Archives for July 2013

Learning to Photograph Fine Art and Craft

Cosmic detail - week 1

Cosmic detail – week 1

I just finished a 4 week on line class: Photographing Fine Art and Craft with Brit Hammer.  Photographing my art is something I hadn’t really attempted before this class.  My camera is always set to automatic and I just barely know my way around Photoshop.  I’ve always used professional photos when representing my work because photos create the first impression when applying to shows and competitions.  They have to be great!   My kinetic sculptures are hard to shoot- they are large, they move and I want angles that look up at the ceiling- not the norm.  I have paid some wonderful photographers to take pics of my work, but it takes a lot of time to set up and get just the right shot, and time means money!  I felt it was time I learned how to work a camera myself to get exactly what I want.  Brit Hammer’s online class did just that.  It is broken down into 4 topics spread over 4 weeks: story, product, lighting and post processing.

High lights of what I learned:

Rock what you got!  (One of Brit’s favorite sayings.) Don’t worry if you don’t have the fanciest equipment.  I’m using clamp lights from the hardware store and a roll of no seam paper for the backdrop.

Discovering shadows

Discovering shadows

Lighting: Sometimes one light is enough.  Shadows create interest.  Check out this photo of my Cosmic Carnival mobile.  Although I’ve always thought of this as a calligraphy piece, I  never saw this shadow until I started experimenting with lighting from different directions. (This is from week 2 and I can now see ways I want to improve on this image.)

Who’s Kelvin?   Kelvin rates the color of light- from warm to cool.  Most bulbs state their Kelvin rating on the package.  (Even the ones from Loews.)  Learn what color light works best for your story.

It takes time!  Try all sorts of angles and all kinds of lighting to get the pic that tells your story.

Try to take your best shots in camera because fixing things in Photoshop takes time and talent.  Frame exactly what you want.  When you crop you lose data.

Use depth of field (some parts in focus and some parts fuzzy) to create depth.

Each week we posted our homework images to a private Facebook group where Brit, who lives in the Netherlands, ( Isn’t the internet great!? ) commented on each image.  She asked questions and gave suggestions to help us get what we wanted.  And I really had to think about what I wanted.  What mood was I trying to create?  What angle best tells my story for this piece?  I was also able to see other classmate’s work and the questions and comments about their photos.  After “graduating” I opted into the graduates’ Facebook group to continue to share images, questions and ideas with current and previous class members.  This class was well worth the money and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to gain confidence in photographing their own art work.  You will download the 4 week class syllabus and have it forever, complete with instructional videos.  With this class you will learn how to take artful shots of your art!

Brit has graciously offered those who enroll from my blog a discount off the class prices.  I took the guided-study + mentorship package because my work is very challenging to photograph.  I can now say I probably didn’t need that extra one-on-one because Brit is so attentive and answers all your questions on line.  To get your discount:

Dusk detail, week 4

Dusk detail, week 4

Use promo code PATTY at checkout.

Photographing Fine Art & Craft  (www.brithammer.com/photographing-art)

$120 (instead of $125) Self-Study course

$475 (instead of $499) Guided-Study course
$575 (instead of $599) Guided-Study course + Mentorship package
DSLR Photography for Beginners (www.brithammer.com/photography-for-artists)

$120 (instead of $125) Self-Study tutorial
Happy Shooting!