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VIOLIN PHOTOGRAPHY


Norman Clark
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It looks like our insurance company is going to require photos of the instruments we wish to insure. Seems like a reasonable request. I took a buch of photos of violins, violas and cellos and the results were terrible! Lots of shadows, reflections, Etc. Many of the photos posted here look so great by comparison. Perhaps someone could reccommend a book on how to do it right. I would appreciate any help or suggestions. I have plenty of good equipment, both old and new. Even have a new high resolution digital camera.

Norm

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I've referred to this article by Michael Darnton many times. It should answer your questions.

If you don't want to go to too much trouble, you can always try varying the light in the room, anything from bright to almost dark can produce some surprising results. A change in background can make quite a difference also. And no flash.

But if you really want to do it right, Michael's article will help you.

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Thanks for link to Michael's site. Very helpful indeed.

Henry Stobel also has a short chapter on photographing violins in his Violin Maker's Notebook. Although I can't claim to know much about it, he does provide clear explanations of procedures and equipment. Here's a link to his site: http://home.att.net/~HenryStrobel/booklist.htm

I too am amazed by the fine quality of some of the violin photos that are being posted on the web. For example, a couple of dealers on eBay from Germany have awesome photos, and seemingly could make any fiddle look great. -Jeff

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quote:


Originally posted by Shen CSC Products:

I still haven't successfully duplicated our varnish with the digital camera I'm currently using. My partner just bought a new and better digital camera that may do it, we'll see. If anyone has had success specifically with digital cameras I'd love to hear about it!

Thanks,

John


Hi John;

Although computer screens tend to "translate" the original colors a bit, I've had pretty good luck with the Kodak camera we use. There are a number of photos on our gallery page if you wish to judge for yourself.

I find that the background is critical to the accuracy of the color captured (digital photos capture a "range" and judge the lightest areas as "white" and the darkest areas as "black", filling the rest of the information in by comparison... if I understand the process correctly). If your background is too dark or too bright,the color captured is altered accordingly.

Jeffrey

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Now that is very interesting Jeffrey, thank you! After using black and white backgrounds, I'm now beginning to understand why I've had surprising luck by photographing in front of brown cardboard boxes. smile.gif

The Gofriller photos in your gallery are excellent, would you happen to remember what color background was used for those photographs?

My photos have been consistently more like your Strad photos, which seem to appear in your gallery as more red than in reality.

Many thanks!

John

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Hi John;

I use a photo-gray paper background. Seems to keep things pretty well balanced. I also shoot in "TIFF" mode... although the files are large, the color seems better.

Strad... Are you referring to the Benny Vuillaume? That's pretty red to begin with, but I may have pushed it a bit as I shot in JPEG mode.... It was an early attempt.

Jeffrey

[This message has been edited by Jeffrey Holmes (edited 12-17-2001).]

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Thanks for the excellent advice here. I read the article by Michael and have ordered some lighting equipment. In the mean time, I just purchased a Sony digital camera model DSC-?707F or something like that. It has a 5 megapixal rating. I used it with natural light outdoors (I'm in Phoenix). For a background, I used foam, spray painted with primer, a non glossy grey. I pretty much shot straight down at mid day to get the least amount of shadow. The detail is really outstanding. The color was very accurate.

My problem was the size of the files. The camera came with only a 16 Meg memory stick, and shooting in non compressed mode (TIFF) I could only get about one shot before I had to download the file onto my computer. I have ordered much more memory. Printing on photo paper, the 8x10 results are considerably better than I anticipated. I am looking forward to getting the lighting equiment and taking lots of photos!

Norm

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