A lot of what I’ve learned about photography came as a result of photographing other people’s art. The nice thing about photographing art is that it can’t talk back to you. If you have to fidget with the lighting or the camera settings, the art is not going anywhere. That’s the nice part. The hard part about photographing art is that involves some interpretation and a lot of precision. For example, sculptures can be photographed from a multitude of angles, and, even the slightest change in the angle makes a huge difference. The face, for example, can look completely different depending on if I shoot at eye level versus slightly below eye level. A lot of the times, unless the artist is specific in how they want the art photographed, I look at the shape of the face. Just like with people, sculptures have a “good side.”
Another issue to contend with when photographing art is color accuracy. It’s never going to be 100%, but you can get it really close. Lighting has a lot to do with the color, but a lot of the times the color is further corrected in Lightroom or Photoshop. Color accuracy can be pretty tricky because sometimes one color will be spot on, but some of the colors will be off. Most of the time when I’m photographing art, it takes me several shots to get it right. I can usually figure out the best angle to use, but getting the colors and shadows to look right takes a lot of time for me. I’ve had to develop a lot of patience through this process.
I’m glad that I’ve had these assignments because it’s made me a better photographer. Photographing people is a lot of fun, but it’s good to sometimes just work with a sculpture or mannequin to practice different angles because you can learn so much without any pressure. Every photographer has strengths and weaknesses, and one of my strengths is that I know what angles to use to flatter an art piece or a person.