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Birdsong

Dan, I Could Use Some Help

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I remember you posted some of your watercolor work a while ago. I need to send a high-res digital photo of a wildlife oil to the man who took the photo. It shouldn't be that hard! I am not getting enough shutter speed but trying to avoid direct sunlight, getting a little glare, and washing out some detail. I only have the flash that is with the camera--no fancy beamers, bouncers or what-have-yous. Did you use an easel, hang on a wall so it is flat? I have tried inside and out. Any suggestions? Also, did you trim your photos (digitally) to the border of the art work, or leave some background? If so, do you try to do a narrow depth of field? Guess I can do a search to find your posts for the answer to that one. Thank you!

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I know I'm not Dan, but I photographed some paintings not long ago. I tried doing it in a dark area and using studio lights and all that jazz. I finally ended up taping it up on a wall in indirect sunlight. You want to get your camera square and level and use an aperture around f8 or f11 to make sure that even if you're not perfectly level you'll get everything in focus. Use a tripod if you have one. This way, you can use a low ISO to prevent noise and a slow shutter if necessary. I shot plenty loose so I could crop it to the edge of the print. I didn't leave any border on mine.

I used this process and had good luck with. Good luck to you.

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Sarah,

Oil paintings can be a bit tricky because of the shiny surface. I would recommend shooting this outdoors on a bright sunny day. Try and set up your painting so it is not in direct sunlight but use the northern blue sky so it is directly behind you and shining back toward the painting. Since you will be outside if you have an easel that would be good but most anything to hold the painting will work, it will not be showing in your finished photo at any rate. You can also use a white foam core board to help reflect some additional light back on the painting but be careful you don't introduce any glare.You will get a more accurate color rendition shooting outdoors as well.

I prefer to trim the shot so that only the border of the artwork is left. Shooting from a tripod is a good idea in order to keep the camera as perpendicular to the painting as you can. You could also shoot at a slight angle to eliminate any glare and just correct that in your post processing. Just shoot wide enough to allow for the cropping if you do that. F8 is plenty of aperture, DOF should not be a big issue. Outside ISO 100 or 200 should maintain a good shutter speed and since you are on a tripod shake should not be a problem.

Hope that helps, I'm sure you will get a good shot of your painting.

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Thanks, both of you. I will give it another try tomorrow. I do have a borrowed tripod which is pretty featherweight, but should work in backyard conditions. I don't have a remote as yet. I will see if I can get one at our local photo shop. This gives me a better idea on how to go about it.

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Sarah, I've shot artwork to be reproduced in books the same way Dan does it, essentially. I generally do it indoors with indirect window light, but otherwise it is the same.

If you don't have a remote shutter release, simply use the camera's self timer.

Good luck! smilesmile

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Oh, never thought of the timer. Especially since this is one bird that won't be flying away. Excellent. Thanks!

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That is kind of a loaded question. It really depends on the many factors, sharpening out of the camera, file size, subject matter, etc. One thing you can do is be sure you do your sharpening on a duplicate layer. Then just adjust the opacity of that layer until you get the look you are after.

I use the following settings which are right from Scott Kelby's excellent books on Photoshop. I created a word document that I keep handy to use as a reference if I need.

Sharpening Settings

Soft subject – 150/1/10

Portraits – 75/2/3

Moderate – 120/1/3

Maximum – 65/4/3

Most used – 85/1/4

Web – 200/.3/0

Luminosity Sharpen

Apply normal sharpening

Edit>Fade Unsharp Mask

Adjust the opacity to suit

Change the Fade dialog to Luminosity

Sharpen with mask

Sharpen

Ctrl-J on this layer run the unsharp mask again.

Layers panel press and hold Alt and add Layer Mask.

B for brush tool soft edge foreground set to white to paint in more detail.

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What a wonderful reply! I should have made myself a little clearer. I am wondering about sharpening for a painting. I won't waste the time you put in, I'll print and file in my photog file. The photographer who consented to my using his photo wants a "high resolution" picture. I finally have a picture to send him. Every time I tried before, I would find something I needed to back and work on with the oils. Drove myself crazy! Now I need to be done before I absolutely hate the thing. But I notice sharpening effects the evident brush strokes. I have the Kelsey. Next time I should remember to look at it before I bug you! Thanks so much.

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Sarah,

I am guessing a lot of fine detail in the photo of the painting so the luminosity method of sharpening and sharpening on a layer so you can adjust the exact amount you want to apply should work. It could be you do not need to apply any sharpening at all. I would really start with just a small amount and go from there. And no need to worry about asking, that is what these forums are made for!

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