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Author Topic: Reproduction lighting  (Read 2006 times)

Thenolands

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Reproduction lighting
« on: February 13, 2017, 11:22:13 PM »

We have a new large format print company just starting out and would like to get into art reproduction printing. I know like everything in photography the sky is the limit with what can be spent, howevr, can any recommendations be made for lighting setups for 2D art reproduction under say $500? Also, some basic info regarding color temp of light, etc would be helpful. All comments/help welcome.
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BobShaw

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 03:59:15 PM »

I am not sure if this is a serious question but anyway ...
Owning a printing machine does not make you a fine art printer. What processes and standards do you have in place to manage colour?
If you can't accurately print a test file then the rest is pointless. That is a whole science in itself.

Basic info regarding colour temperature of light is that you need to account for that and also account for the camera response by profiling the camera. The more you pay then the more accurate and consistent you get. $500 would probably not buy one decent light.

Watch this this video for some idea of what is happening. It is Chapter 16 of the Hasselblad series.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxEDn4ueFJE
All you need then is a Hasselblad.

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scyth

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 06:25:53 PM »

can any recommendations be made for lighting setups for 2D art reproduction under say $500?

assuming that you have (or can borrrow) tools (like a decent spectrometer) & skills to make repro profile $500 can buy you a good number of solux MR-11 bulbs for 4000K+ ( https://www.solux.net/cgi-bin/tlistore/soluxbulbs.html ) for example and then you need some rail fixture to mount then and you need to be a decent handyman to make more or less flat illumination setup... or you can try even flash (xenon tubes spectrum is not that bad)...
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framah

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 06:43:22 PM »

I'm going to have to come out and say it...
No you can't for under $500.

Remember that not only will you need 2 lights powerful enough to light a large area, you also need filll lights to compensate for the light falloff at the corners of the image.

You CAN buy my whole studio for $20,000 which includes a 4x5 Cambo with numerous lenses, the rail stand to hold it, and a Betterlight system to capture the image and then a pair of 900 watt North lights on  heavy duty stands.

New, this setup would run about $40,000.

For $500, you really won't get the high quality file needed to create high quality Giclee prints.

What happens when someone comes in with a LARGE original and wants you to shoot it?

With what $500 could buy you in the way of lights, you will be lucky to shoot 11x14 paintings.

Setting up on the cheap isn't helping anyone... you or the customer.
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 07:11:19 PM »

It depends who you think your clients are and to what standards of work you want to produce.  I have an illustrator friend who sells a LOT of his work as prints, cards, posters, etc...  He does very well.  He reproduces his own paintings.  He has gotten good at it, and he understands how to print and does that himself.  I have 5 of his paintings in my studio in fact and am always amazed by how good his results are.  He probably doesn't have $3000 worth of equipment.  Then again, he knows enough to tweak the colors to his standards.

The higher the tolerances and standards, and the pickier the clients, more valuable the work or reproductions, the more precise the setup needs to be in all respects.  Color control, light color temperature control, illumination, lens field flatness, sharpness, etc...  There are a lot of factors that add up.  I do small time art repro for some local clients.  Generally for their websites.  I have gotten results that were excellent for what they needed using a multi-shot capture for better color reproduction with no moire and using a couple strobes set up carefully.  Would I take a museum client with this setup...NOPE.  Can my client sell card sets and 11x14s.... yup all day long.

Can you make a setup for $500... that's tough...your options are limited and quality control / consistency may be lacking.  $1500+ for lights sounds more realistic, especially if you are looking to go used...and that is a starting point in my opinion. That is me thinking of strobes...in reality fixed lighting would be much better...but $500 is tough.  Again, it really depends on what your expectations are and what your potential clients will demand.  It also depends how large the original work is too.  A 60" original canvas as a bit different to deal with than an 8x10 in terms of space needed and the lighting coverage needed for evenness.

