There are different ways to create copies of paintings, one of which is photographing paintings. The appropriate method for creating a copy of a painting depends on the reason for copying it: for example, when an artist wants to sell copies of a painting they have created, or when there is demand for reproductions of certain paintings (e.g. works by famous artists) for catalogues (e.g. for an exhibition or for sale), for creating a larger/smaller copy of the work, etc.
Different methods are used to create copies of photographs. As the term "photographing paintings" suggests, the central tool in this process is a camera, which today of course means a digital camera. However, a high-quality camera and perfect operation are just one part of the puzzle. Professional photographing of paintings requires a range of tools and a variety of skills, and often requires a team of trained professionals, each with a defined role suited to their area of expertise - lighting, photographer, technical support, image processing software operator, etc. - under the direction of a project manager who is familiar with the various aspects of the project, including the paintings and their copyright status.
A reproduction is an highly accurate copy of an original painting. There are various methods for reproducing paintings, ranging from manual copying to scanning and printing, each of which can be applied more or less professionally.
Today, any home printer is also a scanner, so it is possible to lay a painting of a size that allows it on the scanner, press a button, and receive a colorful copy. However, this copy will typically be of low quality, with inaccurate colors, distortions, and a reduced resolution (meaning it will appear pixelated or blurry when viewed up close).
Artists, curators, printers, and owners of valuable works of art may be interested in creating accurate reproductions of paintings, drawings, and even old photographs taken before the digital era on medium or large format film. We are able to provide high-quality reproduction services that meet the needs and requirements of these customers. We use advanced equipment and technologies to scan, photograph, and print paintings and other works of art, including those with a high level of detail or delicate colors, and we ensure that the reproduction process is carried out with the utmost care and professionalism.
Scan or Photograph
There are cases where it is completely clear which method is suitable for reproducing a work of art, but sometimes there are several possible options to choose from. As professionals, we are often required to help our customers decide whether to begin the process with a digital photograph of the painting or to use a scanner to create a digital file that will serve as the basis for further reproduction.
The decision to photograph or scan is based on a number of factors:
The first, but not necessarily the most important, is the size of the work - whether it is large enough to be scanned or not. (We scan works of art up to a size of 60/40 cm.) Above this size, we photograph the work. Another size-related factor is whether the work can be brought to our studio or if our team needs to go to the work.
The second and most important factor is the nature of the work - that is, whether it is an original painting on canvas or any other material painted with acrylic or oil colors, which are typically "three-dimensional"; or a drawing in pencil or ink on paper with a "flat" character. When producing a reproduction of a three-dimensional work, it is generally advisable to photograph it, while a flat work can usually be scanned.
Another factor to consider is the level of detail in the work. A photograph can usually capture a higher level of detail than a scan, but this also depends on the quality of the camera and the lighting during the photo shoot. In addition, the type of reproduction desired - whether a digital file, a print, or another format - also affects the choice of method.
In summary, the decision whether to photograph or scan a work of art depends on a combination of its size, nature, level of detail, and the desired reproduction format. As professionals, we will be happy to assist you in making the best choice for your needs.
A brief about the technology
We all know how to operate a digital camera, but only professionals know how to use a digital camera for the purpose of reproducing paintings. Firstly, the cameras themselves are not only the highest quality (and most expensive), but are also known to be suitable for painting photography. Around the photographer and the camera there is a complete set of equipment that is involved in the reproduction process; various lighting accessories are used, the creation must be placed optimally for photography, the gray, colored and white boards help to achieve alignments that ensure maximum matching between colors and white balance in the original and reproduction, use of an external screen, production of histogram (graphic representation of the number of pixels in the image for identifying detail loss) and more.
The use of a camera allows for the creation of a digital file in which information is stored to potentially provide high-quality reproduction, but there is still a long way from this stage to receiving a physical and reliable copy of the original. The next step after shooting is to process the file using image processing software, which requires a lot of knowledge, experience, creativity, and above all, a trained and sensitive eye for detecting color, tone, and sub-tone errors. Consideration must be given to the differences between how the painting appears on a screen and the result that will be obtained upon printing. For this, we do not compromise and work with calibrated and color-managed graphics monitors at an international standard level. In addition, we work with color profiles (ICC Profiles) that we create ourselves in the studio with the most modern and innovative equipment available today on the market. All of this is done with additional supervision from the "Israeli Standard for Color.
The process is not yet complete
Even after preparing the final file for printing, the reproduction process is not yet complete. At this stage, test prints (tests) are made on the final media (paper or canvas) on which the creation will be printed. Sometimes a number of tests are required in order to achieve the desired result. We are able to achieve results that are as close as possible to the goal of 100% accuracy and authenticity to the original. Only a trained eye will notice differences between the original and the copy.
In summary, it may not seem difficult to find someone offering painting photography services through an art camera, but when you come to choose who is appropriate to entrust the work to, it is advisable to ensure that you are dealing with experienced professionals who control every stage of the process and have the most advanced equipment at their disposal.