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Photographing Artwork You will need to photograph your artwork in order to share it with other individual who are participating in this course. Taking good photographs of your artwork is important so other people can understand what you have made. This guide is intended to help you identify and fix some of the most common problems with photographing your artwork. It is not difficult to take good pictures of your artwork if you are careful and attentive to what you are doing. Most common problems are the same for photographing both two and threedimensional work. Above you will see a sample diagram of a lighting setup that will serve you well for most situations. Two lights are angled at 45 degree angles to the artwork, with the camera between the lights. This setup will give you a fairly even light on the artwork. If you are a photographing a sculpture or other threedimensional artwork and feel like that setup is not giving you enough of a sense of the volume of your object you can try the setup on the right, replacing one of the light sources with a white piece of paper or foam core to reflect light into the shadows cast by the remaining light. An example of a good photograph of a piece of twodimensional artwork is shown below.

Photographing art

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Photographing  Artwork    You  will  need  to  photograph  your  artwork  in  order  to  share  it  with  other  individual  who  are  participating  in  this  course.    Taking  good  photographs  of  your  artwork  is  important  so  other  people  can  understand  what  you  have  made.    This  guide  is  intended  to  help  you  identify  and  fix  some  of  the  most  common  problems  with  photographing  your  artwork.    It  is  not  difficult  to  take  good  pictures  of  your  artwork  if  you  are  careful  and  attentive  to  what  you  are  doing.    Most  common  problems  are  the  same  for  photographing  both  two  and  three-­‐dimensional  work.      


   Above  you  will  see  a  sample  diagram  of  a  lighting  setup  that  will  serve  you  well  for  most  situations.    Two  lights  are  angled  at  45  degree  angles  to  the  artwork,  with  the  camera  between  the  lights.    This  setup  will  give  you  a  fairly  even  light  on  the  artwork.    If  you  are  a  photographing  a  sculpture  or  other  three-­‐dimensional  artwork  and  feel  like  that  setup  is  not  giving  you  enough  of  a  sense  of  the  volume  of  your  object  you  can  try  the  setup  on  the  right,  replacing  one  of  the  light  sources  with  a  white  piece  of  paper  or  foam  core  to  reflect  light  into  the  shadows  cast  by  the  remaining  light.    An  example  of  a  good  photograph  of  a  piece  of  two-­‐dimensional  artwork  is  shown  below.          

 Troubleshooting  photographs  of  art    

 � Is  the  artwork  evenly  lit?    If  not,  adjust  the  position  of  your  light  or  artwork  so  that  

shadows  aren’t  cast  on  it.    Avoid  using  your  flash,  as  this  often  causes  glare.    Good  sources  of  light  include  photographing  outside  on  a  cloudy  day,  in  a  fully  shaded  area  on  a  sunny  day,  or  indoors  with  lamps  that  are  not  too  close  and  are  not  at  a  harsh  angle  to  the  artwork.    


� Does  your  artwork  appear  the  right  color?    If  not,  you  will  need  to  adjust  white  balance.    Check  your  camera  manual  for  how  to  do  that.    You  will  need  to  adjust  your  white  balance  if  your  artwork  appears  too  yellow,  blue,  or  green.    If  only  one  part  of  your  artwork  appears  to  be  the  wrong  color,  check  to  make  sure  that  you  aren’t  getting  stray  light  from  another  light  source.      You  can  see  an  example  of  mixed  light  sources  in  the  leftmost  image  in  the  section  about  even  lighting  above.    Different  sources  of  light  (light  bulbs,  daylight,  fluorescent  lights)  are  different  colors,  and  mixing  them  may  cause  color  problems.    You  need  to  evenly  light  your  artwork  with  one  kind  of  light.  


� Is  your  artwork  too  dark  or  too  light?    You  will  want  the  photograph  to  be  in  an  appropriate  range  to  see  detail.    Most  cameras  have  a  control  called  exposure  compensation  to  correct  for  problems  with  exposure.    Check  your  camera  manual  for  how  to  use  this  function  if  you  have  problems  with  the  image  being  too  dark  or  light.      

 � Can  you  see  the  whole  artwork?  Is  the  camera  square  to  the  artwork?    If  you  are  

photographing  a  two  dimensional  artwork,  be  sure  that  you  are  including  the  whole  artwork  in  the  frame.    Choose  a  background  that  is  not  distracting  (another  piece  of  paper,  a  piece  of  cardboard,  non-­‐patterned  carpet,  or  something  like  that).    Avoid  patterned  or  distracting  backgrounds.    If  you  have  an  artwork  that  is  made  of  black  wire  or  something  like  that,  you  will  want  to  photograph  it  in  front  of  something  light  that  is  not  distracting.      Do  not  photograph  your  two  dimensional  artwork  from  the  side  or  from  another  oblique  angle.    You  need  to  accurately  represent  what  is  in  front  of  you  so  others  can  see  it  clearly.    


� Is  the  artwork  in  focus?    Try  zooming  in  to  a  small  section  of  your  image  on  your  camera  or  computer  and  make  sure  it  is  in  focus.      Artwork  can  appear  blurry  either  from  the  camera  not  focusing  properly  or  from  movement  during  the  picture  taking  process.    Generally,  blur  from  movement  will  look  smeared  (like  the  image  on  the  right  above).    Blur  from  the  lens  focusing  incorrectly  will  just  look  blurry  (like  the  image  on  the  left  above).    If  you  have  blur  from  movement,  use  a  tripod,  stabilize  the  camera  against  a  steady  surface,  or  use  a  brighter  source  of  light  to  reduce  blur.