Photographing your Work - Tips

Through the Guild Workshop conducted by Harry Nowell, the following information is presented to assist anyone looking for information on how to photograph your work for various Guild events.  We hope you find it useful. 

Equipment

  • Camera: Point&Shoot or SLR
    • Never use Flash
    • Use manual exposure mode for more control:
      • low ISO (100-200-400)
      • auto white balance
    • Use grey-card for settings, learn how to use the Histogram
    • Files: large file size: RAW, TIFF or JPEG
    • use 2 + second timer delay
  • Lights: select 5500 Kelvin lightbulbs when possible
    • Natural, Studio Strobes, Construction lights, Flashlights, Desk lamps
  • Backdrop: lightbox may be useful; paper seamless backdrop (various colours)
    • simple composition, clean, strong focal point
  • Tripod

Sources for supplies & information: Henry's, Vistek, Buchanan Lighting

File Management

  • Save files: to computer, flash drive, etc.
  • Create a copy
  • Use software to modify the copied file (IRFAN View, GIMP, Microsoft Picture Manager, PicMonkey, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.)
  • For Web, i.e. OGP Website Portfolio Pages:
    • DPI: 72
    • Compressed size: 1000 max HxW
  • For Print, i.e. OGP Calendar:
    • DPI: 300
    • Uncompressed - use the large format: 2000

Other Sources:

https://societyofcanadianartists.com

http://artists.ca/member_resources/information_for_artists/photographing_your_work

https://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-photograph-ceramics-and-3-dimensional-products-with-one-light--cms-22924

https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/guide-pottery-photography-will-make-work-pop/

https://www.howtogeek.com/354015/how-to-resize-images-and-photos-in-windows/

If you don't have all the gear to take professional photos of your pots here's an easy way to do it using available light.  For a seamless background use a neutral gray mat board usually used to frame and mount pictures.  You can buy this at Wallacks on Bank Street, it comes 32 X 40 inches for $7.98.  You want a neutral gray without any hint of other colours.  Bainbridge white core Jurassic #718530 W529 is good, or Crescent brand #SRM1027 as used in these photos is good. 

The basic idea is to prop the board against something and curve it using
some weights to provide a seamless background.  In the photo to the left
some tiles serve for weights and the set up is outdoors in the shade.

The set up is just as well set up indoors near a window with lots of light.
The mat board can be propped up against some furniture moved into place.
For fill light, a white piece of cardboard can be used to reflect window
light back to the subject.  Outdoors we had a problem of the house next door creating an undesired reflection which we had to block with a piece of
cardboard while at the same time reflecting white fill light.

Shiny surfaces will give the most problems with reflections.  White pots might also need some shadow in the background for contrast.  You can
prop the top of the mat board forward somewhat to create a graduated
shadow on the background for this contrast.

You will want to play around with the angles of your shot.  Check your photos on a computer and re-shoot until you get the pictures you want.

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