Photographing thick heavy brush Oil Paints -resolved.
August 18, 2018
The Glare, oh the glare.
I can't stand it when the blacks show up as nothing but reflective light. Oil paintings are so hard to photograph. I've gone through all the how to's, youtube videos, books. You name it, and everything I tried failed. Except one thing.
I tried getting professional lighting with the huge expensive bulbs and the stands and the box frame with the cover. That's helpful, but then what? Where do you put them, what angle, how close etc. The internet has the answers, but all those answers failed for me.
Not only do I have limited space, which kept me from trying some of the suggestions, but I have extremely thick pain that is very wet looking and reflective. I had trouble with the angle of the camera forever. Finally resolved that horror show. If you are not lined up directly, it's scewed at an angle. You can't just rotate it, if you do the bottom will be level but the top still off, or the sides will be fine while the bottom is off. It has to be straight on, which causes the glare. A quick shot from my smart-phone worked great, but it's not straight on, so it's scewed again. Putting my camera on the Tripod and the artwork on an easel and a little patience almost fixed that. The last touch for that part was to put the camera on a timmer, so I am no where near it when it goes off. That took out the shake, and I was sure nothing was shaking. Then I could open the shutter longer to let more light/info in. But still GLARE! uggg.
I tried putting the lights 45 Degree's on both sides. I tried staying out of the reflective angles. I tried moving the camera close, far. Tried moving the lights close, far, and all combinations therein. I have a high end mirrorless camera that has auto-everything, I turned all that off and went through a tutorial that set everything manually. Yes my f-stop was right, and the picture was great, but there was still a ton of glare. I could get the glare removed on just one side, then the other. I thought about photoshopping them together with the non-glare side of each showing, but that's cheating. Plus it will take forever for me to do that to all my paintings. I need this to work right out of the gate.
The fix, was to wait for an overcast day, put the artwork on the easel in the brightest spot I could find outside, then even in the shade when that was too bright. Finally, a shot with no glare on my blacks, and on my wet-looking areas of the painting.
I'm not sure how else to do it. When I find that I'm stuck with no overcast days, I'll try the light boxes again and see what they can do.
That's it for now. Here's a shot of one of the non-glare photos.
The science of photographic paintings is something I will struggle with for a long time to come, but at least now I have the secret "cloudy day" solution.