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  1. #11
    Staff
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    hark's Avatar

    Re: Photographing paintings

    I am assuming you are shooting with ambient light and not any type of flash or strobe. The problem with flash/strobe is the possibility of hot spots showing up on the paint. When shooting in ambient conditions (no supplemental lighting), keep in mind whatever type of lighting is used where the paintings are hanging whether tungsten or fluorescent, there may very well be a color cast issue - which means you need to set your white balance either before shooting or correct the white balance in whatever software you use for post processing.

    Generally a prime lens will be sharper than a kit zoom. Shoot with a tripod if possible to keep your ISO down, and either use a remote release or the self-timer so the camera doesn't move due to pressing the shutter button. And try to frame up the paintings by keeping the vertical and horizontal edges of the paintings straight.


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    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci





  2. #12
    Senior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by FredKingston View Post
    The Nikkor 60mm 2.8D would be the quintessential lens for what you want to do. It was Nikon's solution for manuscript photography and gives a perfect 1:1 image with as good as you can get lens performance from edge to edge... YOUR problem is going to be lighting. In a studio type environment, you can control all aspects of the lighting and positioning... In a museum setting, all bets are off... In fact, many museums get anxious if they even see you with a camera...
    Would he need a flash with that lens? If so that's even more dismal for museum settings

  3. #13
    Junior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    The painting in question is 30x40 inches, so I have to be farther back to get it all in. Would a 50 or 60mm prime work for this? Same question for, say, a 24x36?

  4. #14
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by slsl6 View Post
    The painting in question is 30x40 inches, so I have to be farther back to get it all in. Would a 50 or 60mm prime work for this? Same question for, say, a 24x36?
    How much room do you have to move back? I'd think a 50mm would work fine if there is enough distance between the camera and the paintings. Allow a little bit of room around the edges of your frame to avoid any type of distortion. In all honesty, for paintings that large, I'm not sure you'd need a macro although they tend to be really sharp lenses. But even a 50mm f/1.8 (with a hood to prevent any stray light from entering your lens) should work fine. It would be best to stop down to perhaps f/5.6 since that's kind of a sweet spot for a fast lens. If there is any kind of depth such as a deep frame, then perhaps f/8 or f/9.
    Thanks/Like BeegRhob, lucien Thanks/liked this post
     
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    My 2021 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci



  5. #15
    Senior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by slsl6 View Post
    The painting in question is 30x40 inches, so I have to be farther back to get it all in. Would a 50 or 60mm prime work for this? Same question for, say, a 24x36?
    Use the zoom lens you have to determine what focal length works best for you. Just set it to 60 or 50 or 35 and that's what a 60, 50 and a 35mm prime lens would look like, just with better optics. Keep in mind minimum focus distances. You have to be at least a couple feet away with the 35 and 50, similar to your zoom. The 60mm macro lens allows you to get within inches, making whatever you have the lens pointed at appear huge (and sharp!) in the frame.
    Thanks/Like BeegRhob, lucien Thanks/liked this post
     
    Camera- Z6, D800, D7500, D40x
    Zoom Lenses-
    Z- 14-30 f4, 24-70 f4
    DX- Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Sigma A 18-35 f1.8, Nikon 18-140 f3.5-5.6
    FX- Tamron 15-30 f2.8, Nikon 35-70 f2.8, Nikon 80-200 f2.8, Nikon 24-120 f4, Nikon AF-P 70-300 f4.5-5.6 Sigma C 150-600 f5-6.3
    Prime Lenses- Nikon 50 f1.8g, Tamron 85 f1.8, Tokina 100 f2.8, Rokinon HD 8 f3.5

  6. #16
    Senior Member
    FredKingston's Avatar

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by lucien View Post
    Would he need a flash with that lens? If so that's even more dismal for museum settings
    A flash would be helpful, but there are so many variables that we don't know about. Museums panic when they see/hear about a flash. If he can't use a flash, then he'll have to shoot with a tripod... again, it all depends on the available lighting. His post raises more questions than answers.

