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  1. Art ___(That's up to you)
  2. A 35mm Single Lens Reflex Camera that can be manually adjusted, with a built in light meter or a hand held meter.
  3. A50mm or greater length focal length lens. Avoid wide angle lenses due to distortion.
  4. A tripod. Essential, cable release, recommended.
  5. Film (tungsten balanced slide film recommended)
  6. 2 lights with light stands, 10 to 12 inch reflectors, and 3200__K bulbs.
  7. An 18% Reflectance Grey Card.
  8. Space to set up where you can control the lighting.
  9. A nice hot cup of coffee___ optional, but couldn't hurt.

The Procedure

  1. Choose a background: Choose a neutral, white, gray, or black. White sometimes causes too much light to be reflected back into the lens and causes flair and colors to be washed out. I prefer black, it usually contrasts well with the art and there are no reflections to cause flair. Black felt from a fabric store works well. Attach the background to the wall. If no background is going to show, you do not need one.
  2. Hang Artwork on the background: Make sure that the artwork is plum (vertical and level). If your artwork is small, you can place your background and artwork on the floor and place the camera overhead.
  3. Place Camera Perpendicular to the Art: The back of the camera should be vertical and parallel to the art and the camera should be level. The artwork should be centered and squared in the viewfinder. Leave a little extra room in the edges of the frame because some slide mounts crop into this area.
  4. !IMAGE6!

  5. 4. Place Lights at an equal distance, 45__ from the wall: The placement of lights is important. The lighting should be even over the entire surface of the artwork. The distance the lights are placed from the wall is dependent on the size of the artwork. If the lights are too close, then there will be a hot spot in the middle of the artwork. Move the lights back while maintaining a 45__ angle until the artwork is evenly illuminated from the center, to the corners on both sides. If your artwork is reflective or varnished, you might notice some glare when you look through the viewfinder. You can try to modify the angles of the lights or pull the lights farther back until the glare disappears. Sometimes the use of polarizing filters helps eliminate glare.
  6. Metering: Place the Gray Card in the center of your artwork (you may need to take your artwork down so you can attach the Gray Card to the wall). Move your camera towards the wall so that the entire frame is filled with the Gray Card. Be careful not to cast any shadow with your body or camera on the card. With your lens focused on infinity, take a meter reading (Shutter Speed and _'-Stop based on the film speed) and set your camera to that exposure. Remove the Gray Card, place the artwork back on the wall and move your camera back to it's original position.
  7. Make an Exposure: With the artwork carefully centered in the viewfinder, expose the film as to the exposure set when the Gray Card was metered. Make sure that your camera is not in an automatic exposure mode and that the exposure does not change to one other than the one noted when the Gray Card was metered.
  8. Bracket Exposures: Since color transparency film has a very limited latitude, it needs to be exposed very precisely. It is always a good idea to make additional exposures. Maintain you shutter speed and open your aperture up 1/2 stop and make an exposure and then close your aperture down 1/2 stop and make an exposure. This will give you a range of three exposures and once the film is developed, you can choose which exposures looks best. In some instance where there are a lot of dark, heavy tones in a piece of artwork, the overexposed slide looks better and conversely, artwork with very subtle light tones might be better underexposed.
  9. Shoot More Pieces: Remove the artwork you just photographed and place the next one to be photographed. If you do not need to change the position of the lights, then your base exposure from the previous shot remains the same. If you need to move the lights because of uneven illumination or glare, then a new meter reading needs to be made.
  10. Process the Film: Choose a good local custom color lab for this. The quality of the lab can make a difference. You've just done all this work! You want the best possible results! 10. Look at What You've Done: Look at your slides closely on a good light box with a loupe (magnifier). The custom lab where you just picked up your film probably has one. If you are going to be working with slides, a good light box and a loupe are worthwhile investments.



      k. Madison Moore ( homepage )

    08/28/2007 * 13:17:04

    I enjoyed your site so much that I added a link to you on my blog. GREAT info. I am a daily painter and belong to the Daily Painters gallery so I wanted to share all this wonderful information with other artists. Thanks so much.
    k. Madison Moore


      Bhupendra ( homepage )

    01/08/2007 * 19:49:23

    I like the article for its simplicity and completeness..It came up as a search result for my query for 18% grey but I read it all.


      Katrina Taylor ( homepage )

    02/15/2006 * 14:17:13

    I really love your website. The graphics are outstanding.


      Johnny Otilano ( homepage )

    09/07/2004 * 21:54:10

    These are great advise. I just learned a lot from it.Thanks!


      Suzanne Cerny ( homepage )

    07/05/2004 * 14:42:55

    Thanks for the concise information. I will pay attention to it and use it on my next photo shoot. I usually have 4 × 5 prints made for transparencies for Giclee Printing.


      Peggy Chaffin ( homepage )

    05/04/2004 * 08:38:49

    Nice, to the point instruction. I'm trying to get a corner set up permanently for photographing my work with my 35mm film camera. Currently, I'm dependent on the generosity of friends with digital cameras for my web site photos.


      Gayla Yates ( homepage )

    04/11/2004 * 22:38:05

    The digital photos I've taken do not do justice to the dimensionality, or the way my metallics reflect light, or the diffraction effects that make the colors shift as you move, or the effect of the mirror that compels people reach out and touch it. Maybe if I had a movie, then at least you could watch the colors change.


      Pete Lyons ( homepage )

    04/01/2004 * 21:10:01

    Hello all.
    Not much activity in this forum, but I'd like to introduce myself
    and my photos by inviting anyone to take a look and tell me if you like any of my work.

    Pete Lyons



    02/14/2004 * 10:21:05

    Just about to start photograph my work for the mindsisland.
    i have a very good digital camera, the trouble i have is, i work mostly in watercolors and they are mouted behind glass,
    do i have to remove all my pictures ? as the reflection may distort results?



    11/21/2003 * 01:27:56

    Your article is written nicely and quite easy to read.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I use a digital camera now & like it quite a lot.
    My err using the 35mm was that I was always in too much of a hurry to photograph my watercolor...after I'd framed it.
    In a hurry to see the rest of this neat site.
    thanks again...
    If URL is a website, I don't have one.

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