How to light paintings/drawings?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tseo, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. tseo

    tseo TPF Noob!

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    What's the best easiest way to light a painting/drawing for photographing with no equipment. I will be shooting with ordinary Nikon Coolpix L4 camera
     
  2. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    "...with no equipment"? I'm assuming you mean "how to light a painting/drawing" with only ambient light, so without extra light.

    With the camera on tripod, I would try lighting the painting/drawing from the side and a little high, angling down, to get some relief showing (if there is any). Should that relief create too heavy/harsh shadows, you can fill/'open' those shadows with a reflector on the side opposite the light.

    But if the painting/drawing is covered by plate glass you'll have a problem with your own mirror image being visible.
    To avoid that, you need to avoid any light falling directly onto your camera (good screen between camera and light), and you need a black backdrop behind the camera.
    (A reflection of a (really) black object should not be visible in the glass).

    Also, the shorter the lens, the greater the distortion (cushion or barrel distortion). So I'd use a short telephoto lens – say between 100 and 150mm (35mm film equivalent) to minimize that. Exactly like in portrait photography.
    This means the camera needs to be at some distance from the painting/drawing!

    Use Av (aperture priority) at f5.6 or f8.0, and the lowest ISO setting your camera's got.
    For a precise White Balance, preset/measure with a grey card (check this WB wrap-up – click!; 3.5MB PDF file), and shoot RAW(+JPG) so that you can adjust WB after the fact, if you want to.
     
  3. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Try making a light tent outside using a sheet, make sure it it not a real sunny day but with some clouds to diffuse the strong light. Shoot thru a hole in the sheet with some telephoto lens and you should have no problems.
     
  4. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    I'm not so sure that would work, lady, because in your scenario that light tent needs to be pretty big to accomodate the minimum lens-subject distance that the telephoto lens requires...
     
  5. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    I have used it for a 20x30 print, works great!
     
  6. tseo

    tseo TPF Noob!

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    Hello.
    I tried what I could indoors with some lights and that is the best i could get
    [​IMG]

    The paper seems a little greyish and it is more yellowish in real world... Some more advices...?
     

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