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Thread: oil painter says hello

  1. #1

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    oil painter says hello

    Hi,
    I'm an oil painter who wants to sell digital prints of the paintings. Large Format photographs will be great for that after scanning. 'Course I'll need a 8x10 scanner now, too. I already have a medium format scanner and make my own 8x10 prints. Local photographers have huge printers and I got some done different ways. This seems to be a better way.
    I want to make 8x10 photographs of my paintings.
    What camera, film, etc would be good?
    Thanks.
    Michael Carter
    www.studiocarter.com

  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Re: oil painter says hello

    Welcome to the LF Forum, Michael.

    For copy work, you'll want to consider the size of the originals and the space you have to work within - essentially the magnification factor, a focal length that will give you that within the camera-to-subject distance imposed by the space, and the corresponding bellows length required. Almost any 8x10 camera would suffice, as long as it has enough bellows draw for your needs. There are formulas for calculating all of that.

    As to film choice, I'll let the folks who shoot a lot of color give suggestions.

  3. #3
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: oil painter says hello

    For record photography, I would recommend Fuji Astia 100F.

  4. #4

    Re: oil painter says hello

    A couple ways to approach this, at least with film. One would be Fuji Astia 100F, already mentioned. Another approach would be Kodak E100VS. The difference is that E100VS is very saturated; in post processing it is often cleaner to knock down saturation than it is to increase it. So the ideas are start with fairly close and do minimal (Astia 100F) post, or go higher saturation (E100VS) and knock down for printing. While it might sound crazy to even suggest E100VS, the reality is that some forms of printing lose vibrancy and contrast; in other words that end print output is what you are trying to match to the paintings, rather than strictly trying to match the film to the paintings. The differences in the approaches are something you will need to work out with your printer/lab.

    Oil paints are very subtle in colour transitions. There will be times when you are simply unable to capture certain hues on film, or capture them with the scanner, or get them in the final print. Accepting a certain level of variance will make your life easier. Aim to retain the impact and feel of the original, then get absolutely as close as possible with the printing colours.

    Welcome to LF Forum, from another oil painter. While I don't do paintings that often currently, I try to stay somewhat active when I am not swamped with work.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography

  5. #5

    Re: oil painter says hello

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Carter View Post
    Hi,
    I'm an oil painter who wants to sell digital prints of the paintings. Large Format photographs will be great for that after scanning. 'Course I'll need a 8x10 scanner now, too. I already have a medium format scanner and make my own 8x10 prints. Local photographers have huge printers and I got some done different ways. This seems to be a better way.
    I want to make 8x10 photographs of my paintings.
    What camera, film, etc would be good?
    Thanks.
    Michael Carter
    www.studiocarter.com
    About a couple of months ago I went to a gallery opening for a painter who was doing exactly what you mention. He made ink jet prints on canvas of his original paintings, he used a 4x5 camera with cross polarized light. That is two lamps at 45º of each other pointing towards the painting and with polarizing filters on them to prevent reflections.

    This is a typical set up for copying art, that you can find on any photography book. I a don't beleive you need an 8x10 camera, I think you can do well with a 4x5 and careful work. Besides, you will not find as much variety in film with an 8x10 as you will with a 4x5 and the expense is exponentially greater as far as buying and having it developed and scanned.

  6. #6

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    Re: oil painter says hello

    Hey,

    Thank you very much for the comments and information. A new thread has been started in another area to document my progress.
    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...805#post338805

    Michael Carter

  7. #7
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: oil painter says hello

    HI, Michael,

    Jorge gave you very good information about cross polarized lighting. Absolutely essential since oils or acrylics are three dimensional and shiny and therefore prone to multiple surface glares. Polarizing the lights AND the camera lens will control this effect.

    Calumet used to carry large sheets of the polarizing material, so you might check with them as a supplier. They can't stand a huge amount of heat, so put them in mat board frames and suspend them at least a few inches in front of even modeling lights on strobes. They come marked with the polarizing direction, so be sure to transfer that info to you frames.

    Be absolutely sure that your lights (I have used as many as four for really large pieces) have the polarizers oriented exactly the same direction. Otherwise, they will cancel each other out.

    Then you need an optical polarizing filter on the camera. Once your lights are set, turn the polarizer on camera as you observe the effect on the ground glass and opt for the look that gives you the best color saturation.

    If you have time, you might do some tests between transparency and negative films.

    In general, the transparency films will have slightly more contrast. Could be good or bad depending on how absolutely true you want the reproductions. Negative film was always my choice.

    Another good accessory to put in scene (at the edge of the artwork frame) is a color test strip that both Kodak and McBeth used to make. I don't know if those are still available from places like Calumet, or if you will have to try the action site, but they give you an absolute color target to match on the scans. (The Kodak kit also included a black and white zone chart that is a great help to match densities.)

