Recommendations for shooting paitnings

Started Feb 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
Lawrence Keeney
Lawrence Keeney Veteran Member • Posts: 6,815
Re: Recommendations for shooting paitnings

I am going to suggest you try something a little unusual. This is a technique I developed for photographing quilts. I know it sounds wired, but I have been able to show shadows caused by the threads on the surface of the quilt which gives it a bit of a 3D look.

I also photographed one 2' x 4'  painting and had it printed on canvas at actual size.

For a little background, my studio is my living room and dining room which is connected by a large archway. From one end of the two rooms to the other is a little over 30'. In the end of one of the rooms I set up my background stand and hung the print vertically (even though the painting was painted in landscape). I placed a high powered strobe in the other room approximately 30' from the print.

The strobe was bare, without any modifier. The object was to get a point light source like the sun. The long distance between the light and painting was to take advantage of the rule of light fall off as the square of the distance. This gave me very even light across the full painting.

The painting was turned at a small angle so the light would produce some shadows from the different thickness of the paint in the painting. The angle is also necessary because you have to have the camera exactly square with the painting.

To get the camera square with the painting, I got a long string and tied a know exactly in the center of the string. I then attached each end of the string to each side of the painting, and I set up my camera so the know in the string was at the center of my lens. To get it centered vertically on the painting, I measured the distance from the center of the painting to the floor, and set the height of the camera so the lens was at this exact distance.

In this setup, my camera was about 10' from the painting.

This all may sound complicated, but I photograph a lot of quilts and it takes me just a couple of minutes to set it up.

The artist who make the painting was thrilled with the results.

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