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Topics - LowBloodSugar

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Lighting / photographing paintings that have thick paint
« on: April 21, 2013, 11:14:06 PM »
I just moved this thread, because i had previously posted it in the wrong forum.

I am trying to build the ultimate setup for photographing a collection of art.  Mostly large oil paintings (3feet x 4feet +/-)  with significant impasto (thickly applied paint that has depth and 3D shape).  There is also hand painted dinner and dessert plates that are glossy.

After much research and trail runs my list of goals are as follows:

1) Maximize sharpness
2) Maximize contrast
3) Maximize resolution
4) minimize vignetting
5) minimize distortion
6) minimize chromatic aberration
7) minimize out of focus fringing
8 ) minimize camera shake AND camera vibration
9) minimize glare,
10) reproduce accurate color
11) maximize uniformity

unknowns:
what is the best angles to put lights so that the paintings self shadowing looks the best (45, 45 copy table style is often recomended, but i think it produces unnatural looking shadows on the paint structure)
should lights be large or small ( soft shadows or sharp shadows )


so far this is the setup that I am thinking will produce the best results:

CAMERA: Canon 5DMK3 (currently owned) on a sturdy tripod or copy table
Set to mirror lockup and shooting raw

Lens:  I have been using a Canon 50mm MK2 1.8 lens with great results but I am considering upgrading to   100mm 2.8L macro IS, or 100mm 2.8 macro, or 135mm 2.8L.  Obviously in this situation a "flat field" prime lens will produce the best results.  I am expecting something like a 5.6 or so aperture will be the best.

Color treatment: xrite color checker passport <- for color calibration (highly recommended).  Use color calibration to get color correct, and don't do any other tweaks.

LIGHTING:
Currently this is the most nagging question for me.  i am using lowelpro continuous lights which have a high color rendering index.  I am experimenting with one or two set with a diffusion umbrella at about 45 degrees.  And one or two lights without diffusion to produce sharper soft shadowing.  But im worried that the shutter speed is just too long and also it produces uneven lighting and camera vibration is still present even on a tripod.  I am thinking that possibly i could switch to using strobes witch would reduce vibration.   I am also considering the wesscot grid flash modifier for creating highly directional and uniform lighting or moving the strobes very far away and not using any modifiers.

ALSO, i am wondering if i should be shooting in a black room or white room.

I am also doing what I can to reduce flare by looking at the histogram and goboing the lights just to make sure i am not getting any issues from off frame lights spilling into the lens.

Do any of the canon rumor members have any advice or experience to share for photographing paintings that have thick paint?

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