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dptolemy

Tech upgrade advice, please.

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Nikon 5600 with an AF-S 24-120mm lens. The idea is to photograph my wife’s acrylic on canvas paintings and have iPrintfromhome.com make a Giclee print that looks as good as the painting, to send to paying customers.  
I bought a $34 ring light, suitable for zoom meetings, for lighting. ?I shot on Manual at about a 2 foot distance, on a cheap tripod. Settings on Fine, ISO 500, f/22.0 using the light meter.

I  have Photoshop Elements 2020 on my 2013 iMac to do adjustments. The photos looked great on my calibrated screen, but the 16x20” print I had done came back out of focus and with no contrast, very dull  (the file was 30MB at 300 ppi).   
So there it is.  I am shooting in my apartment, there is ambient light coming in the window, but this is the best I can do with no studio.

Thanks for your suggestions.

 

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On 4/16/2021 at 8:31 PM, dptolemy said:

f/22.0 using the light meter.

Lenses really do not perform well at f/22!

f/11 or even f/8 should be more than enough. Cut your ISO to 100 as well. It's a painting, it's not going to get "tired." :)

Can you post one of the images so I really can get a visual? Even if they are crappy.

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91671124_WakeupCall-1.thumb.jpg.db2d522bb5fbd002c2a33e3e59f1237e.jpg

This is the photo with the specs I sent you.

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OK, that's what I thought we were talking about. A few things come to mind:

  1. You will need two lights at a 45º Angle on each side of your camera. At this point, I'm thinking of Continuous Lights.
     
  2. You will need two Softboxes as Modifiers. Sizes...either a 36" x 48" or maybe a 24" x 32". Personally, I'd get a pair of Westcott 3x4 Silver Softboxes or a pair of white  Impact 36" x 48" Softboxes. The difference between the "White" and "Silver" is the Silver ones have a bit more contrast / punch and they can take a higher temperature of continuous lights. Which is a good thing, since we don't want to start any fires. :D
     
  3. Speaking of Continuous Lights, the ones I was going to recommend are no longer made. While you could use a light like a pair of Einstein 640 lights on a stand, I'm thinking a kit like this might be more something you are after? It comes with stands and lights, you'd just need matching Softbox Modifers, which I linked to above.
     
  4. Your camera is fine. Shoot at a the base ISO, and your model is probably around ISO 100. Shoot at f/8 or f/11. Do not use f/22. What happens is when shooting at f/22, you get something called Diffraction, which in layman's terms, you take a image quality hit. I know you are thinking of a "Deep Depth-of-Field," but it's more important to have the artwork as flat as possible against the wall, not leaning slightly off the wall due to a hook & wire AND have the camera dead straight on when pointed at the painting. You do not want any "angles" from either the Artwork or Camera.
     
  5. You will need a nice and robust tripod, complete with steady ball head. Here is one that shouldn't break the bank the Manfrotto MK055XPRO3-BHQ2 Tripod with Ballhead. Since you aren't lugging that tripod around, it will work really well and not break the bank. The tripod that I'm looking at buying is over $1100, and that's just for the legs! So $400 is very reasonable for a sturdy tripod with a Ball Head. Plus the model's center column switches to a horizontal mode, which is great for table-top photography.
     
  6. Oh, buy the Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Trigger for your D5600. Camera Shake is the enemy.
     
  7. Using f/8 or f/11 and a long-ish exposure will help things. Don't be afraid of 1/60th or 1/30 for a Shutter Speed. You are mounted on a tripod, so this will work for you.
     
  8. Your 24-120 will probably work really well. That said, you might want to invest in a Nikon 105VR f/2.8G Macro Lens, but that can come later.

Final thoughts, at least for this comment box...

COVID-19 HAS REALLY SCREWED UP A LOT OF THINGS. I have never seen so many things on back-order or just plain discontinued in the lighting dept. I guess with Photographers out of work, and nobody was buying, Westcott and other Lighting Companies orphaned a lot of their products and modifiers. So this process of finding the best lights that work for you might take a few months.

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Wonderful, Brian!

Thanks so much, I’ll get straight to work. 

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