Photographing art with a plain old digital camera?

Alexandria P

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Hi, I posted this thread regarding buying the Rebel XS for the main purpose of photographing my artwork (drawings and paintings). Someone replied that I may not need to spend that much money on a camera for this, so I was looking around some more. I have been thinking about the Sony Cyber-shot WX5, among other digital cameras.

Anyone have any imput? Should I try to stick to a cheaper digital camera like this or would the photo quality severly suffer?

Thank you!
 

CCericola

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I think the quality would suffer. When we photographed art in college for portfolios we had an SLR camera with a 1:1 lens. Smaller paintings were shot on a copy stand with the camera mounted above it shooting down. Larger pieces were hung outside and taken with teh slr on a tripod. Sculpture was photographed like product photography. a 1:1 lens was necessary because I was going to college in the days where fine artist portfolios were sets of slides that were sent to galleries. I think you will be disapointed with teh quality of a p/s and the slr will not only let you shoot your art so you can showcase it the way you want. It might open another medium for you to use artistically.
 

KmH

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You'll want a quality lens and good lighting. In addition you'll need to learn how to set up the camera, lens, and lighting if you want quality photographs.
 

c.cloudwalker

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What camera you use would depend mostly on the reason to photograph your art. If it is for you to keep a semi-accurate record of your work, any camera will do. But if it is for something more serious where color accuracy, great detail, etc is a must, not only will you need a good camera but you will need to know quite a bit about photography.

Photography of art is a specialty in itself. And it is not an easy one. I have been a photographer for a long time and I have been both published and exhibited, yet I do not shoot my own paintings when it is for a quality catalog or reproductions. I or my gallery pay for a specialized photog. Truth be told, I have shot some myself. I have done some B&W paintings with a flat layer of paint and some B&W ink drawings that I shot and that came out just fine. But my color and heavily textured work, I just can't get right. For one, the colors need to be spot on. Then, the texture needs to show but without throwing ugly shadows. Not easy. Either part. I'm sure you've seen paintings in a museum and went "OMG, I had no idea this painting looked like that" because the photos you had seen were atrocious.

My suggestion is depending on what art work you are shooting, borrow a camera and give it a try. You'll know right away if you have a problem. If you do, show us the photos here and we may be able to tell you how to do it better. Or we may tell you to hire a pro.
 

Sw1tchFX

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I've photographed art for a number of classmates at my school and i'll tell you right now, a cheap, stinkin' Sony WX5 will not cut it, even if the lighting is perfect. Not only is the resolving power of the lens low, but the acuity of the sensor is just not there. It's grainy and soft from noise reduction, regardless of ISO. Also, the WX5 doesn't shoot RAW, so you have no choice but to be at mercy of the color engine that cranks out the jpegs. So not only do you have a lousy lens, but a lousy sensor, and lousy color that you will never be able to get right.

Digital SLR MINIMUM if you want to shoot digitally.




To be honest, if you want to keep things simple, get yourself a 35mm film SLR(cheap), a nice 55mm macro lens(cheap), and shoot slide film. That way you don't have to worry about color checkers and profiling to make sure your color is absolutely perfect.
 

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