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Taking a Good Photo, Part I

February 15, 2015

 

During my Professional Practice class in school, an artist visited my class. The artist was Jane Alden Stevens.
Jane showed us how to take pictures of our work and how to use lighting correctly.

For 2D work:
            - resolution needs to be clear
            - colors need to look great
            - lighting can not be distracting
            - make sure cropping is even
            - saturate colors
            - unless the paper is part of the art, you should crop them off, if intaglio pencil lines are not important, take them off
            - watermark is important
            - do not show art crooked
            - make art work as big as possible without cropping anything off
            - do not caption on art, put it below or to the side
            - use scanner for smaller work
            - if thumb tack is in a piece, Photoshop it out, but if it is part of the piece put that in the caption
            - NEVER use flash in artwork
            - make media description and size noticeable, big enough to read
            - do not show uneven edges
            - Capitalize the description (Oil paint on paper)
            - Instead of writing Mixed Media, you can write what you used if it is a small list, or what can be seen
            - do not let light source come from an angle
            - use daylight (indirectly/cloudy) or artificial light
            - use tripod for camera (DSLR camera)

For 3D work:
            - take down the label tag before taking a picture of piece (if work is hanging in gallery)
            - everything needs to be clearly seen
            - make sure shadows are not distracting, use light modifiers (foam core board with aluminum foil on it) and diffusion materials (like fabric or paper)
            - say if it is meant to be tilted or not in description
            - make it have a lot of detail (close up shot)
            - medium grey backgrounds can make piece better
            - do not take the picture from above (it will look tilted)
            - do not make background look distracting
            - backgrounds are important! Use studio sweep (curved plastic or fabric, or paper)
            - make photo sharp (put camera on a tripod to make it not blurry)
            - get rid of glare (don’t use flash) use polarizing filters on camera
            - if you are going to have a horizon line, make it parallel to bottom of photo.
            - uneven lighting could be good in sculptures
            - do not crop image too close to the sculpture
            - an off white background could make colors a little weird, look at art and imagine a background that would look better with it
            - lack of shadows can make piece weird
            -  it is always better to get the photo correctly instead of Photoshopping it to make it look correct


You can see Jane's website here: http://janealdenstevens.com/

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