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Thread: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

  1. #1

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    Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Possibly the wrong forum section so please move it if it is.

    I have been asked if I can supply some photographs of some of my darkroom prints. They don't want scans but what to see photographs of them so they can be put online.

    Should be easy enough I thought but I have been struggling today to get anything that actually looks right, to much glare from the print seems to be the biggest issue.
    I am thinking of something like a soft-box overhead but haven't tried that yet.

    Anyone do this already and would like to share their experience.

    Ian

  2. #2
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Quote Originally Posted by IanBarber View Post
    Possibly the wrong forum section so please move it if it is.

    I have been asked if I can supply some photographs of some of my darkroom prints. They don't want scans but what to see photographs of them so they can be put online.

    Should be easy enough I thought but I have been struggling today to get anything that actually looks right, to much glare from the print seems to be the biggest issue.
    I am thinking of something like a soft-box overhead but haven't tried that yet.

    Anyone do this already and would like to share their experience.

    Ian
    I have a north facing window and I use an Iphone for this purpose. works well for me

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Research copy stands and their kind of lighting. There should be some past threads on this topic. There are several lighting choices, but you generally need lights on both sides of the print, somewhat away and above, and set at 45 degree angle. With very shiny copy, you might need cross-polarized lighting, with polarizing sheets over the lamps, and a polarizing filter over the lens. But first try to avoid that. Anything in the vicinity and shiny should be somehow covered with black.

  4. #4
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Why would they insist on photos vs scans if it just being posted online? Are the prints too large to scan?

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    I use a re-purposed swing-out filter holder on my enlarger, under the lens (not shown). I set an iPhone on that and bring lights in from the sides (not shown). I use the same easel for the picture as I used to make the print.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is an example of a couple 16x20 prints:
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  6. #6

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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Depending on the size of your prints and their surface characteristic, here are some considerations:

    The flatter the print, the better, as this reduce the angles that can produce glare. If you don't have a copy stand, you can tape the print to a flat board oriented vertically or, if necessary, leaning at some angle. A sheet of optically reasonable 1/4" plate glass on top can help with this, but may cause more reflection problems.

    You have two other factors to consider: even lighting, eliminating glare. Unless your print is rather large, or your shooting space very tight, if you can't light evenly from both sides, one light from one side at about 45 degrees can work. Orient the print with short sides on top and bottom to reduce the distance from side to side. With an 8x10, for example, If your light is 5 ft from the far side, the light falling on the near side will theoretically be less than a third-stop more (inverse square law). By feathering the light a bit (aiming the center of the beam somewhat beyond the far side), you can probably achieve lighting adequately even. I have done this with significantly larger prints, but with more space.

    With this set up, you should have no direct glare of the light source on the print, photographing it head on, though, depending on your distance form the print, you may need to adjust the light angle. Your issue then will be reflections of your self, your camera, and objects in the room. What you need is, ideally, a large, flat black surface facing the print. You may be able to use a piece of black foam core, even though its surface is hardly un-reflective, from the local dollar store and cut a hole for the lens in the center. In any case, you want to have as little light as possible on anything except the print, so as to avoid illuminating things that can reflect in it. Blocking spill light will help you.

    How close you need to be with the lens you have,of course, plays a role. A longer focal length will help. Assuming you will be shooting digitally, look at your results on a monitor while testing your set up so that you can see reflections better than on the little camera screen.

    The remaining issue will be correction of any lack of parallelism of print and camera back, yielding a trapezoid instead of a rectangle. That's a photo editiing software correction, but get as close as you can without a full copy stand set up. Careful tripod alignment will go a long way toward perfection.

    Copy work is tricky business, but these are, I think, the main issues for you as you described you situation.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    I have done a lot of this

    #1 Don't give away your work with high rez FILES, ask what exactly they want as usually it is completely spelled out, then give then that ONLY

    #2 A modern Cell phone can do it all, even sizing, squaring, color correction, if set on a mount securely using use a low cost Bluetooth remote, which come with selfie sticks

    #3 Lighting is the issue, try with what you got, I cross bounce off my ceiling

    #4 I have an old metal copy pattern with magnetic strips, maybe from the 60's

    #5 They already know they won't get perfect and you don't want to give them perfect

    or why would they want your IRL prints!
    wear mask or NOT

    is ???

  8. #8

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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    Thanks for the comments, some good advice to be going on with.
    I do have access to a North facing window so that may help quite a bit with more even lighting.

  9. #9

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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    If you want proper repro quality, you're going to need a cross polarised lighting & lens setup (not hard to do) & decent colour management (colour checker or equivalent). Really depends on what the recipient wants qualitatively.

  10. #10

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    Re: Photographing Darkroom Prints To Be Shown Online

    I've had good results with two soft boxes at 45 degree angles on both sides of the print and the camera perpendicular to it. Perspective correction is annoying; get it right in the shot, saves a lot of headache afterwards. It's not difficult to get good results.

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