Lighting for flat art

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by larry n., Nov 12, 2006.

  1. What is the best light source for photographing flat art (paintings, drawings,
    small rugs and fabrics) that range from around 10 inches to 30 inches in
    diameter? How many lights are best, and what is the power needed?

    I will be using a 35mm camera with 100 ASA film and a 50mm lens.
  2. There are lots of answers, but can you give us some idea of the equipment you have and a budget for those items you may need? There are copy stands with lights that can range into the thousands of dollars. You didn't mention the end result you are attempting, record keeping,archiving, presentations, duplication... Some delicate items or those of great value do not need to be subjected to the intense light of typical studio equipment. Often a pair of soft boxes and a longer exposure is all that is needed. Help us help you with some more details.
  3. The main purpose of the project is to produce 35mm slides of an artist's portfolio (which in turn will be scanned and printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper). A secondary purpose would be archiving for future use.

    Currently, I do not have any lighting equipment.

    I have an option to rent any equipment that I may not be using frequently.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. Oh, and the art work can withstand studio lightling.
  5. any flash unit will be fine. Set them up 45 degrees to the artwork. The 50mm lense might be
    a little wide for the smaller items, you may want to get a macro lense.
  6. What would work better, umbrella or diffuser?
  7. a harder light would be better to show all your detail and give it a punch. You can use just
    the reflectors that come with your strobes or a pair of small umbrellas.
  8. I work as an Art Photographer and I teach lighting in New York City .
    With that said, this is my recommendation...
    I always recommend that you use light that you can see (hot lights) that way you can see
    any problems (specular high lights flair, etc.). You will need to have some sort of
    diffusion, most art looks best with a mix of light (hard and Soft).
    Copy stands are far too limiting and the lights are too close.
    Remember to turn the lights off when not exposing. Hot lights can hurt the art.
    Start with a copy lighting scenero and go from there.
    Bounce cards are very helpful.
    A camera black out card is very helpful, or the use of flags to keep the light off you and
    the camera.

    best of luck. Moe
  9. now we are in the digital age of instant images so the hot light recomendation does not really
    matter, not to mention a bad investment choice unless you are going to specialize in the use
    of hotlights.

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