Here is my unscientific, nontechnical, way to take photos of your acrylic paintings! Feel free to comment with the more technical ways :)
I've read about those technical ways, and I somehow still can't figure it all out! So over the years I've done lots of trial and error, and this is what I come up with... It's not perfect, but works well enough for my needs...
I use a fairly good camera, but not really pricey. Its a Canon PowerShot SX20. I liked it because it has a lot of zoom on it. You can do all the manual adjustments, but I don't know how and just use the auto setting.
So here is what I do:
- Photograph before you put on any final glossy finish. Glare is a big problem to overcome with acrylics. Even outside in open shade I get glare
- No flash (just more glare, washed out color)
- Use a tripod and the delayed setting on the camera. I use 10 second delay. Don't move a muscle until it goes off. This is important because I shoot in the lowest light I can to avoid glare, so you can't have any wiggle at all.
- I set my painting on my easel - raise it up above the lip of the easel with a piece of wood under the canvas. Set against an interior wall as straight up as I can without it falling over. Choose a wall that gets no direct light at all.
- I just use my overhead daylight fluorescent lighting that is in my studio.
- Place your tripod far enough away that you can zoom in just a bit - otherwise the edges of the canvas will look rounded. The whole setup is usually pretty low to the ground - this seems to help with light coming in from any windows.
- Adjust the angle of the camera to get the sides as straight, and bottom and top of the canvas as horizontal as you can.
- Put a piece of white paper behind the painting - but still in the frame so the camera can see it. This helps the camera a LOT with the color but it also helps later when you are adjusting in photoshop. You can use it to correct the "color cast"
- Experiment with your camera settings, I find the "landscape" setting on my camera works best.
- Use your 10 second delay and shoot!
I know this is a total workaround. But I am the workaround queen. :)
The adjusting I need to do in Photoshop elements is usually just to:
- increase the contrast
- correct the color cast - using the white paper as the spot to click on. Some area of the white will usually bring the colors close to the original
That's usually all I have to do to be pretty close!