Tuesday 5 August 2014

Photographing art quilts:part 2

Photographing art work Is not as hard as it seems.  A couple of lamps, a camera, and tripod is really all you need.  

You may like to read this post on how it is done.  

It is so rewarding to be able to be able to do all your own photographs for your portfolio, web page, marketing and cataloguing.  It is really good to be able to fit it into your own schedule and not have to make an appointment.  It is also really good for the bank balance.  

The equipment you will need are only basic things you probably 
already have at home.

So you are now all set up, so what you do next?

  1. Set up your camera on your tri-pod. Make sure it is at an height that is comfortable for you to either stand behind and not stoop or to sit comfortably behind.  I prefer to stand behind mine so I don't have to get up and don all the time.
  2. Close the curtains in the room so you can control the light in the room.
  3. Place the lamps on either side of the art work. 
  4. Put you quilt or other art work onto the wall.  Place it at the level of the camera lens.  If the art work is portrait photograph it on it's side so that the quilt will fit in the lens better.
  5. Step back from the wall and check that it is level.  I find it helps to look through the lens of the camera if am not sure and see if it lines up with the edges of the viewfinder.
  6. Look at the art work an make sure you can see the quilting or other details clearly with your eye.
  7. Try taking the photo using a remote or if you have a self timer use it.  This stops any slight movement when pressing the button down to take the photo.
  8. Take a photo without the flash
  9. Check the photo and see if it is the right brightness, colour, if it is level,  if it is in focus and to make sure the quilting or detail can be seen. 

So what do you do if any of these things aren't quite right?

*Read your camera manual.* Every camera is different so it is really important that you get to know your camera.

Most camera's come with a fairly comprehensive manual. 
Read it !!!!  If you can't find it try hunting on-line.  The internet is a treasure trove of information.  

Then try out some of the ideas from your manual and take another photo.  

Some problems can be sorted out with editing software but it is better to get the best photo you can before needing to edit.

A few ideas to try
  • Take the photos square on to your work to keep all the edges of your work square and even
  • Move around the lamps to get more even coverage of light over the work.  try moving them up and down or set them further away on closer to the art work.
  • Try using the different settings on the camera to see what results they produce.  I.E.  The portrait, landscape settings etc
  • Try coming close to the art or moving further away
  • Try a manual setting versus an automatic setting
  • Write down all the setting you use so you can come back to them as a future reference.
  • Try opening and closing curtains, turning on and off lamps and other sources of light in the room. 
  • If you can set the white balance on your camera make sure it is set to the appropriate light source.  It is amazing the difference.
  •  If you aren't sure if the colour is right put a piece of white paper next to the art work and take another photo.  If the paper is not white enough you know that the art work colour will not be be quite right either.
  • Take lots of photos.  It takes a lot of photos to get a great picture. 
  • Try to take your photos with the telephoto settings. This usually produces the least distortions.
  • And most importantly have FUN!!!!

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