Artwork photography with color scale

Started Feb 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
Victor Engel Forum Pro • Posts: 17,720
Re: Artwork photography with color scale

In addition to what has already been mentioned, there is also metamerism that will throw a monkey wrench into your archiving process.

Cameras are not designed to capture the full data of an image but a representation of how the average person perceives it. The red, green, and blue filters in a camera work because there is a close analog in human vision, but light is not that simple.

You can easily notice this by taking the very same painting and illuminating it with various kinds of light. Even if you take a custom white balance for each light source, the painting will look different in different light sources because the various paints have different light absorbing characteristics. In fact, two different formulations of a blue paint, for example, might look identical under one illuminant and different from each other under a different illuminant. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about this.

About the best you can do is to use an illuminant that has full spectrum light and capture the image with a reference. Using a custom white balance should get you good color, but a color reference can help with specific colors.

You might also want to look into using polarizers both for the illuminant and the camera. The idea is to cut out specular reflections on the paint, giving you a more accurate reproduction.

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