Sunday, April 21, 2013

Workshop: "How To Photograph Your Artwork"

“Sangre de Cristo”
Tea Color 8x10” version of an original photograph
© Photographer John Benigno
(Published here with permission)

Image shown above is of the Sangre de Cristo Church in Curateles, New Mexico.  It is one of the images from John’s Adobe Church Project. 

Let me be the first to express my thanks to Photographer John Benigno!
The fact that I am an active, paid-up member of Tri-State Artists Equity, allowed me to attend and participate (at no cost) in this past weekend's very informative workshop: "How to Photograph Your Artwork".

John covered many facts specifically targeted to us artists who want to photographic our artwork ourselves. Paying professional photographers to capture digital images of our work is a fine idea, but is not always affordable to artists.

All attendees received a handout which was a hard copy outline of his talk, so no time needed to be spent scribbling notes for later reference.

Here are some of the covered points he covered:
-Types of cameras and lenses
-Using a tripod
-Sharpness (Depth of field) 
        Did you know using the middle F-Stop on your camera, like F8, is best to get the sharpest result?
-Lighting (indoor)
-Photographing Outside (things to be aware of which affect picture quality)
-White Balance (has always been a mystery to me!)
-Shooting through glass
-Saving/resizing  digital files and some basic editing in PhotoShop

John’s explanations were clear, logical and to the point, proceeding in a rational order.

What I got out of it:
I did have a couple photography courses (one color and one black-and-white) in the pre-digital days of my fine arts college education.  But, in the area of photographing my own artwork, I am basically self-taught. I learn as needed, as time permits, traveling along this art-making path.

I have noticed that teaching oneself inevitably ends in an incomplete education containing holes. In other words, I attended this workshop knowing some basic knowledge but also being humble and honest enough with myself, to admit that there was still much that I could learn. John filled many of those holes!

And this visual artist was delighted to see that he provided visual props to aid in learning! He had setup in the front of the room a piece of artwork, a tripod, camera, and two lights one on each side. (Did you know that if you want to capture more of your textured surfaces on a flat piece – like a very thick application of paint on canvas – one easy way to do that is to simply turn off one light or to move one light further away from the subject?)

The workshop was well-attended in the meeting room at Ludington library. It was held in their main meeting room, a large room equipped with ample tables and chairs, large screen and ceiling-mounted projector (which John utilized for the PhotoShop/computer part of the class.) This allowed all to clearly see exactly how/what to do while working on the files on the computer.

 I am looking forward to attending more workshops like this in the future. What a great benefit of membership!

For more info:
If you live in the Philadelphia Tri-State region, and are not a Tri-State Artists Equity member, but would like to be, you can learn more and find a membership application on the website:

If you want to learn more about John Benigno, visit his website:

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