Qustion about taking still (portfolio) slides..

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by tino, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. tino

    tino Guest

    I need to take some slides of my paintings for my portfolio again.
    Last time my photography friend did it for me with his beautiful 645
    camera. Now he's out of town and I need to do it in a hurry.

    Besides finding another guy and pay for him to take the slides for
    me, I just want to find out how hard it is for me to do it myself, in
    a "for dummies" sort of way.

    I have a pentax and a 100mm fixed lense, I think those are good
    enough for that.

    What kind of slide film do I need? 100 ISO right? I heard Provia is
    good... Would 100 film give me more torlerance if I make any lighting
    mistake?

    The lights, this is the hardest part for me. I remember my friend
    use a couple of studio lights that he said "only color correct for a
    couple of hours." What's the name of the bulb? And what s the name
    of the thing that you put your bulb on and has a big clip in the end
    you can clip it to stands? Somebody please give me some help. I am
    hopeless.

    And lastly, the metering, my friend had a handhold meter. I really
    want to learn a quick and easy way to set the light correctly without
    the meter. If I HAD to use meter to take good pictures then I rather
    pay someone in-the-know to do it. But before that, I hope the
    in-camera meter can do the job, say 70% of the job. What should I
    know, what should I do? can I trust my eyes to adjust proper light on
    the paintings?
     
    tino, Oct 19, 2003
    #1
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  2. tino

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I will take a guess that these will be for display or light table usage.
    With that in mind, you could be off a bit on the copy, and the slide
    might serve as a "good enough" representation of the actual painting.

    If you need these for doing prints, or for publication, then you probably
    do not want much error. In that case, if you are not sure about getting
    good results, then pay someone to do this. However, with the display only
    idea in mind, I would like to give you a few ideas.
    If you can frame the painting within the viewfinder without too much wall
    showing, and you are still in the same room, then it should work.
    Okay, for accurate colour, sometimes Fuji Astia could be a better choice.
    You could also use Kodachrome 64, or even Ektachrome 64. Quite a bit of
    the decision could be biased by usage of certain colours that may
    predominate in your painting. Since you may want a great impact on the
    light table, or just for display, or slide show, you could just use a
    highly saturated film.

    With saturated films, obviously you will get a result that is different
    from the actual painting. This is not a bad idea for scanning either,
    since it leaves more room to adjust colours for the final printed (not
    chemical), or published, prints. Two very good choices are Fuji Velvia
    100F and Kodak Ektachrome E100VS. The Fuji is biased towards cooler
    coolers, and will do greens slightly better than the Kodak film. The
    Kodak film is warmer biased, and will really show reds and yellows well.
    Both will be more saturated than the actual paintings, but it may make
    them more noticeable on a light table.
    Unless you are stuck with a room with poor natural lighting, or only
    direct sunlight, then lights are not the best choice. If you intended to
    show your painting in natural indirect lighting, then try to photograph
    them that way. The best indirect natural light is in rooms that face
    somewhat north, and fill the room with even lighting. If you have a
    studio with good natural light, then use the same space. Lots of people
    will probably disagree with me on this, but consider that all artificial
    lighting attempts to emulate natural light.

    You could use Tungsten, though then your film choices would be more
    limited. While you could filter daylight films, the chances are good that
    your colours will be more off in the final images, especially considering
    your lack of experience with this.

    A better lighting set-up is two lights at 45ยบ angles to the work. Both
    would be strobes of the same power. Ideally, you could do a Polaroid
    proof first to test your set-up. You could also bracket your exposures,
    though you might end up doing a few rolls of film before you get what you
    want. A flash meter can help. There is also a possibility of light fall
    off, or hot spots, if you get the set-up wrong.
    Tough, and definitely not if you want to conserve film. If you do not
    have a light meter, then you will need to bracket your exposures, and
    select the best final images. This will mean lots of extra images. Even
    with a light meter, some paintings might be better represented in a
    slight over or under exposure shot, meaning that planning a minimum of
    three shots for each painting would be a good idea. Without a light
    meter, and paintings not near 18% grey, probably bracketing 5 or 6 shots
    per painting would get you close.
    Unfortunately, considering the time, trouble, and potential errors, it
    could be easier to just pay someone. Everyone can run into unexpected
    short deadlines on occasion, but if the images are barely usable, or do
    not represent your work to your liking, then you just blew your deadline.
    Your eyes will adjust to available room lighting, strobes are too fast
    for you to tell how they look, and generally your eyes will lie to you.
    If you bracket lots of shots, you might find that you are happy with
    many, and only want to photograph a few images over again. Take lots of
    notes, and compare the images to the notes, and the actual paintings.

    Try not to get too caught up in perfection. If these are only for quick
    viewing on a light table, or a slide viewer, or projection, then a
    representative image may be enough. The composition may be more important
    than the colours to the person viewing, or judging, these works. Also, if
    the individual will not be viewing the actual paintings, then your margin
    of error is greater.

