Photographing Little Watercolors
I photograph my little watercolor paintings on an open book. This could actually apply to anything small. It gives you an idea of scale, it's on an open book, it cannot be very big. I chose my Swedish Pippi Longstocking book because I did not want people to get caught up in reading the words on the page.
I do not have a big fancy photography set up. A window, a book, a canvas panel, a trash can and my digital SLR camera. My key ingredient is the South facing window. The best pictures are taken on an overcast day or a bright rainy day. Bright sunshine washes the pictures and creates too much drama and harsh shadows. Overcast and rain bring out the colors of the artwork with very little photo editing.
I also prefer to take my photographs in the late afternoon. The time of day changes with the seasons. In the winter time between 3 and 4 pm works great in my part of the world. As the days get longer I can stretch the time from 3 to 6:30 pm.
I love the open book, something about the black letters and white background of the book helps the camera to automatically adjust the settings. I set my camera to No Flash and zoom all the way in. By doing this, I can also achieve some of the effects you would get on the macro setting, but the flash does not pop on.
I needed to find something that was just below the height of the window sill and wouldn't you know it my little studio trash can works perfect. Other heights, had me struggling with the shadows of the window frame. The table top is one of the many canvas panels I use for taping down my paper when I create watercolor paintings. Place the open book on top and voila, perfect little backdrop with a super quick and easy set up. The height is perfect, just below the sill the light shines down onto the open book and lights up my work nicely. I am able to easily take 4 or 5 photos at interesting angles and also straight down with ease.
I love the variety of angles, steep angles, twisted angles. Variety is the spice of life!
Now you know the secret to my Etsy Shop photos.