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photographing framed art with glass

walter harley , Mar 03, 2004; 12:43 a.m.

I am making a color catalog of the framed art that I am selling at a local store. I am using a 5.o mpix Canon G5 and will do it in my home. The print sizes are from small to 3x5 feet.

THE GLASS is a problem for reflections making direct flash impossible. I uses several halogen flood lights but the shadows are terrible.

Does anyone know how to light these pictures easily (maybe they some sort of box to surround the art with light and provide a neutral background)????

What kind of light is best????

Any suggestions appreciated.



Bill Cornett , Mar 03, 2004; 01:02 a.m.

Larry- I've shot art works up to eight by ten feet for catalogs, and the considerations are surprisingly similar to those where one is shooting copies of flat art the size of a standard sheet of paper. The trick is to have your light sources at precisely 45 degrees to the artwork, with the light coming from both sides of the subject. Another thing that will help is to use a polarizer.

With the bigger objects you will have to use more than one light per side to get things even. One rule of thumb is to have the lights at least 1.5 as far away from the subject as the subject is wide, as measured from the middle of the field of view. So if your subject is three feet wide, draw an imaginary line down the middle of it and set the lights at least 4.5 feet from that line--again, at a 45 degree angle. This should give you decently even coverage. Shadows are minimized by having the lights balanced as well as possible from either direction.

One problem I often ran into was the edges of metal frames giving me specular reflections. As always, for best results you should take the artworks out of the frames if you can.

Then again, I've had people claiming to get super results by taking flat art outside on a perfectly clear day and finding a good angle for the sunlight to hit it, which is usually 45 degrees. -Bill C.

Glyn Thomas , Mar 03, 2004; 07:47 a.m.

I often find lighting with less than 45 ideal, something around 30? This gives much less reflection off textured paint.

It is also vital to make sure that exposure is even all over the image. To achieve this move the lights as far back as possible and aim at the far edge. Use a handheld meter, or grey card and take incident readings from many different points over the artwork.

Either hot or cold lights will do, as long as you filter for the colour cast in the hot lights.

Good Luck!


Tom Meyer , Mar 03, 2004; 11:04 p.m.

If the frames are part of the art, or if the art is even slightly three dimensional, I strongly recommend soft boxes pointed at the opposite side of the art from each box... cross lighted. The right softbox is pointed at the left side, and vice versa. Use a long lens and place black cards to keep the light out of your lens. Polarizing is not neccesary and wouldn't even work with a softbox. There are several good books on photographing art. Get one... t

on the kitchen table- deep frame, glass panels, one softbox, art in a white foamcore enclosure

Jeffrey Abelson , Mar 07, 2004; 10:48 a.m.

I just shot a Jean Dufy watercolor behind glass - I used two 10-inch reflectors with diffusion domes at 45 degrees and feathered the light - I shot in the dark to remove any reflections - these are digital and will now be sent to France for authentication.


Attachment: watert.jpg

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