RECENTLY, I took a reproduction project. The objective was to document all the paintings of a collector. It came in many sizes and the image details should be excellent enough to be used for printing reproduction. It is not the most difficult project that I faced, but it’s definitely something out of my regular type of shoot.
After shooting hundreds of paintings, it turned out to be harder than I expected. The lighting was a breeze. Two strobes 45 degrees both sides with an umbrella as modifier. I measured the exposure on all sides of the painting and it was nothing new to what I do.
Camera mounted on a tripod and I took a sample shot. Tried two shots, autofocus and manual focusing and to my horror, manual focusing was spot on when zoomed 400x. I tried a different lens thinking that maybe my lens needs some servicing and the same, manual was a lot better. Looks like I’ll be manually focusing for the hundreds of paintings.
Another consideration was color. A good reproduction should have a good color match from the original. For this requirement, I used a color checker from X-rite. It’s a calibrated color swatch that you include in your shot. You can shoot the color checker just once after you set up the lights and all the color correction will be done in Lightroom.
Color checker will ensure that white balance and camera calibration will be applied to the image to match the actual colors of the subject and in this case the paintings. This process is mostly used when shooting products that is sensitive to color matching of actual product. Most of the online product catalog requires this process.
My next problem distortion and alignment. I know that I need to shoot at higher focal length to minimize barrel distortion, I also need to have the camera and the items aligned to lessen post-processing activities. Well, the area was not so friendly and a bit challenging to meet all my requirements, so I had to do my lens correction in the post.
I know that Lightroom has a good lens correction for distortion, but what amazed me is the new tranform tool that I normally don’t use. If you’re a landscape photographer, I’m sure you have been acquainted with this tool, but not me. The tool was very intelligent and made the correction with accuracy and speed.
I believe that the transform tool is one of the beneficiaries of artificial intelligence that Adobe has been developing. Software are truly getting more intelligent nowadays. When faced with projects that are out of the ordinary, try to explore and find a more efficient way of doing it.
Allow your workflow to embrace the current technology and develop a more efficient and effective one.
Keep on shooting, everyone!