Taking photos of my small 20cm x 20cm canvas paintings using a 50cm light tent.
Here my 50cm light tent (photo tent) set up for the first time. Using 2 household lamps with low energy daylight bulbs – nothing special just ordinary lamps.
Photo of canvas in the light tent taken with Nikon D40 digital SLR …
… and then same thing taken with a point and shoot digital (Canon Ixus I Zoom) …
The first DSLR image is a lot brighter than the digital point and shoot and closer to the original colours on the canvas. Of course I have a lot more control over settings on the DSLR for aperture and exposure which makes a big difference.
Later I edited the DSLR photo in photoshop and took out the white tent to replace with a solid white background. So it went from creased tent to solid white …
I couldn’t find a lot about people talking about using light tents to take photos of art canvases but it worked really week for me and was a lot less hassle to set up than when I have tried to take photos outside on good daylight. As well as being able to control the light, it also helps to use a light tent with varnished or glossy finished paint like acrylics as you can get glare of the surface of the finished canvas.
I won’t be able to use this for larger canvas paintings because I don’t think I’ll be able to produce enough light to light the tent withut buying studio lights.
I decided to buy a 50cm light tent off ebay (for about £15) rather than make one at home because I wanted to be able to easily store it and for it to take up as little space as possible. Plus I needed an easy option as my energy is limited by my illness.
Update 24 Nov 2008:
I got this advice on a comment on Flickr
if you get reflections try using a polarising filter, and for bigger canvases use outside on an even lit day. If you can use two polarisers, (called cross polarising), this gives accutate colour rendition and no reflections. Its how we used to do it in my days in the advertising studio with film cameras, it worked, I have never tried it with digital
Thanks to ecoartist chris for the advice!