pastel | untitled no. 8

Eighth in the series.

Notes on photographing artwork:
I use a Pentax K10D SLR which I have owned for many years. I once read that this model is best for outdoor photography, which may account for some of my struggles to get good enough pictures of my art; the other culprit being, admittedly, "operator error", for I am a painter, not a photographer. Technical issues mystify me.

For this painting, I struggled with getting a decent photo, as I do with every dark painting (especially paintings with extreme value contrast, such as black and white). This occurs regardless of camera adjustments or light conditions. My experiment with shutter speed make little difference in image quality, and I end up spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to get one photo that isn't washed out or too dark. For minor adjustments, there is Corel. (What would we do without photo editing programs!) Additionally I struggle with getting a sharp focus. On auto focus, my camera cannot locate the area upon which to focus unless I zoom out and try to capture an object in the frame which happens to be the same distance from the lens as the painting. (I use many tricks - my finger next to the image, a small object, etc.) Plan B is to use manual focus; I take multiple shots until I get lucky enough to capture one clear image. 

For this image, it took over 50 snaps to get a half decent shot. I admit I gave up and used the flash to get this mediocre shot you see above. I have a point-and-shoot which I will probably need to use to get a better photo that is website worthy.


Kristy said...

You have much more patience than I do if you took 50 photos. I always give up around 10 and crop, if needed, and just use what I have. That's why my pics usually look crappy! Also, I don't have a very good camera anyway. just your basic model that I don't even understand even though there's not much to understand. Your pics always look great!

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Thanks. I need to re-shoot this one on the little point-and-shoot Canon that never fails me. Just wish I could figure out why I can't get a good shot of dark paintings, despite my efforts at changing aperture and shutter settings. When this happens, I simply return to auto setting and hope I'll get one decent shot. My issue is proof that auto setting does not always work well for all imagery, all light conditions and all SLRs.
I need to take a photography course, apparently!