Taking photo's of paintings

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Sardine, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Sardine

    Sardine TPF Noob!

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    No matter what I do, when I take photos of paintings, they won't be square. The tend to get thinner at the top/bottom. I've used a tripod, I've put them on the floor, walls and chairs. I can be far away, close, no zoom, full zoom, half zoom.. and yet they still don't come out square.

    My camera (Fujifilm s8000) has a function that makes little blocks appear on the screen so you can center and make sure the photo will be level etc, but it doesn't help.I've tried using a different camera, but I have the same problem. Sometimes I also get a bit of a fish-eye effect. And other times, it gets thinner in the middle, then widens at the top and bottom.

    I normally end up cutting a good few cm's off each photo in an attempt to get it all nice and square. Half of the time I end up cutting half the artists signature off, or part of the subject in the painting.

    What can I do?!

    Slight fish-eye effect
    [​IMG]

    Hour-glass figure
    [​IMG]

    Widening at top/bottom
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Photog

    Photog TPF Noob!

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    You need to get as square on to the painting as possible, and then don' stand too close as this will increase distortion. If you still get that pincushion distortion, it can be corrected in PS.
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^^ in other words, what you are seeing is the distortion that is a result of the image passing through a round lens, which is called barrel distortion. It's normal, is usually amplified by wider angles (and likely in your case directly or indirectly from standing close to the painting when you take it), and can be corrected via Photoshop.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Do some testing. Most likely the distortion changes with the focal length. You may find a focal length where the distortion is less.
     
  5. Sardine

    Sardine TPF Noob!

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    Ok, thanks guys :)
     

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