    If there is a decision made to print or publish images, then hire someone
    to give you the best quality, and do everything exactly correct. Hiring
    someone can also get your paintings onto larger film, which is often
    better for reproduction.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    <http://www.allgstudio.com>
     
    Gordon Moat, Oct 19, 2003
    #2
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  3. tino

    tino Guest

    Hi Gordon, much appreciated for the reply :)

    Yeah my slides are going to be used for projectors. So I guess my
    setup is ok for now... About the room. Actually I am going to take
    the pictures in the large painting studios, so it definitely has
    plenty of natural light you were talking about. I don't know if the
    weather is good at the weekend though.

    I think I am going to take your advice for a more saturated film,
    since my paintings are usually a bit on the ambiguious side.
    (Actually some of them are here if anyone cares,
    http://www.yechen.org/portfolio/painting.html ....they are scans of
    the 645 slides.)

    I am going to get the Tungsten light just to be safe. Also I think I
    will branket the shoot. Do you think I need to do it in 1 step
    interval or half step interval? Thanks for the help. I think I will
    try myself first and do alot of blanketing. The cheapest part is the
    film and the processing anyway.

    Take care :)

    - Tino
     
    tino, Oct 20, 2003
    #3
  4. tino

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Hope it helps, or at least points you in the right direction.
    Definitely better to stay with 35 mm for projecting images.
    Actually, unless you have direct sunlight going into the room, or near your paintings, you
    really should not worry about the weather. Direct sunlight can give harsh or uneven lighting.
    Better to be overcast weather, since the light is more even.
    The larger slides will retain a finer tonal change than 35 mm. However, for web display, or
    projection, you are better off with 35 mm. The 645 transparencies would be really good for
    making prints, or for publication.
    You should just stick with the light that is in the room. Even if you exposure is one or two
    seconds, the natural light would still be better than artificial light. Make sure you use a
    sturdy and stable tripod for the camera. If the tripod is light, try hanging a bag, backpack,
    or weight below the centre to make it more stable.

    If you really have to use Tungsten light, then Kodak Ektachrome 64 Tungsten is about your best
    film choice. However, a mixture of natural light, and tungsten, would give a slight blue to
    the image.

    Another option is Kodak E100VS, just judging by the colour range you are currently showing in
    your paintings. With the light available, this film is fine for even as long as ten seconds
    exposure.

    Rather than add in Tungsten lights, get a few large matte boards, either white or light grey,
    and place them to reflect light near your paintings. The idea is to eliminate shadows, and
    have as even a light as possible. You should be able to see when it looks correct.

    The less you try to use artificial lighting, the better your chance for success. Tungsten is
    very tricky to use when you also have natural lighting in the room. The colours can easily go
    very wrong on the film.
    With an transparency (slide) film, you can bracket in either a three steps, or five steps
    intervals, and that should give you a good starting point. With three steps, do 1/3 under,
    even, and 1/3 over. If you do a five step bracketing, start at 2/3 under, then 1/3 under,
    even, 1/3 over, and finally 2/3 over. It may not sound like much, but these will give very
    noticeable differences. If the meter in your camera is slightly off, or you are not sure, do
    the five step bracketing.
    I think you should be able to get most of your work at a good enough photo quality to project
    images. The idea is to represent your work, not so much to make an 100% exact copy. You should
    do fine with this.
    By the way, nice images. The painting definitely stand out from the other work. I graduated
    from SDSU in 1998, and my first work was mostly Graphic Design. It has been mostly over the
    last three years that the photography has past my design work. Also, I still paint, and still
    show in juried shows. I hope that you continue with your painting, even after you start
    working in design.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    <http://www.allgstudio.com>
     
    Gordon Moat, Oct 20, 2003
    #4
  5. I've photographed paintings quite a bit.

    The 100mm lens will be fine.

    If these paintings are under glass, your biggest problem will be avoiding
    reflections. I don't have studio lights or anything like that, but one
    natural-light method (not devised by me) has worked quite well - pick a
    sunny day, put the painting on an easel out in the sun, and position
    yourself under a verandah or something, but in the shade. This way the
    strong sunlight on the painting will easily overwhelm any reflections - just
    be careful about getting sky and cloud reflections instead! Try to get the
    centreline of your lens at right-angles to the painting surface. With
    careful setup it can work very well. I just let my camera (Canon EOS 33) do
    the metering, and bracket half a stop each way. As far as film is concerned,
    I have had considerable problems getting accurate blues with Fuji Velvia,
    whether under natural light, flash or whatever - they are too much on the
    "cold" side. Most other colours are fine. Haven't tried Provia yet.

    Good luck.

    [Remove numeral from address to reply by e-mail]
     
    Steve Marshall, Oct 21, 2003
    #5
  6. tino

    Don Guest

    A 100mm lens is great for perspective.
    100 ISO is good IMHO or try 200.

    Hard to say since we don't know if they were using hot lights or
    strobes.


    What's the name of the bulb? And what s the name
    It sounds like he used hot lights with a polarizing filter. But
    that's just my understanding, I could be wrong.

    Given that paintings have widely varying areas of dark and light you
    need a hand held meter. If you're in or near a large city you can rent
    one for a weekend (usually a 2 day rental fee for 3.5 days of use).
    If you want to sell or market your paintings to galleries and such,
    the exposure should be within 1/10 of an f/stop from edge to edge and
    the center.

    Don

    Diane Arbus, Avedon, Darkroom, Photoshop:
    http://1world-design.com/book/
     
    Don, Oct 28, 2003
    #6
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