PHOTOGRAPHING ART

Hello readers! Yesterday I finished my piece for the ‘Altered Paintings’ show that I mentioned in a previous post and I had a lot of fun doing it. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the other artists had to work with and what they’ve ended up with. This was a fun project and definitely a challenging one, especially since it wasn’t even a painting to begin with. As you may recall it was a very sun bleached paper print on foam core so I wasn’t sure if collage was the way to go or maybe color pencils, but in the end I went with acrylic paints. I’ll be going down to Redux tomorrow to hand over my finished work (2 days early, even!) and pick up some cards to promote the show and hopefully catch a peek at some of the other pieces while I’m there.
I recently bought myself a very inexpensive set of lights so that I can take better photos of my art and even though my little set up is nowhere near as cool as I’d like it to be, it’s made a pretty big difference. Take a look:
Not amazing, but certainly better than it was. I’m also going to have to spend some time finding the optimal f-stop and where the lens sweet spot is to get the minimal amount of distortion on the image so I have a little bit of work ahead of me. I did reshoot some other drawings and I’ll post those below but just in case you’re interested I saw a video recently that I thought I’d share. This video from Chris Warner of Otis College is fantastic for people that want to shoot good photos of their art but don’t know a whole lot about photography and don’t really want to get too technical.

In my experience, you usually find that there are two different types of art teachers: the ones who love what they do and love to talk about it and teach and watch their students learn and grow as artists and then there’s the other kind. We don’t need to talk about the other kind but Chris Warner certainly seems like my kind of art teacher.Back in June of 2012 I posted a drawing of a 1920’s flapper girl that I almost didn’t even post because of how terribly it scanned. Well take a look at all the of the subtle shading details that were left out of the scanned version:
I’m actually a big fan of high contrast images so I think this particular image works well as both. You can also see here that there is a very warm color cast on the “After” image as opposed to the stark bright white of the scanned image. This is something I could have avoided if I had spent more time adjusting the white balance before shooting each image. This is where a gray card comes in really handy, but again, that’s getting pretty technical.Here’s a before and after or my ‘Pamela’ drawing from May of last year. This one is tricky because the actual drawing looks much better in real life. You can see how uneven the light is one the “Before” image; the left side of the image is a lot lighter than the right side which can make things difficult if you intend to manipulate the image digitally. You can also see that the proportions of the “Before” image are off because the camera wasn’t quite shooting straight ahead (I shot it hand held and even a little bit of an angle can result in distortion) but when I compare the “After” image to the original drawing I’m still not quite seeing the richness of the shading. I’m going to have to spend some more time shooting this image to find the optimal f-stop and lens sweet spot before I can really capture the tonal range of this drawing.
  Shooting art is just not as easy and straight forward as one might think, but with a reliable set up, some know-how and a little patience, you can get some good results and when you’ve spent a lot of time making your art look good, you might as well spend a little more time making sure your digital images of your art look just as solid.I hope you found this helpful and if you’re wondering where the photo of my ‘Altered Painting’ is, well you’ll just have to wait until April 12th so see the “After.” –S.

Speak Your Mind

*