Home Member Services Content Areas Tools Info Center WC Partners Shop Help
Search for:

Welcome to the WetCanvas forums. You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access our other FREE features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload your own photos and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please visit our help center.

Go Back   WetCanvas > Explore Media > Oil Painting
User Name
Register Mark Forums Read

Salute to our Partners
WC! Sponsors

Our Sponsors
Closed Thread  
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:15 PM
Toril's Avatar
Toril Toril is offline
Virginia, US
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,068
Hails from Norway
Tips for photographing paintings?

What is the best way to photograph paintings? I'm struggling with the horrific photos I'm getting with my - believe it or not, Nikon D70! Never liked that thing, though, but you'd still think it could render something fairly accurately.
  #2   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:25 PM
Freesail's Avatar
Freesail Freesail is offline
Lord of the Arts
East Coast USA
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,683
Hails from United States
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Outside in the shade or on the north side of a building ( no shadows ). Always use a tripod.
Solvent = Leaner Oil = Fatter

Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint. (Arshile Gorky)
  #3   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:40 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
Framingham (Boston) MA
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,284
Hails from United States
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Don't miss the article here on WC: http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/2810/87/
Judging a Manet from the point of view of Bouguereau, the Manet has not been finished. Judging a Bouguereau from the point of view of Manet, the Bouguereau has not been begun.
--Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

  #4   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:58 PM
ktqt's Avatar
ktqt ktqt is offline
Senior Member
West of Boston
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 129
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

So funny to read this when I logged on after having just spent 20 minutes photographing my painting in different places, with different light.... and none of them seemed right!! Normally, however I do outdoor shade shots on my deck. No flash! indoors or out. Best advice- take some in indoor lighting then some out in the shade without flash, then check to see which shots best represents the colors of the painting. Sometimes artists adjust the image in photoshop to correct for the camera, but I don't prefer to do that because it usually ends up looking even more wonky. BTW- I take all my pics with my iPhone! Love that thing!
C&C always welcome!

  #5   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 04:24 PM
Red 9 Red 9 is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 622
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

I understand your pain! This has to be one of the most infuriating things possible!
  #6   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 04:49 PM
dirtysteev's Avatar
dirtysteev dirtysteev is offline
Veteran Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 741
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Some tips:
-Set the white balance on your camera accurately.
-As others mentioned, shoot outdoors on a bright, but overcast day, much easier than dealing with lights.
-If shooting indoors under lights they should be between 3,000-5,000 kelvin, this will give you accurate colors. I have had best luck using three lights.
-Experiment with focal length, all lenses distort, you can usually find a sweet spot though, for example, my camera is best at about twelve feet from my work, then zoomed in.
-Use a tripod AND your timer feature, or a trigger, don't touch the camera to take the photo.
-Measure off of the floor to the center of your painting, match the center of your lense to that height.
-If you are getting glare try tilting your painting ever-so-slightly forward.
good luck
  #7   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 04:55 PM
DAK723's Avatar
DAK723 DAK723 is offline
WC! Guide
Rochester, NY
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 12,181
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

I find that outdoors on overcast days is by far the best situation to take photos of your paintings. A bright overcast day is better than very dark, but, in my experience, better than in the shade on a sunny day. The problem with in the shade on a sunny day is that the blue sky often puts a very blue cast to the photo. A cloudy day has the whitest light with the least color cast.

Even so, when taking photos of their artwork, people suddenly need to come to grips with the fact that cameras are not perfect - and often far from perfect - when it comes to capturing accurate color. So some manipulation of the computer is usually necessary. I know, for example, that my camera (a Canon) exaggerates reds, so I always adjust for that.

Also, as you probably know, cameras have a limited value range, so they will push light values more towards white and dark values more towards black. So some manipulation is always necessary with the values also.

Don Ketchek, WC Guide - Pastels

My Blog My Art Gallery My Photo Gallery
  #8   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-17-2012, 05:21 PM
Toril's Avatar
Toril Toril is offline
Virginia, US
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,068
Hails from Norway
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Thank you all, lots of good tips here! My last attempt was on the deck, north facing but in the shade, but on a very sunny day (as my bright red leg and face can testify to, obviously canvas paper can be quite reflective!)

I will try again on an overcast day, it is the best light for soft photography. The white balance is exactly the main problem I have with the Nikon. I wish I never bought that thing, I loved their 35mm cameras but have had no luck with this digital. Didn't like digital to begin with... but I've seen some beautiful photos done with Canons in the last few years.
  #9   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-18-2012, 01:51 PM
Posts: n/a
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Maybe something is wrong with the camera. IMO, it shouldn't be fighting you like that. I recently bought a powershot SX150 IS for about $110.00 on ebay, and it gives great results with virtually no effort at all. Here is a (very small detail of a) picture I took of one of my paintings-in-progress with it yeserday. It was taken indoors, no tripod, and with only 3 cfl lightbulbs for lighting.

I did rest the camera on the back of a chair for steadiness, and had the timer set to 2 seconds. I used the 'macro' setting, but it easily captured the whole painting in one shot.

All the colors look very accurate to my eyes.

I post this only for the purpose of comparison, meaning that if your camera isn't performing as well as a point-and-shoot, something may be wrong with it. If your standards are just higher than mine (I'm a camera noob), just please disregard this

Last edited by plog : 04-18-2012 at 01:56 PM.
  #10   Report Bad Post  
Old 04-18-2012, 02:19 PM
LGHumphrey LGHumphrey is offline
A Local Legend
Near Barcelona.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 6,900
Hails from Canada
Re: Tips for photographing paintings?

Toril, it helps to read the instruction manual. (We all know that but just about none of us do it.)
Lawrence Humphrey
Torrelles, Spain

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:31 PM.

© 2014 F+W All rights reserved.