I’ve been shooting images of my ceramic works for the last 20 years. I learned out of necessity, simply because, I wasn’t going to pay the high prices that “professional” photographers wanted for less than expected results with strings attached. I tried working with several photographers but I was really never happy with their results and the whole “who owns the negatives” thing was always a problem.
I teach a workshop for artists titled, “Photograph Your Work”, several times a year at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, USA. The two day workshop covers a lot of ground relative to the proper way to shoot images of 2D and 3D works of art. The ridiculously simple and cheap set-up in the images below will give you an idea of the concepts of how to use the gray background paper, how to set-up the lighting using a bounce board and how to create the classic gradient using a background sweep.
I use this set-up for small guinomi sake cups all the way up to my larger sculpture pieces, some as tall as 60.” If you understand the principals in the images below, you will be able to exploit this set-up’s flexibility.
I use a Nikon D40 Digital SLR with an 18-55mm lens
I use 2 – 500 watt, GE PhotoFloods (Tungsten), color temp. 3400K
I use a Neutral Gray or Dove Gray PhotoPaper Background (I don’t use a gradient paper, the gradient is created by the light being “cut-off” by the back of the “bounce Board.”)
I shoot on Manual setting at f25 with the exposure set using an 18% Gray Card. Then I disregard my light meter, as it will indicate a different exposure for every different piece, depending its lightness or darkness.
Remember to set you camera’s white balance to 3400k or tungsten or incandescent, whatever your camera uses.
As I think a picture is worth a 1000 words, please view the images below and ask me questions. Please consider subscribing to my blog, that way you will receive emails of other’s questions and my responses.