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Art reproduction - lens and lightimg help needed

Discussion in 'General Photography Discussion' started by TheEmrys, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. TheEmrys

    TheEmrys Premium Member

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    I have a new client who wants me to do some art reproduction. I don't usually do this anymore, as I had a client who would not let me calibrate her screen, and insisted that my adjustments were off. Well, based off of my works with her, a mutual friend liked my work quite a bit, and wants me to shoot his work.

    When I shot with my Sony system, I used the 55/1.8 or the Minolta 50/3.5 Macro (excellent reproduction lens) as they both had excellent corner to corner sharpness at f/4 (and even wider, really). Now that I have switched to Fuji, I am a bit nervous. He has nearly 80 paintings he wants me to shoot. This will take a couple of weeks, as I need to get the colors just right.

    What lens would people recommend? The 35/1.4 stopped down? The 35/2? My 56/1.2 will be too long. Maybe my 16-55/2.8? I am a bit concerned that it may not hold up in terms of distortion.

    Also, anyone have any recommendations on a lighting setup? I typically used 2 continuous lights and sometimes some very low flash (manually set) for higher textured paintings. However, I usually used a large light tent type of thing that diffused the light nicely. However, that was for worked with a maximum edge of 30". Some of the works I will be shooting will be 80". This goes beyond what I can do with standard light tents. Should I make my own diffuser setup? Is there something out there that I just haven't run across?

    Part of me is tempted to just use my RX1, as it could probably do an excellent job. However, tethering will be very useful in this job,and it is going to be quite a bit of money. I want to light it right.
     
  2. mnhoj

    mnhoj Premium Member

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    Awhile back I shot a 60" painting for a friend. I used an aps-c body with a nikkor 55mm 3.5 and two speed lights with 48" umbrellas at 45 degrees. I believe you need to match the size of the diffuser to the size of the art for an even distribution of light but I'm not too experienced with that but it sounds like you have that under control. I do know that the 55 micros are designed as a flat field lens and have almost nearly no field curvature which is ideal for art reproduction. My friend was happy and to my eye it looked ok. Best.
     
  3. Narsuitus

    Narsuitus Premium Member

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    It has been such a long since I have done an art reproduction job like the one you describe that I too would have to do it with some different equipment. Here are some of the questions I would try to answer before I tackled this job:

    How similar or dissimilar is the art work? (flat vs. 3D) (bold vs. pastel colors) (small vs. large) (framed vs. un-framed) (mobile vs. stationary)

    How will the client use the finished product? slide show, projected digital image, printed portfolio, book

    What does the client need as a finished product? Color slides, digital images, color prints

    What equipment do you still have that you have used before and want to use again?

    What equipment (bodies, lenses, backgrounds, lighting, etc.) can you rent or buy that will allow you to produce the finished product your client wants?

    How soon does the client need the finished product? (days, weeks, months)
     
  4. TenLayers

    TenLayers Premium Member

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    I've done enough of this to know I'm glad I don't do it everyday. I'll just say what I do and let you decide.

    Camera size. When I shoot for museums, one of the first questions they ask me is how big of file do I provide. I've always shot with a Leaf Digital back and that will typically satisfy them. Once though I shot for one out of Zurich that wanted some huge ass file @ 600 dpi which I provided but I had to res it up through Iridient. I asked them why they wanted such a huge file since the photos were destined for a coffee table book and were going to be downsized but never got an answer. I use whatever lens works.

    Lighting. I always use strobe. Usually four or more heads with 11" reflectors and with a polarizing filter in front of each. I feather each light toward camera so I'm only using a portion of the light. They are normally less than 45 degrees. I did a job recently for a museum out of Dallas that wanted the art work in situ so I balanced the ambient with the strobe but that type of thing is very rare for me.

    And put a Macbeth color chart somewhere in the frame outside the painting.
     
  5. beakhammer

    beakhammer Premium Member

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    Of the lenses you listed I would choose the 35mm/1.4. I shoot artwork quite a bit, using this lens and others (including macro lenses). As far as lighting goes there are advantages to using daylight and the excellent Fuji auto WB, but the problem here is in getting absolutely even light across the artwork. I think a couple of color-ballanced lights on stands would be easiest to work with, maybe more if the work has a lot of bold texture.
     
  6. DaveW19904

    DaveW19904 Premium Member

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    you could also rent a Sony rig that you're familiar with for the task at hand...
     

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