Info: Photographing artwork

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Photographers are occasionally called upon to photograph paintings, prints, documents, or artwork. It's a bit more difficult to set up the lighting and artwork correctly without getting flare, reflections, or distortion. Paul Hill on the Hasselblad list recently posted some excellent tips on how to photograph artwork (or other photographs, documents, etc.) accurately:

Hasselblad's linear mirror unit has not been produced in a long time. Occasionally you can find a used one, but the price is usually above $200 US. has a
tutorial for achieving flatness with a simple mirror. has some diagrams for
lighting setup. Polarizing gels and a polarizer for the lens doesn't hurt
either. This is important for works covered by glass. The use of polarizers
may make your color balance more difficult, however, if you shoot a
calibration card at the start of the roll, or even in the same frame, you
should be able to achieve good results.

Another tutorial can be found at

The same considerations (distortion and reflections) are true when
documenting ceramics and porcelains.

I have some tips on photographing archival material that I'll post separately.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 7, 2005 3:06 PM.

Link: D.C. Settles With Wrongly Imprisoned Man was the previous entry in this blog.

Fieldnotes: Photographing Archival Materials is the next entry in this blog.

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