for Denette- Taking Photos

I’ve talked on here about the difficulty of taking photos of my work. I think all glass artists struggle with this. Glass is such a visual medium, as is photography. For decades people have been striving to produce the perfect representational photo. I dabbled in photography in my 20’s, and I think I was pretty decent at it, with my old school Yashica and film. But digital photography escapes me. I took a class on Photoshop, but was unable to complete it because I unexpectedly relocated my business, so i am still in the dark a bit when it comes to photography.

I understand the basics: illumination. The piece, especially glass, must be lit adequately to have any hope of proper color reproduction. I have hung pieces in just about every window in my home plus the back porch, the side porch and the front yard, trying to get a good photo. What has worked best for me is this:

1. South side of the house. time of day will vary, depending on the time of the year and the position of the sun. Yesterday was a better day to take these photos (sunny, as opposed to overcast) but I never got around to it. This time of year I like between 11-2pm for the best light.

I drilled holes in the eaves of my house, and inserted screw eyes. Two sets, one for the white screen/deflector and the other for the art. From these I hung lengths of chain, with S hooks.

photo system 1

2. Hang your white screen/deflector. Use what works for you. I made a stretcher frame using furring strips, and stretched an old white sheet over it. I put screw eyes in the outer edges of the top of the frame. The sheet doesn’t have to be pristine. This sheet has a few areas of discoloration and some small stains here and there, but it doesn’t show up in the photos. The important thing is that light must transmit thru the screen, it needs to seem lit from within. Linen, cotton, nylon, all with work. try assorted things, or just go buy a flat sheet.

photo system 3

photo system 2

3. Hang your art and start taking photos.

photo system 4


Today is overcast, the kind of day that is perfect for no backdrop photos. The no-backdrop photos actually look better than the ones shot with the white screen.

with white screen

with white screen

no white screen

no white screen


There is no single way, in my humble opinion, unless you are blessed enough to have a photography studio available to you. Experiment, find what works for you.




~ by kellig on February 2, 2014.

One Response to “for Denette- Taking Photos”

  1. Very helpful! The pictures made me understand your setup much better. Thanks for the pics and additional details. If it ever warms up I will have to play around with some of your ideas. Thank you!

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