Hey all. Been awhile I know...
Anyway unto it photographing paintings part 2!
The greatest issue in getting good photos from paintings is glare. There are many solutions to this problem, but the one I use is two tungsten photo lamps. The key to minimizing glare when using lamps is to set the angle of the lights at 45 degrees from the painting that's being photographed. I also turn the light shields on my lamps so that the light hitting the painting's surface is slightly indirect.
The camera is placed on a tripod in between these two lights as far back as the lens will allow. I do my best to photograph the painting as large as possible. Since I'm using a prime lens, this means moving the camera itself backwards or forwards to fill the frame.
I then make sure all lighting except the lamps is off. BTW I photograph at night to eliminate any other sources of light. Many times I've found there to be glare showing up in my photos from stray light sources when I've shot in the day, so now I work only at night.
I set the camera's focal length at 6.3 and the light balance to tungsten. I then set the camera to shoot on a 10 second delay. I've tried shorter delays and even a remote set to 2 seconds. The best results I've had are with a long delay so that the camera and tripod are completely stable when my shot is being exposed.
The painting is set upon a cardboard box I've wrapped a black tee shirt around. This keeps any glare from reflecting up from the support. This box is set upon a table. And I sometimes add or subtract flat (pizza) boxes underneath it to get a desired height.
Now I look through my camera's viewfinder and use autofocus to get the exposure sharp. I've recently discovered that setting the camera to use only the center point when focusing gives a more consistently sharp photo. I'm a bit obsessive about this as I want my brush strokes to be photographed as sharp as possible. No amount of photoshopping can replace the sharpness you get with a tripod, timer delay and a great lens set at an optimal focal length.
I shoot each painting twice. Note for vertical paintings I turn the camera vertical so I can get the painting as large as possible in the frame. What does not work in my experience is turn the painting on it's side when photographing it. For some reason the lighting setup his the wood grain of my boards in a bad way when I've tried this so I just take the time now to shoot vertical paintings with the camera turned sideways.
As you can see, there's quite a lot to keep straight. For this reason, I like to do photography for about 15 to 20 painting in a session.
We'll talk about my Lightroom and Photoshop workflow in part three.
A bit about "Sundown over the Glen". This is one of many sunsets I've recently painted in the square format. I've been fascinated with painting this blue into orange type sky for quite awhile now. The scene itself is composed from many different elements. I'm pretty happy with it over all and my favorite bit is the water on the ground reflecting gold back up into the sky.