posted by SHELLEY BRUCAR
The images above are newly painted, not yet stitched.
A huge amount of time, effort and energy goes into creating art work. Yes, we love creating so it’s not really “work”, but it is time and energy. When you finish a piece, you probably want to photograph it. Whether it’s for publication, entering shows, or simply for your record, you want good quality photos – sharp and good color. At first, I wanted to photograph my work outside. Natural light is great, gives you true color and shows off detail such as stitching. The problem with outdoor photography is that you are at the mercy of the weather. Cold, rain, wind and other elements can make taking pictures quite difficult; just try getting a sharp image in the wind! I tried everything to get good results indoors on those days, and nothing worked very well. So I knew a better option was needed.
Last year, I finally invested in photo studio lighting – this set-up is made specifically to provide light for photographing people and things and to give true color (go figure!). I chose the Square Perfect light set because it was recommended by Barbara Schneider and she knows everything! I purchased the set on eBay from DTX International and have been very pleased with the results. The set comes with photo stands, photo lights and bulbs, photo umbrellas and a carrying case. I initially had a probem with one of the stands, and it was replaced immediately, no problem.
For the best photos, you will need a good camera and a tripod. A 3 megapixel camera is adequate; one with 5-6 megapixels is better. It’s also good to have a camera with some manual controls; if you are photographing something 3-dimentional, you may want to control depth of field by setting your own aperture. I sometimes change the white balance if I’m not completely happy with the color. And I use my camera’s timer so when the image is taken, I am not touching the camera at all – tripod + timer prevents camera shake and gives you sharper images.
You also need somewhere to do all this. I took over a small corner of my basement for my photograpy set-up. I put up thin insulation of one wall, then covered it with black velvet fabric. The insulation gives you a surface to poke pins into for hanging your work, and the black velvet background is a non-reflective surface, therefore does not catch the light and does not compete with the art work.
When you’re all set-up, play around with light placement to see the different results. Photographing fiber art, I like to place the lights on either side of the work, fairly close because side lighting shows off texture/stitching.