't sweat this too much because I use the following procedure in Photoshop to finish.

Removing keystoning from a photographed rectangular work is not difficult in Photoshop. Use the Crop tool to get within a quarter inch of your painting, (but not too close). With the NAVIGATOR, ZOOM IN to at least 100%, or much more. Now SELECT/SELECT ALL. Go to EDIT/TRANSFORM/DISTORT. You will find in the corners, 4 small box buttons. Drag each of these out one at a time until you get each corner of your painting pulled tight to the corners of the image file frame. Press ENTER or RETURN (Mac), to accept these changes. Any perspective distortion present in the original image will be corrected now.

To get the proportions or aspect ratio of your painting back on track, take measurements of your original painting, go to IMAGE/IMAGE SIZE, disable the CONSTRAIN PROPORTIONS checkbox, so you can alter them. Now type into the height and width dimension boxes, the actual measurements of your painting. Since this may increase your file size to something overwhelming, you can reduce the pixels per inch to something much smaller than 300dpi to something like 96 dpi, or 72 dpi. Press OK, and your painting will be flat, square, true proportioned, and looking good! Remember to go back and reset the CONSTRAIN PROPORTIONS checkbox in IMAGE SIZE, for the next time you use that function

Here is a sample of a painting squared up tweaked in Photoshop:
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:49 AM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Overcast daylight is easiest. Dont use a flash. Basically you want to get the painting as evenly lit as possible, which is harder than it sounds. You might have to compensate for the camera a bit in photoshop, play around with it. Or gimp which is free.
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:24 PM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

I think iPhone 8+ Can take very good photos of your paintings.
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:38 PM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Thanks for all the tips, everyone. I have a friend with an iPhone 8, so maybe will try that first and see how it turns out.
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:48 PM
kentiessen kentiessen is online now
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Getting good images of your work is a real challenge, and the medium of your work has a lot to do with it. I never take images with a cell camera for any sort of post, let alone website. For the web and portfolio, you should represent your wok at it's best- anything less is a disservice to you.
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Old 06-24-2018, 02:13 PM
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Oil Can Boyd Oil Can Boyd is offline
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Quote:
Originally Posted by kentiessen
Getting good images of your work is a real challenge, and the medium of your work has a lot to do with it. I never take images with a cell camera for any sort of post, let alone website. For the web and portfolio, you should represent your wok at it's best- anything less is a disservice to you.

Thanks, Ken. I do have a number of local photographers who do this professionally that I can call. I definitely want these to look their absolute best. I figured trying my friend's iPhone would be free so can't hurt. Got a few quotes from professionals that weren't nearly as bad as I'd feared they would be. So I'll probably end up going that route. I'm not big on the idea of buying a camera, lights, tripod, etc. I don't have room for that stuff here anyway. Better to let the pros handle it.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:38 PM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

I've been photographing my paintings for about 30 years, now, and I believe with rather good success.

Considerations: You must eliminate all forms of direct light, such as camera flash, the sun, spotlight, and even the sky. I have always used some of the least expensive cameras that are available. There is no need for angle-lighting, polarizing filters, umbrella reflectors, etc., etc. Hopefully, your art is not much larger than 20" x 24". If it is, my system can be modified to accommodate a larger painting, I believe. I seldom, if ever, have need of a tripod.

This is my method:

I select an area such as a gazebo that is totally shaded from the sun, and sky. I use either my covered, back patio, or my covered, front entryway. A picnic ramada would serve pretty well, also.

I place my completed painting (varnished, and all), without a frame, face up on the floor of the covered patio. I stand directly over the painting with my feet straddling the painting. I aim my camera down at the painting, and I turn my flash off. I set the camera for as full a zoom setting as I can get, while still being able to frame the painting in my viewer.

The full zoom helps to eliminate the barrel-shape distortion that is so common with digital cameras. In fact, some of the more expensive digital camera tend to exhibit more of this barrel-shape distortion than some of the less expensive cameras.

With my image centered in my viewfinder, with as great a zoom as I can achieve, I take a deep breath, I let about half of it out, as I press my button halfway to focus, and then I hold my breath while I press the exposure button.

I take about 3 photos that way, and I run them into Photoshop, where I correct any slight distortion, and adjust the color with either "levels", or "curves".

This method has served me well for my old website, and my present blog, as well as creating images of my work that I routinely print out for records of my paintings, and for promo pieces that I may require.

Many photographers really dislike my explanation of my methods, because they are often more interested in recommending more expensive cameras, and auxiliary equipment for photographing paintings, when quite truly some of the better reproductions can be achieved with quite inexpensive equipment.

You can view some of my subjects on my blog, address at the bottom of this post, or I can furnish you with some examples of photographs of my paintings, if you'd care to see them for assessing the quality of my photographing method.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:57 PM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Some good advice from our members. For me, the cell phone is OUT! No way.
If you are serious about your art get a decent Digital camera and particularly one with a viewfinder. I also like a warm and cool light situation and; indirect.
As stapeliad mentioned: Overcast daylight can be good or bright shade.
Again, if you are serious, get a photo editing software and learn to use it.
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:14 PM
kentiessen kentiessen is online now
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

You can certainly shoot them yourself, but glossy work is difficult. One of the best lighting situations is a high overcast- shooting in any shadow can give slow shutter speeds and color noise only a full frame digital or large aperture lens can avoid. Watch for reflected light color (i.e.: greens from trees). Software and shooting RAW format is very helpful-- there is a learning curve to it all.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:46 PM
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Re: Photographing Paintings for Portfolio and Website

Thanks everyone. I won't be shooting them myself. I just don't care to spend the time or money on camera, lights, editing software learning curve, etc. I've found a few photographers locally who will shoot my paintings for less than I expected, and a friend and fellow artist who shoots his own stuff who has offered to help as well. So I think I'm in good hands now. Much obliged!
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