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  1. #1

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    Photos of a Painting...How?

    I need to take some photos of several oil paintings. I've never done that and can't seem to find another thread. I will be using my Nikon F3. Anyone have any advise on film, lighting, potential problems, etc.?
    [COLOR=Blue][FONT=Georgia]Jim Anderson[/FONT][/COLOR]

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    There was a thread about photographing artwork the other day, should have the information you require.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Pastiche's Avatar
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    Do some searching (maybe elsewhere?) for "copy work" . ..
    The basics - tripod, film matched to your light source, enough lights to give your meter even readings all over the work (if they are any larger than 2.5' on a side, i'd recomend at least 4 lights- say if the work is 2'x3' . . . ), light meter (onboard is fine), and polarizing gels.
    The "by the book" model is that you set the lights up at 45 degres to the surface, but in practive, you will have to play with the angles, and the distance. I've found that copying my 16"x20" prints requires sharper angles than 45, and the larger the work, the sharper the angles... I dont know this for a fact, but it seems to me is that the 45's should be in relation to the edge of the work, not the center (again, particularly larger works). If you set the lights at 45deg to the middle of a large canvas, the angles to the edges will begin to grow towards 90's.... draw it out, it will make sence to you on paper...
    Last item that I'd consider indespensable - polarizing filters. Idealy, you'd have polarizing gels over each light, all oriented the same way, and then one on the lens, perpendicular... I've used a simple circular polarizing filter on the lens alone with limited sucess.
    What's crucial is that you get even lighting-- I use an incident meter, reading all along the edges of the work, or a spot meter and read a blank sheet of paper in place where the work to be copied will be.. check everywhere: corners, mid edges, center -- and once you have even light, and the piece is in place, from right where the camera goes, look for spectral reflections bouncing off the surface of the print.

    Oh... and if this is a one shot paying gig, do some practice work on your own, before hand.... if that's possible.

    What I wrote makes it all seem more complicated than it is.. sorry.. it's not that big a deal... just watch the glare, get even lighting, and keep the camera dead center on the work.

    Oh. . . and be aware of what focal length you must use to avoid any barrel/pincushion distortion. As the work is surely square, it's edges will certainly show any distortion in relation to the square edges of the image.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info. It's very much appreciated! I did find some good threads in "copy work" and I really thank you for the advise. It's not a "paying" prop but for a friend...and a patient friend as well...but I'd like to get close to right the first go round.
    [COLOR=Blue][FONT=Georgia]Jim Anderson[/FONT][/COLOR]

  5. #5

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    ANother question? I've got a BUNCH of Agfa xps 160 portrait film. Would this be an acceptable film to use?
    [COLOR=Blue][FONT=Georgia]Jim Anderson[/FONT][/COLOR]

  6. #6
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Jim,

    One problem you might find with a portrait film is it normally is biased tword very neutral to render skin tones correctly, I know when I used to do artwork alot I used Reala and that seemed to work out pretty good. Make sure and balance your light to your film type or you could have some really weird color bias in your shots.

    Dave

  7. #7

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    Jim,
    I recommend you to use a tungsten-balansed transparency film for this (my all-time favorite for a precision work is Fujichrome 64T type II), and tungsten light sources. You'll need a very fine-grained film with the right color, and this film delivers it. It is way too difficult (at least for me) to fully avoid any nasty reflections from the oil painting using flashes, even in strip softboxes. BTW, if the painting has strong texture, you may want to reflect it, too - the usual way of lighting while the oil picture is created is a diffuse "window" light from painter's left side at 45 degrees. So if you put there a modelling source, it can add something to the picture. Also you would need to adjust precisely your film plane relatively to your picture - not an easy task for a 35mm camera... Anyway, I hope my advices would help - and, please, use slide film. Good luck, Zhenya

  8. #8

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    Thanks all. Good advise.
    [COLOR=Blue][FONT=Georgia]Jim Anderson[/FONT][/COLOR]



 

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