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Topic: How do you photograph paintings?

Posted under Art Talk

When it comes to illustration and watercolor paintings, you have to scan it in order for your post to be approved. And when it comes to sizes, stitching is key. And when you don't have a scanner, you take pictures and you edit them to be post-able.

But when it comes to acrylics or oils on canvas, there's no way for you to scan it, unless if you're an absolute madlad. Photos are the only possible thing.

And using flash, the glare's another thing whether you're using oil or non-matte acrylic, and whether with or without varnish.

So, what are your tips and methods in taking photos of your paintings in order for it to be acceptable here?

Updated by CCoyote

First, use a high quality camera and shoot at high resolution. Turn the flash off; if you need to, use a tripod, but I've found that a tripod usually isn't necessary if you shoot in a well lit space. When you shoot, make sure you take the photograph straight on so the image isn't keystoned.

Second, use some kind of image editor to adjust your photo. Crop out the edges, then use levels, curves, brightness, contrast, and any other settings needed to ensure the colors in your photo match those on the actual painting.

Lastly, change the final resolution to what you want to upload. Personally, I've been advised that uploading a very high resolution image is a good way to get your artwork stolen. I tend to upload lower res stuff that sufficiently represents my work. If someone wants a higher resolution, they can buy the original.

Cheers, and good luck!

Updated by anonymous

Not posting at as high a resolution as realistically possible is also a good way for art at reasonable resolutions to get lost years later. No good "buying the original" if the services to make that happen shut down, the people involve drop off the face of the planet, and all you're left with is a blatant advertisement for something that now is unobtainable, sometimes with junk plastered on top for, reasons I'm sure.
Would be nice to see some of that early furry art from VCL at reasonable resolutions, good luck tracking people down, assuming they're still alive, and seeing if they even have the physical drawings (as most art then was done physically and scanned in) or happen to still have the drives the raw scans were saved on anymore.

Updated by anonymous

You can avoid glare by using indirect lighting. In photo studies that is achieved by having multiple spotlights aimed away from the subject, but towards a diffuser. Generally those take the shape of big, white umbrellas. They then gently diffuse all the light over a much larger area, making it easier to get a uniform brightness level over the entire subject you try to photograph. Outside of a photo studio, using a room with a huge window during prime of the day is likely your best bet to get both the required brightness going on without having to rely on an external diffuser.

Anonomn said:
Not posting at as high a resolution as realistically possible is also a good way for art at reasonable resolutions to get lost years later.

Alas, that is not the artist's problem, and entirely up to them whether they value the worthless "exposure" such a thing provides.

Updated by anonymous

I know this is three weeks late, but these tips are interesting, save for the last one, which I'm not going to click.

I have always thought that traditional art is hard to be plagiarized compared to digital art.

Updated by anonymous

kamui43 said:
Hm I use different photo editors on my smartphone. But I got new iphone few days ago so I do not know some cool apps for editing pics.

Personally, I wouldn't use the camera or image software on an iPhone or other mobile for good quality picture-taking of paintings. They aren't meant for high quality photography, at least not at the level e621 demands. Get a proper camera, digital or film, and process the resulting photo with art software on a proper computer. Lastly, never click on dodgy links.

Updated by anonymous

CCoyote said:
First, use a high quality camera and shoot at high resolution. Turn the flash off; if you need to, use a tripod, but I've found that a tripod usually isn't necessary if you shoot in a well lit space. When you shoot, make sure you take the photograph straight on so the image isn't keystoned.

Second, use some kind of image editor to adjust your photo. Crop out the edges, then use levels, curves, brightness, contrast, and any other settings needed to ensure the colors in your photo match those on the actual painting.

Lastly, change the final resolution to what you want to upload. Personally, I've been advised that uploading a very high resolution image is a good way to get your artwork stolen. I tend to upload lower res stuff that sufficiently represents my work. If someone wants a higher resolution, they can buy the original.

Cheers, and good luck!

I just read this post, which is extremely useful! I really appreciate your feedback to the question, because I’d been thinking about posting an image of an oil on canvas. Seems I have some work to do before I attempt to post my painting.

Thanks!

Updated by anonymous

Muddypaws said:
I just read this post, which is extremely useful! I really appreciate your feedback to the question, because I’d been thinking about posting an image of an oil on canvas. Seems I have some work to do before I attempt to post my painting.

Thanks!

For best results be sure to take the photo in the brightest room possible with as little direct light hitting the painting as possible. Also take the best camera you can get your hands on, preferably not a phone but something with a beefy and big sensor. Combining all of those gives you best possible shot at getting the best raw file possible, which is then easier to post edit.

Updated by anonymous

Muddypaws said:
I just read this post, which is extremely useful! I really appreciate your feedback to the question, because I’d been thinking about posting an image of an oil on canvas. Seems I have some work to do before I attempt to post my painting.

Thanks!

I'm so glad it was helpful! You're welcome! I also agree entirely with NMNY's comment below yours. I use a Canon T5, for example. Honestly, if you don't have a DSLR already, an old refurbished T2i from a shop like B&H Photo Video would probably cost relatively little and be a great investment.

Good luck!

Updated by anonymous

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