Photographing a framed painting

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Andy Clews, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. Andy Clews

    Andy Clews Guest

    This is not specifically about digital photography per se, but as I have a
    Nikon D70 I might as well ask here as anywhere.

    I've been asked if I can take a photograph of an oil or acrylic painting
    that is mounted and framed behind glass, in order to print a copy of it.
    I can't think of a way of taking the photo without getting a reflection
    from the glass. Removing the frame and unmounting the painting is not
    really an option because the photo is only a favour and the framing is such
    that I or the person asking for the photo would probably have to destroy it
    to remove the painting, and thus pay to have it remounted and reframed.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions!
    Andy Clews, Nov 8, 2005
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  2. Try a polarizing filter for reflections off glass.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Nov 8, 2005
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  3. Andy Clews

    John Fryatt Guest

    Maybe you could shoot it from slightly to one side to lose the
    reflection, then use an image editing prog on a computer to correct the
    keystone effect. Or get a shift lens for your D70? :)
    John Fryatt, Nov 8, 2005
  4. Andy Clews

    SimonLW Guest

    Use strobes or flood lights at 45-60 deg from the lens axis. Keep the lights
    no closer than 10 feet from the art to avoid hotspotting. Darken the room so
    only the light from the strobes or floods illuminate the art. When using
    strobes, I use modeling light that is killed just before exposure to align
    the camera and focus. I prefer strobes because they give the best color
    balance, even illumination and eliminates blur from camera shake. I made
    snoots for them out of cardboard to control the light spill. Also consider
    black fabric behind the art to help control light bounce.

    Use the camera's slowest ISO and highest quality settings. Bracket
    exposures. Set the lens at 2-3 stops down from wide aperture. I recommend
    primes, but when using zooms, set it to mid range zoom for minimal
    HTH, -S
    SimonLW, Nov 8, 2005
  5. Andy Clews

    tomm101 Guest

    Best way is to have good tungsten lights (Lowel Totalites are my
    preference)for reproduction of paintings you need a light that is
    dependable for its color temperature. The lights you get at hardware
    stores or round bulb lights aren't dependable.
    Have polarizing filters on the lights (make sure they are aligned with
    each other), polarizing filter on the camera.
    Set the camera WB is set for tungsten.
    Make sure the painting is aligned with the camera, this is amazingly
    difficult, but doable. Lens selection should be a flat field lens, 50
    or 60 macros are good, 100 is a bit too long for even normal sized
    painting (20x30 inches or so). Zooms generally have too much
    For large paintings 4 lights is better than 2.
    One more thing, a black background helps even if it is just seemless

    tomm101, Nov 8, 2005
  6. Andy Clews

    Donald Gray Guest

    Here is a way that certainly worked for.

    Stand to one side and take the shot, including a wee bit of extra
    space - in Paintshop Pro or Photoshop use the crop tool and correct
    the resulting converging parallels.
    Donald Gray, Nov 8, 2005
  7. Andy Clews

    Andy Clews Guest

    Earlier I asked:
    Thanks to all for the varied and helpful advice. Some suggestions are
    easier for me than others because I have very little in the way of
    photography lighting equipment. I had intended to take the photo in
    natural light if possible. I forgot to mention that the painting isn't very
    large; it's about 60cm by 45cm.

    I friend has suggested that I poke the camera lens through a large black
    curtain so as to minimise or eliminate reflection; what do you folks think
    of that idea?

    Thanks again!
    Andy Clews, Nov 9, 2005
  8. Andy Clews

    tomm101 Guest

    When I did this commercially I always worked in a studio, still my
    preference as you have more control. Working outside don't work in the
    sun, it will drive you crazy eliminating reflections. Work in open
    shade with shaded areas behind you , or do the black mask trick your
    friend suggested. You still want to try a polarizing filter, get one if
    you don't have one, great tool. In this scenario you still have to be
    concious of white balance. Also glass is difficult no matter what. Good
    Get the Kodak book on photographic reproduction if you want to know how
    to really do this . There are ways to do things right and ways to get

    tomm101, Nov 9, 2005
  9. Andy Clews

    Martin Brown Guest

    One way I have done it for quick and dirty shots of difficult framed
    pictures behind glass is to take the shot deliberately slightly off axis
    and have someone hold a large black cloth or foam board in the position
    needed to obscure the reflection of the room in the painting. Then
    correct out the distortions in Photoshop or similar.

    The other way is to darken the room and use artificial studio lighting
    but that is much more work for a one off shot using equipment you may
    not have.

    Be aware that insignificant looking reflections in the viewfinder will
    completely spoil the final image. At least with digital you will not be
    wasting any film.

    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Nov 9, 2005
  10. Andy Clews

    Andy Clews Guest

    Thanks again, Tom and Martin, for your helpful and encouraging suggestions.
    I'll explore the possibilities and see what happens! Like Martin says,
    with digital I can try again and again without fear of wastage.
    Andy Clews, Nov 10, 2005
  11. Andy Clews

    Stewy Guest

    One idea would be to use a sheet to wrap around the picture and the
    camera. This would minimize reflections. Shooting downwards (with the
    picture on the floor may be the best bet.
    Stewy, Nov 13, 2005
  12. Andy Clews

    Paul Rubin Guest

    The usual way involves lighting the painting with multiple lamps from
    low angles, so the reflections stay out of the picture.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 13, 2005
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