Many methods have been used by myself and other artists to get good photographs of our artwork. The easiest is to use a professional printer photographer. My guy makes a 22 mega pixel scan of my artwork and top of the line printers to duplicate my work, but at a cost of $75 per scanned image and $12 to $300 per print I don't use him except for my favorite paintings.
Much experimentation has been involved in my own photographic endeavors, but I use a 5 mega pixel camera minimally for the best detailed images. The higher the mega pixels, the larger you can make your prints and still maintain details. I also use a tripod to hold the camera steady, floodlamps and filters.
Recently I began painting with some iridescent paints and I entered into a whole new realm of unchartered territory. I began doing further research as a result and this guide is intended to give you a summary of the suggestions and methods that I have encountered.
ONE LOCAL ARTIST SAYS HIS SECRET is to shoot the artwork twice, once by itself and once with a color swatch reference card placed somewhere on the artwork. Color swatch cards are available from camera stores and online.
Download your images from the camera into your computer and open the image with the swatch card first. Use your Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paint Shop Pro, Ulead, or other software program to add a Curves Adjustment Layer. In the Curves box, use the eyedropper tools to choose the white point, black point and mid gray 50 % K point to match what is on the swatch card itself. Correcting for the black, white and gray swatches should automatically correct the other colors.
Now open the other version of the image photoed without the swatch and drag that Curves Adjustment Layer right onto it. The same corrections will apply and your image should look right.
THE FOLLOWING IS WHAT I GOT FROM THE MFG WEBSITE OF THE IRIDESCENT PAINTS THAT I USE. I did the Lumier color chips for the Jacquard website and here is what I did in Photoshop:
1 Scanned painted fabric swatches. A photo will work also.
2 Color corrected the scan.
3 Ran the Photoshop Add Noise Filter on the image.
4 Sharpened the image with the Photoshop Unsharp Mask filter.
The two filters exaggerate the sparkliness of the paint which is otherwise lost in the on screen image. To do this on a piece of artwork you would have to mask out the non iridescent parts so that you don't add noise to the rest of the image.
A 3RD ARTIST (and PHOTOGRAPHER), LAR SHACKELFORD, SUGGESTED THIS: Shoot them in light that is natural but outside in shadow avoiding splotches. Shoot in solid shadow. After shooting them use the colorizer in an art program to add more yellow and pink to them. You will need to play with this so that it doesn't change the entire color scheme.
Shoot them from an angle so that the luninescence shows up better. Your computer monitor also needs to be calibrated to make sure that you are seeing a fairly accurate image. Read online in Google about calibrating your monitor.
Make sure a digital camera is set to auto and white card prior to shooting, if you have such functions. A flash setting usually blows out the luminescence of these colors, so if you are forced to shoot them inside try bouncing harsh light off the ceiling to dispurse it or use professional filters or umbrellas. You can purchase mechanics' lights in hardware stores for your floodlamps, and pay much less than you would in a camera shop.
CAPTAINMARGA SUGGESTED THIS: I painted a 3D horse figurine and some paintings in some ambiguous colors and tried hundreds of things to get a decent picture. I finally took them outside in the sunlight, turned the flash off in my digital camera, put them inside my RV in the cargo section in back, kept the door open and shot there. The photos were the truest to the correct colors because the sun was bright enough to light the works, but the interior of the RV kept strange shadows out.
MOST SUCCESSFUL FOR ME: I lay my iridescent pieces on the floor with an overhead lightbulb above and position my tripod to shoot from a slight angle down over the artwork avoiding placing a shadow on it. This gives me an iridescent look which I haven't successfully captured from inside, outside, flash, no flash, floodlamps and filters. I then can use my software program to work on the various colors until I am satisfied with the results.
When all else fails and you are ready to pull out your hair, a bit of humor might help. THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS FROM GECKOARTIST MIGHT DO THE TRICK. So basically the best luck so far has been if we take our photos as we suspend ourselves elbows first over a pit filled with spongecake whilst the painting is three blocks away resting ever so carefully on a bed of nails, with a garden hose wrapped up near it but not touching it directly, with flash off, is that right?
GOOD LUCK AND I HOPE THESE SUGGESTIONS HAVE BEEN HELPFUL TO YOU!