Monday, December 13, 2010

Photographing Art

Photographing a miniature statue in the artist´s workshop. A simple how-to.

Artwork by Rudolf Blöckner, Oberhausen, Germany

You need:
- one table that does the job. Take a nice one, nothing made of plastic. Use wood! I used the artists´ sculpting table. It was around.
- use either a white or a black background. That will make it easier for the viewer to focus on the piece of art without being distracted. You are documenting, not creating. I chose black. So I hung a huge piece of hush cloth over a construction of three tripods.
- place the figurines so that every one gets enough light. Don´t let them stand in each other´s way. Give them a little staggering.
- the figurines are made of cast bronze. Metal is best lit from the side, at sharp angles. That way, its structure begins to live and the edge gets good definition and separation from the background. I gave them a punch from the right which I consider as my main light, because it brings everything alive.
- Fill the shadows thus created on the left side.

Here´s how it was done:

Why does the backdrop need to be so big? The figurines are very small!
A black background needs to be black. Even hush cloth catches light sometimes. I need to put it way back into the room, away from the lighting action. The angle of field - even with figurines this small - gives you a rather large area that you need to keep black. I had prepared it for larger pieces anyway, so it was 2 1/2 meters across and 1,80 meters high. For small things, you can try a black bedsheet or any dark piece of cloth (especially if you go black & white where colour doesn´t really matter)

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