Roses: photographing artwork and problems photographing coloured pencil work

Blowsy Rose, mixed media, approx 11x9 ins, Vivien Blackburn

I find work in coloured pencil very hard to photograph or scan. The subtle paler marks tend to look faded and the white paper glares a bit too much. I don't like to burnish as I like the marks left, though I realise that would solve the problem.

I find that putting a folded paper tissue over the flashgun, if using flash, definitely helps with photographing any work. Often the results using this are better than I get with natural light.

This one is a mixed media piece with some watercolour underpainting with cp over. This, I find easier to photograph and actually prefer to work this way.

The top layer below shows the untouched photograph using flash, with next to it, the image adjusted in photoshop to match the original as closely as possible.

The second row shows the natural light photograph and its adjusted image.

The one in the top row is closer and has, in my opinion, made a better job of picking up the colours in this case.

flash vs natural light comparison

I adjusted it using Levels - tweaking the dark/midtones/light. Then I adjusted the colour balance, tipping the lights and the midtones a little yellower and the darks a little bluer and greener. This brought it very close to the original.

Sometimes I find it works better to duplicate the layer and multiply it, altering the percentage until it looks right. Then it may need brightness and contrast and colour balance adjusting a little.

Next decision - to crop as below or to leave the ragged edges - as at the top? what do you think?

Meanwhile ..... please keep work coming in for the tree challenge - a post linking to all participants at the end of the month :>)

................ and Jeanette has a rock challenge starting up - take a look and join in?

and Katherine has a very good post about adjusting for those using Elements here


Kaye said…
I love the cropped version, it brings it up close. Thank you for sharing how you get the picture online back to what you see in person!I love working with watercolor and prisma colorpencils. I needed this advice!Thank you Thank you!!!!!
Jean Spitzer said…
I love them both, but prefer the uncropped version. I like the context, colors, uneven edges.
Julie Broom said…
I like the uncropped one too, just a personal preference. I'm more of a raggedy edges sort of person!

Interesting to see the comparison of photograph techniques. I often have problems with the colours in my photographs so will try playing around with the levels in photoshop.
Teresa Mallen said…
I really like them both but I too like the uncropped one best. This surprises me as I am normally a zoom in kind of gal. Congrats on fiddling until you got something very close to the original. I read Katherine's advice. Now if I would just take the time to apply it...

Some of my cp work photographs quite well and then other times not so well. I do wish the subtle nuances of colour were more obvious but then again considering I compress my images, I guess that is expecting a lot. I imagine painters showing large oil paintings with gorgeous brush strokes suffer from the same frustration. Getting something to look as good on a blog as it does in life is probably an ongoing struggle. :-)
annie said…
They are both gorgeous but I'm more of a raggedy edges person, too.
dinahmow said…
Uncropped for me, too!
And the trees? Still getting there, but suddenly realised I need to do more prints for next month. I'll get something on my blog by end of month.
vivien said…
thanks for the feedback everyone \:>)

it seems to be the uncropped version winning :>)
Robyn said…
Uncropped for me too!

I appreciate your demo of the adjustments you made, Vivien. I had a very frustrating time recently trying to get true colours and white paper, even though I've been photographing my work, and been reasonable happy with the results for the past 4 years. I'm starting to think it's a problem with my monitor. That could be why I think your No4 example looks best.

Also just noticed I can't read all the text in your banner - have you changed the text colour recently?

Your rose is gorgeous :)
Becky Vigor said…
I've also been struggling with photographing coloured pencil drawings. If they're small enough I scan them instead (I have an A3 scanner) and that gives the best rendition with very little editing needed. If I have to photograph then the problem is generally flash glare. But recently I've started taking photos inside at night with no flash, then bringing up the levels and adjusting brightness and contrast, and that has been surprisingly successful, against all expectations!
vivien said…
I might try that Becky - I agree about it being the glare but my scanner creates as much glare often :>( - that's why I put a couple of layers of tissue over the flash as it really helps

Popular posts from this blog

linoprint fish and digital experiments

cats in art and a monotype of a cat

Hedges silhouetted agains the snow, winter light: watercolour and Derwent tinted charcoal pencils in Stillmand and Birn Beta Hardback sketchbook