Horizons PollCanon EF L IS USM 500 f/4...Horizons ENTRIES 27/07...What annoyed you today?STREET-ENTRIES-Weekly Com...STREET-CHAT-Weekly Comp 1...POLL for TIME OUTTIME OUT. Chat thread wee...TIME OUT. Entry thread w...Horizons CHAT thread 2...POLL -NUMBERS and / or LE...NUMBERS and / or LETTERS ...POLL Happiness is.......Nice houseHappiness is.... Entry Th...Happiness is.... Chat Thr...

Author Topic: Photographing Art  (Read 1149 times)


  • Guest
Photographing Art
« on: October 10, 2011, 10:50:45 PM »
Today I have been working for quite a wealthy family photographing works of art for their insurance company. I had not realised when I took on the job just how valuable the items where not that it should matter but a lot of the oil paintings and sketches were purchased at a well known London Auction House in 1999 and still had the tags in place and prices paid on the day ranged from £ 11,000 to £ 36,000 so its anyones guess as to  their valuation today. In total today I photographed 31 items even a Lowry Sketch the size of about A4  which they had bought for £ 12,500 ( or two Canon 1D Mk1V and a holiday ).

A lot of the " Art " was in my opinion terrible but I am no art critic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say or do they just buy it because someone else said it was good.

Anyway getting on with the job we set up a make shift studio in a triple garage which adjoined the house and began photographing them one by one as they were brought through to me.  The oil paintings were easy to photography but anything behind glass was quite simply hard work. I had suggested we use the garage as it had no natural light coming in from windows which would reflect in the pictures and I could in theory control the light myself . Having checked the shots tonight there are about four that will have to be redone when I go back. I say it was a garage but not as most of us would recognise, the walls were plastered and painted and the floor had ceramic tiles and not a spanner or any other tool insight so quite a nice place to work.

Any tips or suggestions on photographing artwork through glass would be appreciated
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 11:03:47 PM by Dave »

Offline Oldboy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5398
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 11:51:15 PM »
You get some interesting jobs.  :D

All art is subjective. What one person thinks is wonderful another thinks is rubbish.  :doh:

As to photographing through glass I expect it's like water were only one angle works, but if you are using flash it makes it more difficult, as the flash is at a different angle to the camera. Might be better to photograph outdoors without flash.  :tup:

Offline Hinfrance

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5151
  • Cake is good
    • Hinfrance
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 06:22:11 AM »
The trick is to avoid reflections and therefore you have to use diffused light. As it will be artificial you will need two light sources. The classic way is to have both lights at 45 degrees to the object with either softboxes or better still diffusing panels. You are quite right to avoid any windows or uncontrolled light sources.

I know of what I speak, because I have done the same kind of job, although the paintings were all only of sentimental value - they were copied so that other members of the family could have the paintings and sketches done by the grandfather printed for their walls.

What I actually used was a light tent, in my basement with the windows blacked out, placing the pictures at the rear of the tent. My cheapo light tent enables me to close the front and poke the lens through a slot minimising possible reflections. A couple of times I had to reposition a few of the paintings, but managed to do them all.

*the ones behind glass were the easiest because the surface is flat - the oils were a bit tricky because all the surface lumps and bumps have a tendency to throw light all over the place.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 06:27:18 AM by Hinfrance »
Howard  My CC Gallery
My Flickr
The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil. H.L Mencken.

Offline Colin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 327
    • My Woodturning
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 07:11:32 AM »
Another way is to shoot them from off to one side so you don't get the reflections in the glass and then use Photoshop to square them back up. A little bit of extra editing but it does make the shooting easier.  ;)

Offline Jonathan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1273
    • PeopleByRyan
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 07:50:05 AM »
Google up "family of angles".  Or better still, have a flick through Light Science and Magic ;)
It's Guest's round


  • Guest
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 08:57:34 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions  :tup:  I have been using two softboxes as my light source at various angles that worked well on most of them but it seems the problem  is with the larger pictures.  Colin, there was one picture that I shot from a side angle and straightened and have got away with. One idea I have come up with is to use some cardboard  in a similar fashion to the the monitor hood I made a few weeks ago. Shooting outside is a option I have for some bronze statues they have ( Might get a chance on Thursday for that ) but not the pictures.

Jonathan I will have a look at your suggestions when I get to the shop this morning. Thanks again all.

Offline Beaux Reflets

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2267
  • Commonsense answers a whole load of the unanswered
    • Beaux Reflets
Re: Photographing Art
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 09:44:53 AM »
Most glass fronted pictures on our walls are hung so they lean off the wall at the top to avoid any reflection. Jonathan and Colin's direction to 'matter of angles' ring true from my experience too. {When photographing pictures for reproduction purpose I use a bit of white card set at the same angle (to one side, but in the photo's frame) as it's a great assistance for post processing before final crops. And the space around the picture helps me to overcome lens distortion using my '  :-[ poor for this purpose' kit}

Using live view may help too  :tup:
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 10:16:01 AM by beauxreflets »
:beer: Andy

"Light anchors things in place and gives perspective meaning."

The choices we make are rooted in reflection.



latest Posts

Subject Board Views/Replies Member Date & Time
xx Horizons Poll International Weekly Comp Entries 135/1 Oldboy Last post August 08, 2020, 11:48:53 AM
xx Canon EF L IS USM 500 f/4 for sale Lenses 230/6 anglefire Last post August 05, 2020, 07:48:42 AM
xx Horizons ENTRIES 27/07 - 02/08/20 International Weekly Comp Entries 249/5 Oldboy Last post August 03, 2020, 10:25:12 PM
xx What annoyed you today? General Discussion 636539/3972 Jediboy Last post August 03, 2020, 02:13:31 PM
question STREET-ENTRIES-Weekly Comp 1/8-9/8/2020 International Weekly Comp Entries 62/0 Hinfrance Last post August 01, 2020, 04:09:00 PM
smiley STREET-CHAT-Weekly Comp 1/8-9/8/2020 International Weekly Comp Entries 44/0 Hinfrance Last post August 01, 2020, 04:05:33 PM
xx POLL for TIME OUT International Weekly Comp Entries 207/3 Hinfrance Last post August 01, 2020, 01:04:50 PM
xx TIME OUT. Chat thread weekly comp. International Weekly Comp Entries 242/4 Jediboy Last post July 27, 2020, 11:31:15 PM