    Either use a relatively fast shutter speed 1/125 and up, or turn off the modeling lights before exposing the film. That will ensure that you avoid color contamination from the warmer hued modeling lights.

    One more hint. Take your meter reading as incident flash metering at the surface of the art. That will give you the actual light brightness falling on the art. Don't forget to then subtract the additional (approximately) two stops for the polarizing filter on camera.

    You don't need to be very concerned about depth of field since the original work is flat, but some lenses are sharper when stopped down 2-3 stops from wide open, so f8 or f11 might be a good target range for the strobe power.

    Finally, if the art is on the wall or an easel, it will likely be tilted a bit. There are angle finders available to check the tilt of the work and then to use on the camera to be sure you match the tilt of the art and the film for very precise flatness and sharpness. If you don't do this, you will likely have part of the art in focus and other parts soft.

    If you can find a copy of the old Time Life Library of Photography book "Color", there is a great short article and illustrations of this process on pages 126-128. The only difference is that it is shown with floods instead of polarized strobes.

    Good luck.

    Tim
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  8. #8
    Glenn Mellen
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    Re: oil painter says hello

    I too would suggest Astia 100-F for replicating such artworks. It's very natural in color balance and saturation levels, and captures pastel colors and gradiants very well. I've only used the E100VS also mentioned a few times, but as I recall it tends to kick yellow and orange tones harder than blues and greens... trying to balance color after-the-fact may be quite a chore if you are trying to replicate all colors accurately.

  9. #9

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    Re: oil painter says hello

    Quote Originally Posted by lenser View Post
    HI, Michael,

    Jorge gave you very good information about cross polarized lighting. Absolutely essential since oils or acrylics are three dimensional and shiny and therefore prone to multiple surface glares. Polarizing the lights AND the camera lens will control this effect.

    Calumet used to carry large sheets of the polarizing material, so you might check with them as a supplier. They can't stand a huge amount of heat, so put them in mat board frames and suspend them at least a few inches in front of even modeling lights on strobes. They come marked with the polarizing direction, so be sure to transfer that info to you frames.

    Be absolutely sure that your lights (I have used as many as four for really large pieces) have the polarizers oriented exactly the same direction. Otherwise, they will cancel each other out.

    Then you need an optical polarizing filter on the camera. Once your lights are set, turn the polarizer on camera as you observe the effect on the ground glass and opt for the look that gives you the best color saturation.

    If you have time, you might do some tests between transparency and negative films.

    In general, the transparency films will have slightly more contrast. Could be good or bad depending on how absolutely true you want the reproductions. Negative film was always my choice.

    Another good accessory to put in scene (at the edge of the artwork frame) is a color test strip that both Kodak and McBeth used to make. I don't know if those are still available from places like Calumet, or if you will have to try the action site, but they give you an absolute color target to match on the scans. (The Kodak kit also included a black and white zone chart that is a great help to match densities.)

    Either use a relatively fast shutter speed 1/125 and up, or turn off the modeling lights before exposing the film. That will ensure that you avoid color contamination from the warmer hued modeling lights.

    One more hint. Take your meter reading as incident flash metering at the surface of the art. That will give you the actual light brightness falling on the art. Don't forget to then subtract the additional (approximately) two stops for the polarizing filter on camera.

    You don't need to be very concerned about depth of field since the original work is flat, but some lenses are sharper when stopped down 2-3 stops from wide open, so f8 or f11 might be a good target range for the strobe power.

    Finally, if the art is on the wall or an easel, it will likely be tilted a bit. There are angle finders available to check the tilt of the work and then to use on the camera to be sure you match the tilt of the art and the film for very precise flatness and sharpness. If you don't do this, you will likely have part of the art in focus and other parts soft.

    If you can find a copy of the old Time Life Library of Photography book "Color", there is a great short article and illustrations of this process on pages 126-128. The only difference is that it is shown with floods instead of polarized strobes.

    Good luck.

    Tim
    Hi Tim,

    I much appreciate your contribution since I have agreed to photograph a series of oil paintings in which the artist has used thick layers of paint which inevitably give rise to specular reflections throughout the painting.

    I intend to use 5x4 Ektachrome E100G, two Arilite 800w heads at approx 45 degrees, with polarizing filters orientated as you advise, and a heliopan E105 circ 2.5x (is this it's filter factor?) on the lens in a Lee Filter Holder.

    You suggest a x2 filter factor for the polarizer. Does this vary according to the degree which the filter is rotated or is it a constant? I will need to use long exposure times but with this emulsion, reciprocity is apparently not a problem.

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Peter

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