    Is this a one off project, or an on-going project to shoot many paintings? Are these in museums? Are these paintings out in the open, or behind glass barriers? What kind of lighting is available? Can a tripod and flash be used? Are these available to use? What sounds simple on the surface can be complicated based on the details.

    He says he tried this already and wasn't happy with the result. What were the results? What was the issue? Too dark? Wrong colors? Glare? Wrong focal length/composition?
    Thanks/Like BeegRhob, lucien Thanks/liked this post
     

  7. #17
    Junior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    The problem with my attempts is that the results don't capture of effect of the painting at all, the colors are muddy or wrong, details are lost, the colors in various layers of paint are separated, etc. if you look at the actual painting and then at the photo, it's night and day. Now this is a complaint I've heard from many artists, but when i visit various artists' websites, they all have really great photos with none of the issues that I'm experiencing. Granted, I'm not a pro photographer and don't have pro equipment, so...

    Here's a photo of a painting that came out O.K. (taken with the d70s kit lens)--it's no doubt a bit underexposed but I like it this way and it's grainy, probably due to lower light.
    Attached Images Attached Images Photographing paintings-chateaumontelena-smaller.jpg 

  8. #18
    Senior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    You can try to mess with the RAW file in photoshop or lightroom, but there's only so far it'll go. There have been major advancements in sensor technology since 2005. You can continue to take pictures in good light and get good results, but expecting technology that's so old to keep up with what's available today might be asking too much from your gear, especially with a demand such as this of low light and dark colors. I'm not sure a new lens is going to be the fix for you without the ability to also add more light. It might be time to start saving up for a new body with a better sensor that's capable of higher ISO values. I am very happy with my D7500, I think your D70s is like the great great grandfather to it. You can snag a refurbished body for a reasonable price and I think it would help with your needs. Even that camera is not the newest technology and I can see a difference in the photos taken with that vs. the new Z cameras. If it's in your budget, those Z's are stellar for exactly this kind of photography. I ended up with the full frame Z6, but have heard awesome things about the crop sensor Z50(same sensor as the D7500). All 3 of these bodies mentioned have tremendous ISO capabilities.
    Last edited by TwistedThrottle; 06-11-2021 at 06:40 PM.
    Camera- Z6, D800, D7500, D40x
    Zoom Lenses-
    Z- 14-30 f4, 24-70 f4
    DX- Tokina 11-16 f2.8, Sigma A 18-35 f1.8, Nikon 18-140 f3.5-5.6
    FX- Tamron 15-30 f2.8, Nikon 35-70 f2.8, Nikon 80-200 f2.8, Nikon 24-120 f4, Nikon AF-P 70-300 f4.5-5.6 Sigma C 150-600 f5-6.3
    Prime Lenses- Nikon 50 f1.8g, Tamron 85 f1.8, Tokina 100 f2.8, Rokinon HD 8 f3.5

  9. #19
    Senior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedThrottle View Post
    You can try to mess with the RAW file in photoshop or lightroom, but there's only so far it'll go. There have been major advancements in sensor technology since 2005. You can continue to take pictures in good light and get good results, but expecting technology that's so old to keep up with what's available today might be asking too much from your gear, especially with a demand such as this of low light and dark colors. I'm not sure a new lens is going to be the fix for you without the ability to also add more light. It might be time to start saving up for a new body with a better sensor that's capable of higher ISO values. I am very happy with my D7500, I think your D70s is like the great great grandfather to it. You can snag a refurbished body for a reasonable price and I think it would help with your needs. Even that camera is not the newest technology and I can see a difference in the photos taken with that vs. the new Z cameras. If it's in your budget, those Z's are stellar for exactly this kind of photography. I ended up with the full frame Z6, but have heard awesome things about the crop sensor Z50(same sensor as the D7500). All 3 of these bodies mentioned have tremendous ISO capabilities.
    I concur wholeheartedly

  10. #20
    Junior Member

    Re: Photographing paintings

    Yes, I thought I'd try shooting in a room with a big window letting natural light in. 200 ISO, tripod, timed release of shutter.





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