Photographing art usually takes a lot of practice, and can be a time-consuming process, especially if artists want their work presented in the best possible way.
This is the first part of a series of articles on this subject.
Setup for Photographing Art for the Web
The first step to is to get a good quality digital camera around 6-10 megapixels. The digital SLR cameras are perfect for this purpose. If you cannot afford one, try to borrow a camera from a friend. We will be discussing the Digital SLR camera for this tutorial. If you do not have access to one, satisfactory results can still be achieved from a regular camera.
Make sure the flash is turned off on your camera. The flash causes a glare on the photograph, and washes out the image. This is certainly not how we want our art presented, so it is advised to set it to the off position.
There are two options to steady your camera.
An adjustable tripod will ensure there is no blurriness in the final image. Tripods are relatively cheap, but if you cannot buy one right now, borrow it or refer to the second option.
Of course, if your camera does not have a way of attaching to the tripod, you will also have to use…
- A stool or box
Use a stool or box that is the proper height. You may have to use books to further adjust the height. Remember, your photography setup is not what matters here, it is the result that you are hoping to achieve.
Ensure the camera can be placed there properly without shaking or falling.
This is so that the photograph of the artwork will not be distorted in any way. Place it far enough from the piece, looking in the viewfinder while you do. Try to make sure your artwork fills most of the viewfinder.
Lighting – Natural light from the sun is the best. Try to photograph your art during the few daylight hours centered around noon. If the sun is too bright, find a shaded area. Partly cloudy days tend to work best for photographing art.
If you are forced to shoot indoors, do it near a large window. An arrangement in the center of a room with a window on each side is ideal, so the light is spread evenly. Make sure the sun’s rays are diffused in some way, maybe through curtains. The main thing you do not want is glare or shadows on the artwork, so adjust your setup according to the principal “reflected light works best”, and use the light to your advantage.
Backdrop – The backdrop for sculptural work should be a neutral coloured sheet or surface, a solid color that doesn’t distract from the artwork, but enhances it. The focus should be on your artwork, and anything with patterns or bright colors will certainly distract from it!
Recommended Digital SLR Cameras
Canon EOS Rebel T3
Nikon D90 DX
Canon EOS Rebel T3i
Next time we will let you know some recommended camera settings, and how to manipulate them in a photo editing program for uploading to the web.