Thursday, July 9, 2015

Photographing your work

Some five weeks ago I bought a new compact camera. Not that the one I had was broken or anything, but I wasn't satisfied with the video quality. The new camera is absolutely amazing. HD video quality and fantastic stabilizing.

It also has a time lapse mode. That was new to me, so I had to figure out how it worked. I had planned to make an oil sketch for a possible commission (which I didn't get...) and I thought it might be a good idea to film the making-of as a time lapse. Great fun to see myself as a Comedy Capers character working like mad on this little painting. Hope you enjoy it too.

Now let's get serious: taking pictures of your work can be quite frustrating. The colors are off, the image is unsharp, annoying reflections, what have you. There are a few simple groundrules that can make your life easier, at least when it comes to taking pictures of your work.

Here we go:
- The quality of the light is the most important factor. Bad lighting, bad picture. The best light can be found on an overcast day with diffuse light. Take your painting outside and you'll be amazed by the quality of the pictures.
- When you shoot indoors, make sure you use daylight lamps. Most everyday light bulbs are way to yellow.
- No direct flash. Direct flash equals reflections. 
- Use a tripod. A stabilized camera allows you to use a wider diafragm and higher shutterspeed. Which leads to sharper pictures.
- Treat yourself to a photo software program. It will allow you to adjust  not only lightness and contrast, but color hue as well. I use Photoshop Elements. It has all the features I need and is relatively cheap. Indispensable for fine tuning your pictures.


Changing Weather, oil on panel, 15 x 45 cm