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Art Reproduction Photography: lighting the masterpiece

Art Reproduction Photography: lighting the masterpiece

Recently I have a very interesting experience working for Janis Wilson Hughes, shooting her sculptures for an exhibition. It was interesting because I did not shoot art pieces  before, most of my photography was commercial products.
There is the same requirements in both art and product photography : to show the best of the subject, its texture and shape at the best angle.

When I’ve received and opened the boxes with the art, I’ve already knew how I was going to shoot them: soft light (stripe boxes) from left, right and top with a nice gray gradient (spot from a 30° honeycomb grid  to a charcoal gray paper). Below the outcome, enjoy:

Art reproduction photography: Janise Hughes masterpiece shoot
Art reproduction photography: Janise Hughes masterpiece

Having 3 lights hitting the subject with the sharp angle gives me flexibility to choose from more textured or more brighter and shadowless look.
The spot on a background was necessary for the first art piece, wire mesh without a frame. I left it on for the rest two pieces, as it added one more dimension to them. It would be easy to crop the frame, when needed, but Janis agreed with me: background spot was a good thing to do:-)

art reproduction studio photography
art reproduction studio photography

art reproduction studio photography atlanta ga
art reproduction studio photography: studio lighting

The lighting setup diagram:

art reproduction photography lighting setup
art reproduction photography lighting setup

I was using a backdrop support system, similar to this one to hang the frames using a thin wire. Fishing line was used to stabilize the frame, as it did not want to stay vertical: center of gravity was far from the center of the frame, shifted on front. The rest, I hope, will be easy to read from the diagram. Let me know if I am wrong:-)

Equipment and shooting spec:

Camera gear:

Lighting, light modifiers and accessories:

All shots were done with: shutter speed 1/250 sec, F16, ISO 100, Custom WB 6700K

Would be glad to hear your opinions on this.

7 responses on "Art Reproduction Photography: lighting the masterpiece"

  1. Hello Alex………I have keen interest in Art Reproduction Photography especially in book plate art but i cannot find much information regarding lighting and shooting Art pieces for reproduction printing.

    It would be great if you had a series of courses on Art Reproduction Photography…let me know if u would ever consider creating such a course in the near future…as for now my focus is on water droplet photography or splash photography and light painting, macro bubble Photography.

    Have u ever considered doing a tutorial on light painting Art Works?
    Any resources available on Art Reproduction photography could you please let me know.


  2. The backlighting on these pieces really do give it a greater sense of depth. Great use of light, Alex

  3. The work turned out very nicely. I especially love the wire piece.

  4. You did good for my baby girl…thanks…her Mom (linda)

  5. Alex, I could not be happier with the outcome! You captured my artwork beautifully with total realism and amazing detail. And you are a nice person who is easy to work with to top it all off. I’m very happy that we had the opportunity to work together, and I look forward to working with you more in the future!

    -Janis Wilson Hughes

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