Tips for Photographing Artwork


TPF Noob!
Nov 12, 2007
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Western NY
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My brother is a Computer Art and Design major in college right now, and he needs some charcoal/graphite artwork photographed in the next few days. I need some advice on how best to go about this using the equipment that I have. I'm using an Olympus OM-2n 35mm camera with the choice of a 28mm, 35-70mm, or 80-200mm lens. I have a TTL flash unit, tripod, and release cable as well.

I have two questions:

1) What's the best lens to use in this case (e.g. to reduce "fisheye" and other problems to get the most accurate image onto the film")?

2) What is the best way to set up my lighting? If I use only my flash, mostly likely I'll end up with a "hot spot" in the center that won't accurately record the art. And if I use daylight, will I end up with shadows and other problems? I do not have any money to spend on anything fancy for studio lighting. Basically anything in the lighting section of Wal-Mart is the best I can do right now. :p Would tungsten or halogen floodlamps work? Perhaps compact fluorescents? I realize this won't be anything near studio-quality, but all I need are accurately-colored, evenly-lit photos. Is there a website you can point me to for tips on setting up studio shots?
1 - This is not too lens dependant. Don't use a "wiede angle" lens as it will distort it. Make sure you are at 90 degrees to the pic to minimize distortion.

2 - Off camera lighting.
Hi Joshua,

You can use your one light source flash and bounce it into the art piece, that will give you soft light and take care of any hot spots that direct flash would give you. You can also photograph it with available window light if you can find an window that gives off a wide a enough amount of light. Try and use a normal focal length lens and just fill the frame with it. At some point when you can afford another flash unit, then just set the lights on each side of the subject so that they are at a 45 degree angle and you will get great results.

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