Equipment List - as needed
Background, if needed - curtain, bedspread, sheet, liner Chair or bench
Clothespins or Clips
Bulb - any type, higher watts or lumens
Camera – Cellphone not recommended
White copy paper – blank on both sides
Artwork and Camera Setup
Always use a tripod
Use a contrasting, (relatively) plain background; can be mottled Camera & Settings (digital b/c it is usually required)
- 10 mpx or higher
- Lens - Do not use a wide-angle lens.
- Small pieces - macro or normal lens o Medium pieces - normal or zoom lens o Large pieces - zoom or telephoto
- Software that can control color balance
- Set image at highest resolution
- Remote or set timer for exposures (This will eliminate camera shake.)
Hang or put the work on a stand
- Easel (artist or plate)
- Chair or bench - a box can be set on it to raise the surface
- Place rolled towel near seat back
- Lean foam core, background and piece against back; use clothespins & mat to hold flat, if necessary
- Use additional towels behind to bring top forward, if needed
View - Make sure your camera captures the work (not the mat or frame) with a bit of space around all sides of it to allow for cropping to a particular length/width ratio, especially if this might be printed later.
- Straight on camera angle - lens is parallel (barrel is perpendicular) to center of work or edges will begin to converge
- Works on paper, unstretched canvas, textiles and any substrate that might warp, will need support 3-D
- Multiple camera angles – at least 2
- Other equipment might be needed for tall pieces
- Focus – Know how to focus and reframe
- Auto-focus for flat work
- Know how to set your focus spots, if that is possible
Natural - best, if possible
Camera Flash – Do not use, as this will produce hot spots
Indirect; over your shoulder or from the side (45-60 degrees from plane of work); no shadows, unless you need to show texture or other dimensionality (more raking light)
Indirect to avoid hot spots, especially on horizontal or smooth surfaces, but shadows to define are important; large pieces usually work best with cloudy-bright conditions
Artificial - more control, if needed; large pieces can be more difficult to light because big, strong lighting is needed; any bulb type or combination will work
After your artwork and camera are in place, arrange your lighting and test with the camera by taking photographs and reviewing them for the following issues:
- White Balance - Place a piece of white copy paper (no folds or crumples) in the center of the work and photograph. Adjust the white balance according to your camera’s instructions.
- Alignment - Make sure the edges of your piece are parallel to the edges of the digital image and that you have a little extra space on all sides of the work.
- Make sure there are no hot spots or shadows on the piece.
- Check the color. This can be adjusted somewhat with your software but should be close. You can
adjust the Lighting and/or White Balance, if needed.
- Take 6-12 exposures.
- Repeat steps 1-5 for each piece you are documenting. If you are shooting 3-D work, repeat for
each view of each piece. However, we recommend that you check the first set of images to make sure you have something to work with before taking down the piece.
- Download your images to your computer and Delete any that are obviously bad. Pick one that looks good and enlarge it to 100%, looking at important sections to make sure they look good, especially the focus. (Minor color corrections can be made in editing.)
- Edit - Select the best-looking image. Others should be deleted and/or saved in a 1st Cuts folder. Edit a copy of your image file for Color Correction, Contrast, and any other issues you feel need attention. Save any cropping for the last step, as it can clip some of your information. This is your Edited File, which can be copied for any size changes you make, since they’re always different.
- Image Size - If you need a specific size for submission, make a copy of your edited file; crop your image, if needed; and edit the image size. You cannot make your image larger without losing quality so make sure you check the numbers. It’s easier to make note of the existing size, which is usually shown in this mode. (EX: 72 px / in; width = 6000 px; height = 4000 px) When you change the px / in, the W:H will adjust. If either of the other two numbers is less than is needed, your file will not meet the minimum size requirement and you should get help with this copy work. If your file is larger than the maximum, change the one that is closest without exceeding the maximum size and the other will adjust. If these both meet the parameters, save this edit. (NOTE: Any time you cannot use the crop, Undo it before trying again. If you are working with the Image Size and you have not yet saved it, you can just change the numbers.)
- Save File - If you need to change the file type, you will select it in the File > Save As process. Changing the file type automatically makes this a copy of the file but in a different format.
© Terri St.Arnauld & Frank Yezer 2018