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  • August 3, 2012

    Photographing a Painting Under Glass

    How to photograph a painting that is framed under glass. One of a series of articles about photographing artwork.

    Let me start off saying that this technique is for creating jury images, not necessarily for making reproductions of the painting.

    photographing a painting under glass

    What I do is photograph the painting from an angle to control what is reflected in the glass. As you can see, I’ve laid the custom painting on the floor and hung black velvet behind it so the black cancels out what reflections might have been there. I shoot at an angle to the painting, getting as close to directly over it before I can see reflections from the lights or ceiling. Then, knowing what the original size is, I open the image in Photoshop and resize (unchecking constraint proportions) to the correct proportion. This technique is much easier to do than using polarized light sources with a polarizing filter.

    photographed at an angle and cropped to the edges
    then skewed square
    then resized to the correct proportion in Photoshop
    reflections on the glass that I avoided

    This technique, or variations of it, can be used to photograph any kind of artwork under glass or not. For example, paintings hung in a gallery exhibition that may be blocked by sculptures on pedestals. In fact, artists send me pictures of their paintings all the time that aren’t square and I make them look perfect for jurying. When you photograph your art, whatever kind it is, you have to make sure to eliminate or minimize reflections. Controlling what’s reflected is an easy way to do so.

    Using a tripod is always advisable to get sharper clearer images of your artwork.

    Read my article on how to set your digital camera for the highest quality images of your artwork.

    There are more related articles in the section on how to photograph your own art.

    © Larry Berman