Photographing my artwork

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easy_eight New Member • Posts: 1
Photographing my artwork

I recently had the unfortunate experience of having paid a photographer to take pictures of my artwork -- very detailed acrylic paintings on stretched on canvas. The results when he sent the images to me via dropbox were not usable. The lighting was uneven, there was glare from the lighting on the image, and the grain of the canvas appeared in some parts of the image. He was a nice guy who really tried to produce quality results, but there were serious problems with his exposures and glare on the canvas. I did not ask for my money back because he spent quite a bit of time with me on the work. I worked with him during the photo shoot and it seemed at the time that the images were okay because we only looked at a zoomed in area of the image. But it was hard to tell. Until I brought the images up in Photoshop, I did not realize that they would not be usuable.

The reason I was using a professional photographer was because I had taken a photo of one of my paintings which was 48 x 60 inches in my studio with my Canon digital camera. I planned to use the image to create prints of my artwork. I sent the image to my print service, Uprinting, which has always done excellent prints of my work. I was pleased with the image printed on canvas that I received. The color reproduction was great. However, my nephew,  an industrial designer, noticed the image was a bit out of focus. So, I gave up on the idea of photographing my work.

Now I am back to where I started from. I have decided to take a photograph of the painting myself. What I need to know is the best method to ensure that the painting is in focus and what the aperture and shutter speed and ISO settings should be to insure that I get a sharp, in-focus image. I know that I also have to be set the white balance correctly. Am I trying to do the impossible?

Is one solution  simply to have my print service print the original image at 32 x 40 (and not the full 48 x 60) inches) to get a sharper printed image or should I take a new photo with the correct aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. Would that work or would I still have a slightly out of focus print?

I have ready many articles online suggesting that a good way to photograph artwork was outdoors on a cloudy day. That way you do not have to deal with reflections on the canvas from lighting.

Another possibility to have the painting scanned suing a large scale scanner. The problem with that is the expense ($150 or more per painting). And even then I am not sure if a scan would  produce usable images as the grain of the canvas would appear on the image. Is scanning artwork a possible solution that I should consider?

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