How to photograph sculptures

by F. Haberey

A) Beginners

  1. Use a bended backdrop (cardboard), not too dark.
    Avoid distracting background, as shown to the right.
  2. Do not use direct flash. If you use flashlight: bounce it against a white wall.
  3. Use a sturdy tripod, especially if there is not enough light.
  4. If it is too dark insight, go on the balcony/terrasse.


B) Digital Camera

A digital camera allows you to see the result moments later on your screen.

  1. if you have a sharp picture with all details,
  2. if the background is as mentioned above,
  3. that you did not cut parts of the sculpture.
If this is ok, edit your picture by using a photo-editor software like PhotoShop, PhotoImpact, PhotoFinish etc. If you want to send the photo via Internet, reduce the size well below 1MB (=1000 kB), 300kB will be adaequate for most cases.

C) Perspective

Start with the central view!

D) Signatures & stamps & marks

  1. For details you need a macro-focusing on your camera.
  2. If you have no macro-setting: make a photo from a distance of about 1m and cutting the detail later.
    If you go too near you will get blurry pictures which are useless.
  3. As a stopgap and if the form of the sculpture is suitable: try to use your scanner (right).


E) outdoor

  • broad daylight is fine, but avoid harsh sunlight.
  • If the background disturbs: wait for darkness and use flashlight. see here!
  • Outdoor

  • F) Have fun!

    • The tips above are suggestions, only.
    • Make your own experiments, find your own style.
      F.e.: If you like a more dramatic picture: use light from below and colored background.
    • And: It is not necessary to have an expensive equipment.

    G) More

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