I did some photography last nite so I'll be posting up some images of my latest paintings over the next few weeks.
I like to do photography in batches. These days I'm producing a lot of paintings so I've been having to photograph more often.
Having a high quality, sharp and high resolution photo of each painting I do is a priority to me. I put a lot into my paintings and when the original is sold I want to have the best recording of it possible.
As many of you know having professional photos taken of your art is very expensive and yet it's vital to have that high quality should you want to create prints of a painting. Not to mention having a permanent record of your work for future collectors and art historians to ponder and write about.
My journey to mastery of art photography was primarily driven by economics. I can do it far more reasonably in my studio than paying a professional even when you factor in needing to use professional gear.
Heres my equipment setup:
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II. This is the most popular prosumer camera, with good reason. It has the best quality to price ratio of anything on the market. 21 mega pixels is quite a lot of resolution and because it's a full frame sensor those pixels are nice and large. I got mine a couple of years back for about $1200.
- Lens: Canon EF 100mm macro. I use this lens because it's my sharpest. I want to capture every brush stroke, and using a sharp high quality lens like the 100 mm Canon is the best way to do that. No amount of post processing of a photo can add quality. So, it's vital that your lens be sharp. Note: prime lenses are almost always sharper than even very expensive zoom lenses. This lens cost about $700 dollars. BTW I'm sure that a cheaper lens could be used but not a lens that is too short. I have used my canon ef 50mm f/1.8 lens known as the (nifty fifty) but it creates lighting problems because I have to position my camera so close to the painting I'm photographing. 100 mm is a much better distance and provides less glare. More about glare in part two.
- Tripod: Not sure what brand I'm using but it was about $120 and utilizes a ball type mount. You can spend a lot of money on tripods but I'm happy with my midrange unit and it works well. One thing is for sure. You must use a tripod to get sharp reproduction quality photos of your paintings
- Lights: Again I'm not too sure what brand I purchased but I use two good quality tungsten studio lamps. Using tungsten means that I have to make lighting adjustments in camera and also lightroom. After much research this is the lighting set up I chose because it gives clean consistent light that is easy to adjust and arrange. The lights I bought cost me about $200 dollars each.
This is a pretty extensive topic so I've decided to write this is several parts. Stay tuned...
A bit about "(Morning) After the Storm". I posted the 5x7 version here and wrote a bit about it. I'm pretty happy with this painting. It's a common type of scene here in Northland New Zealand.
One thing I did on this painting that I'm quite proud of is that I deviated from my photo reference extensively. The most important thing I did was removing a band of hills that were behind the trees. This really opened up the composition and it's the kind of thing I know works better because I've been painting a while now.
It definitely feels good to know that something works well because you've learned it from experience. Painting can be a tough mistress but she does reward the diligent.