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BobShaw

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 08:25:58 PM »

I do small time art repro for some local clients.  Generally for their websites.
That, to me at least, is not art reproduction. It is standard product photography.
Art reproduction to me is producing prints that are a 2D version of the 3D art work. (usually the same size) that can be actually sold to an art buyer who desires the art work but is not able to pay for an original. The other function is to allow the artist to sell the art work more than once, thus increasing their returns.
I agree with the rest.
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 09:57:45 AM »

Fair enough.  Again, that seems to draw the line at the goal of the clients...which is good to know going in.
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BobDavid

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 02:32:37 PM »

We have a new large format print company just starting out and would like to get into art reproduction printing. I know like everything in photography the sky is the limit with what can be spent, howevr, can any recommendations be made for lighting setups for 2D art reproduction under say $500? Also, some basic info regarding color temp of light, etc would be helpful. All comments/help welcome.

Being that you own or work at a large format print company, I'd look around for a contractor whose able to handle the digital capture side. Otherwise, you'll be chasing your tail and the opportunity cost from not focusing on your core competencies will ultimately harm your business. From my experience, the best repro clients are professional artists. They're not as picky about absolute accuracy as they are about expecting the end result to be close, and more importantly, the color is pleasing to the eye. They understand prints will not be seen next to an original. It's the one-offs from amateurs that'll kill you. They are often the pickiest. 80% of my repro business came from an established customer base. I eventually stopped taking work from amateur artists, and then I stopped printing on canvas.  I built up a customer base of water colorists, pastel artist, and painters who preferred prints on paper rather than canvas. My best clients were institutions with archives of documents, photos, and artwork (forget about fine art museums). ... The learning curve is steep. Your artist friend has a specific style and he/she probably fiddled around before coming up with a recipe. If you are offering professional reproduction services, and the goal is to become successful, you will need to be comfortable with reproducing a wide range of original art. A camera "sees differently than the human eye. Oil paintings are often tricky--artists often use several brands of paint. And one brand may have different reflective/refractive characteristics than another. Your eye won't pick up on it, but the camera will. It takes years to become proficient at fine art repro. If you are interested in servicing clients who aren't picky, chances are they will not want to pay much. And there is a lot of competition on that level.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 08:47:09 AM by BobDavid »
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ynp

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Reproduction lighting
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 04:32:31 PM »

I don't pretend to be a pro, but we have been shooting flat art for our artists for more then 10 years. The most useful information I got it was on this board and the old RG forum.

We have two sets of equipment, more expensive and cheap.
The cheaper on is a calibrated Leica S2 ( it can be any modern camera) , a colorimeter, checkered passport, and three strip boxes with Cine film polarizer. Two strip boxes are 130cm by 30 cm by 45 cm ( depth). Each has two sockets to put there a cheap monoblock in. The third strip box is also hand made of a Chinese light box and it is 1 meter long, with another monoblock. We use the ancient Minicoms. The third is needed sometimes to light the painting from the top , to expose the texture. Monoblock strobes are dirt cheap but work well with cross polarization or without it. Calibrate the camera for lights and the rest is post processing. Nothing difficult for a regular painting and watercolor.  Metal paints and reflective paints are more difficult to light. Several shots sometimes needed for composing the final image.
In some cases the flat art can be lighted with v-flats and natural lights with no expense at all. 

Uneven lighting as a result of not a perfect setup, is easily dealt by with a white shading shot: you shoot a white carton instead of artwork first.

Sorry for my clumsy English.
Yevgeny
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 04:39:59 PM by ynp »
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 09:46:04 PM »

We have a new large format print company just starting out and would like to get into art reproduction printing. I know like everything in photography the sky is the limit with what can be spent, howevr, can any recommendations be made for lighting setups for 2D art reproduction under say $500? Also, some basic info regarding color temp of light, etc would be helpful. All comments/help welcome.

this is thesinlge funniest piece of satire I've read on this site in many a year. Well played.
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petermfiore

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Re: Reproduction lighting
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 09:56:03 PM »

Your lighting also needs to address the texture of the painting or non-texture and how you would want to reproduce those qualities. Even lighting is not always the goal...each painting has it's own needs.

Peter
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