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Thread: How to photograph Oil Painting?

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    How to photograph Oil Painting?

    Is there anyone in this forum experienced with photographic reproduction of Oil Painting?

    The size of the Oil Painting is 17'" x 21".

    I would love to hear what camera / lens combo you use and lighting diagram / tips will help.

    After google search, what I came to know is I need to polarize the lights.

    I have two Profoto D1 500s and one Acute B 600.

    Also, how much should I charge for this kind of work in Francisco Bay Area?

    Thanks in advance.

    Subrata

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    Member Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph Oil Painting?

    A painting that small I'd use a scanner and stitch the sections together in Photoshop. But for larger pieces I use a Sinaron Macro 180mm lens with a digital camera a fixed to a Sinar-C and cross Polaroid lighting. Lowel Totas or Photogenic 1250 DR. I set the camera at 360 dpi and shoot sections of max rez (11x14") and stitch in PS. I typically charge $18.00 for the 17x21" scan (360 dpi full size) and another $18.00 for a color corrected 17x21" print on Epson Enhance matte paper. If the painting is still wet.... then use the camera.

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    Re: How to photograph Oil Painting?

    i do my wife's work all the time, ranges from 12 x 8 up to 53 x 65.

    decide on the quality level, and this can be a large range, highest being multishot digital back (tricky, and expensive, but museum quality, i hear)

    I use 3' x 4' softboxes with profoto, one to the r and one to the left at about 45 degrees and about 7' away from the painting center. i use polarizer gels over the softbox diffuser and this helps immensely to reduce glare.
    if you want to emphasize the texture of the marks, you will need an additional glancing side light on one side

    longer lens is better
    Last edited by jlm; 12th March 2013 at 15:34.

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    Member Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph Oil Painting?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i do my wife's work all the time, ranges from 12 x 1q8 up to 53 x 65.

    decided on the quality level, and this can be a large range, highest being multishot digital back (tricky, and expoensive, but museum quality, i hear)

    I use 3' x 4' softboxes with profoto, one to the r and one to the left at about 45 degrees and about 7' away from the painting center. i use polarizer gels over the softbox diffuser and this helps immensely to reduce glare.
    if you want to emphasize the texture of the marks, you will need and additional glancing side light on one side

    longer lens is better
    or you can roll one light source off axis

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    Re: How to photograph Oil Painting?

    I have been doing this for years, and this is the method I use. Since the painting is relatively small start with this: Two lights set at 30 to 45 degrees off the subject. Left light shoots the past the right side of the frame, the right side past the left. The feathered light is soft, and will minimize reflection. If you want more texture you can adjust the angle of one. A polarizing filter on the lens will alter the color, so if color accuracy is important, do not use one. I have not used polarizing gels on the lights and my results have been very good, but that is not to say they would not be useful. As to the camera, any full frame 35MM digital will do if you are not making a print past 36". A macro lens with flat field will be better than any other lens choice for this format.

    No advice on the fee.
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