Picture This – Camera Update

Guest Blogger – My Husband Rick:

I’m back with a progress report, and a couple of examples.  Learning how to photograph art has taken a lot of reading and experimenting.  I have spent hours and hours studying the camera manual, reading reviews, reading blogs about photography and photographing art.  Then more hours experimenting with different settings, different light sources, optimizing the variables for the truest color.  Hours well spent, because the results are finally coming in, as illustrated below.

This first photo was taken Saturday, and is the best color reproduction I could manage at that point.

The best of many attempts on Saturday

I was using halogen bulbs in the lamps, and I’m embarrassed to say that the camera was on fully automatic mode.  It decided that ISO 400, f-4, at 1/50 was optimal.  This is also with the white balance set automatically.

I started with these settings as a reference and made many changes in manual mode to improve color.  However, Ruth and I concluded that my best attempt… was this automatically rendered photo.  Clearly, I had more to learn.

After reading a lot, with numerous ‘aha’ moments, I returned to the studio with new ideas, and came up with this:

Monday's 2nd image

Here are the differences Ruth and I see:  The green-blue field in the upper right corner has a good bit of green in it now instead of mostly blue, and the coffee cup is more tawny, or tan with red highlights – these are much closer to the appearance of her painting.  This also preserves the compositional logic of the original painting, as the green corner resonates in the cup handle, the right side of the rim, and the cup handle’s reflection in the coffee pot.

I changed the lamp bulbs to “Reveal” clear (now tungsten vs halogen), and again began in automatic mode to get the camera settings in the ball park.  I then switched to manual and moved the f-stop smaller one stop to f-5, and set the ISO to a slower sensitivity of 200.  This allowed me to slow the shutter down to 1/40.  The reason for doing this was to get the lens out of its wide-open position, and actually over-expose the image.  The painting is fairly dark and to bring off a truer appearance I needed to keep the imaging darker than the automatic settings would allow.

Now, if I could just manage to label the images with a copyright notice in the same format…

One thought on “Picture This – Camera Update

  1. Pingback: Photographing art with Nikon D3100 DSLR – 1 Year’s Experience « Ruth Bailey, artist

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