Need help taking images of gallery artwork

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I am on our local art board. We are trying to keep galleries and shows open during these trying times.
We have an annual show at the local airport each year, room for about 70 pieces. Mixed media, painting, pencil, photography, anything flat that can hang.
As we can no longer have gallery openings or judge’s critiques with crowds, we are working to put this on line for our members. Our last show was digital only, and that worked really well.
I volunteered to photograph the pieces being submitted for this show, there will be about 100 submitted pieces. Judging and the gallery will be on line.
Local airport, so lighting is hit or miss. I asked for the conference room which has some nice north facing windows.
I am trying not to haul lighting around. This needs to be quick, and not interrupt the airport flow.
My thoughts were to shoot in the shady side of the room. Setup a table against the wall, and lean each piece slightly, and have the camera parallel to that. Tripod, low iso, don’t really care about amount of light as shutter speed can be long. Polarizer on lens to help with any reflections on glass covered pieces. Shoot an xrite color picker to at least get some of the colors correct.
Any thoughts to make this work, or be easier?
Another example of never volunteer, but I do want this to come out decent.
Thanks
Gary
 
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Gary, I've done a lot of this type of photography and I've worked out my own system which may not work for you.

I usually use my 55/3.5 AI micro lens because of its lack of geometric distortion. Tripod, of course, and manually focused using live view. I usually set at f/5.6 but f/8 is o.k. You just want enough DOF to allow for slight focus errors. Set WB to Kelvin and adjust until what you see in the viewfinder matches what you see with your eyes, though the XRite Color Checker can serve as a backup check.

I try to avoid photographing art behind glass, but you may have to. The polarizer may affect WB so check that carefully. I prefer photographing art works hanging on the wall, but it sounds like you won't have that choice.

You probably don't have a 55 micro, but other micro lenses would be a good choice since they are usually pretty rectilinear.
 
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Thanks so much for the help.
No, will not be able to shoot these on the wall, shots will be needed before judging and hanging.
Many of the pieces will be behind glass, so between polarizer and positioning the pieces I hope to keep reflections at bay. Color renditions are a concern for sure, manual K may work, thanks for the thought.
My macro lens is 90mm, which will likely be too long in these conditions, but will certainly put it in the bag.
Thanks again
Gary
 
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I didn’t think the reflections would be that big of an issue, but as Mike knows I have no idea how to light glass. I’ll take a couple of pop up diffusers/reflectors with me. Hopefully I can shade or block off any direct light reflections. I will let you know how it goes, but thanks to you two I am going more prepared.
This is a great place.
Thanks
Gary
 
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The easiest, portable way to block off reflections probably will be to buy a piece of black fabric as wide as possible. The length should be long enough for one person to hold it immediately to the left of the art work, for it to extend to and wrap around your back when standing at the tripod, and then for it to extend to another person holding it immediately to the right of the art work. In effect, you would be photographing inside a partial tent. Probably not practical for at least a couple reasons but it or something similar would be worth considering.
 
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Good on you for volunteering. I've done that sort of thing several times, and I always tell the recipient that I make only one warranty: it won't be perfect.
 
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Mike, I see where you are going. I have a large black cloth backdrop, I think it is 8x20’. I will throw that in the car as well. I can’t use it if I do not have it with me, but would have never thought of taking it. At least I am going more prepared than I would have. I’ll let you know how they turn out. It was me or nothing.
I like the warranty idea, I can also guarantee that. I’m just trying to support our local art community. There are only one or two other photographers and they are not really active in the group.
Gary
 
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Nothing is ever as planned.
Due primarily to a change in the availability of the judge, what I planned as a controlled project turned into a different event. So I had 3 hours to photograph and post process roughly 85 pieces. It turned into little more than having a helper hang the piece, snap a picture, take down that piece and hang another. I found a place that light was constant and without marked glare. Set the color temp with a grey card, and shot away- done in less than 90min. Processed the first image in CaptureOne, and just pasted the settings to the group and exported. Had reflection issues with 2 pieces, but no time to correct. they were not too bad. My main stumbling block is the way the pieces were hung, they leaned slightly. I had enough depth of field so that was not an issue. I had not planned it would distort the images- so I could not crop without individually correcting each image for distortion- which I did not have time to do. So I cropped a little wide and they did not look too bad. Learned a lot, will do better next time.
Gary
 
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Sounds like you made the best of a difficult situation. I can't imagine trying to get optimal photographs in such a short time.

What camera and lens did you use?
 
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Pictures were of such different sizes and we were moving quickly, I just said the heck with it and shot with the sony a7riv and the 24-105 zoom. Pieces went from 6x6" to 40x60", it was just easier and quicker to zoom in and out. Polarizer helped some. Your idea of setting white balance manually helped a lot. I ran one batch through capture one as they needed them yesterday. The only real issue was many of the pieces tilted forward when hung, so photographed they are not a parallelogram, so I could not crop tight and have them look decent. I later ran them through dxo for distortion correction and they were much better. Actually turned out pretty darn good, except for the 2 with reflections. Thanks for your help with this, I will do better next time.
Gary
 

Commodorefirst

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Props, late to the game, but used to photograph our art department student works for entry into shows in The St. Louis area. You truly did a yeoman job on such a short time frame. We had a special table and easel we used to match the plane of the painting and or sculpture, shot at F8, bounced flash and diffuser on several Nikon speed lights triggered by my camera mounted Nikon flash trigger. Yep, all manual white balance, used a whibal grey and color card. We varied backdrops, used reflectors, soft boxes, different things. Favorite lens that I had was actually either 50 1.4 or 35mm f2. More than one method works, lots of variables.

unsung hero, thanks for your dedication.
 
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I have volunteered to do this at every show, so hopefully I can get better each time. The other shows will be more controlled in our own gallery, not a public airport. I will also not have the time pressure we had this time. So hopefully I will have time to set some stuff up. I actually had lights and backdrops with me, but they never made it out of the car. Thanks for the ideas
Gary
 

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