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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Technical Tuesday - Taking Photographs

Taking Photographs
 I do not claim to be a tech nerd, genius, or guru.
I am also not a professional photographer, or even a great photographer.
 But, I do know that photographing artwork
is often more difficult than producing the artwork.

So, having said that,
here's what I do and maybe it will help in some way.

The goal, should you choose to accept it, is to get a photo that looks as
 close to the original artwork as possible.
Sounds a lot like Mission Impossible.
Let's look at factors:
camera shake,
and the list can go on and on.
Today I took the time to document exactly how I do it.
Artist extraordinaire and super duper teacher
Dreama Tolle Perry 
introduced me to this affordable tool,
the Cowboy Studio Photo Table Top Tent.
click Here for a link from her blog and to purchase this cool tool.
The table top photo studio comes with the foldable box, two led lights
and a table top stand to hold your camera, (not shown) and 4 different color fabrics to serve as backdrops,
and it currently sells for under $45 + shipping.

I use my own tripod off the table, but I have used the table top
tripod included and it works just as well.

I believe a tripod of some sort is pretty critical to good pics.
The camera I used in this pic is my Canon 30D which I used when I was a reporter.
 But, I also use a Nikon Coolpix camera on the tripod.

Here's the Coolpix on the tripod.

This set up fixes several problems,
namely lighting and camera shake.

Now for editing.
I use picassa because it's free and easy and I don't really want to make
a lot of changes in the colors, unless they are horribly off.

In picassa I can straighten, crop, try an auto fix or work some adjustments myself.
I did a little experiment with my Canon 30 D.
I took 3 photos of the same painting at different ISO speeds.
They are speeds 1000, 1250 and 1600 left to right.
I know any speed lower than that will not give me the results I'm seeking.

My pick is almost always the 1600 speed.
They don't look very different at 1st glance
and that's a good thing.
But, upon closer examination the 1600 shows the highlights
better, and to me that's when the painting starts to pop,
when you put in the highlights, so I definitely want them to show.
Now on the difference of my cameras.
My Canon is a super camera, but it has some dust or something I can't get to inside on the mirror.  I can't fix it and it will take an outlay of cash to get it repaired.
On photos that are busy or have a dark background you can't see it.
But if you scroll back up to the photo of the setup
 using the Nikon Coolpix as the model, you can see it really badly.

The Nikon doesn't have it and its pics are clear and crisp.

 Nikon Camera 

Canon with dust showing.
Looking closely, you can see the photographs are comparable,
meaning an expensive camera is not necessary.

The Nikon was under $200.  

So, anyway, that's how I do it and it works for me,
most of the time.
I'll show you how I photograph larger paintings on another Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by today and making it all the way through.





  1. Great Blog!
    Did I miss the size of the tent?
    One spec. said 16x16, it looks bigger than that?

  2. Thanks. The painting inside the cube is 6" x 6" and I'd have to say the cube itself is 18-24". It is a terrific tool. Doesn't matter the time of day or the weather and I get what I think are consistent pics.

  3. Sharon, this is a great post, and I think I know a special person who will really love this!!! Your tent does look larger than the one I have. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I just went and measured and the cube is 17" square. I can photograph a painting up to a 14" x 11" with no problem. Thanks so much for the comment and I hope the info does help.

  4. What a great post Sharon! Step by step with photos is so very helpful. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Thanks Cathy. Glad you liked it and it was helpful.

  6. Thanks you so much, Sharon. Great post! And you know I will be studying this.....

  7. Had you in mind the whole time girlfriend. Hope something here is useful.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.


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About Me

My photo
Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows and flowers. I work almost daily. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at and there is also a tab across the top of my blog for available paintings and one for small paintings with buy now buttons. You can also purchase through my Etsy shop using the name of Fine Nature Art. . Thank you so much for stopping by.