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Digital Studio - equipment

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
What equipment are you using for your Digital Photo studio?

Camera, etc.

I've found lots of info online, but would like to narrow it down to some tried and true experience with the equipment and your opinions.

Thanks!

Elaine
 
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DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
Elaine,

What do you plan to do in your Digital Photo Studio?

The kind of studio and size will dedicate the equipment required.

Portraits? Groups? Copy work for restoration or Fine art repro?

As in framing you need professional quality equipment to do professional work.

Doug
 

more_so

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Epson 9880 printer for really big prints. Or whatever, just make sure it's big because if it isn't your very first job is guaranteed to require really big prints and farming them out would have paid for the printer.

20+ megapixel digital camera. Or a really good, low-noise, CMOS sensor'd, 12 megapixel model.

Prime lenses if sharpness and contrast are important to you, otherwise one or two top of the line zooms.

Photoshop CS4 on 64bit Vista with 16gb memory, piddly 32 bit Macs don't cut it for really big files and will lead to chronic prissiness.

A really nice monitor like a NEC MultiSync 2690. In a location with consistent lighting that does not change from day to night.

Lots of sheets of 3/16", 4 x 8 foot foamcore with binder clips to hold prints for drying and storage.

Fuji HVLP gun for coating canvas with Glamour II.

A Spyder3 puck system for generating printer profiles.

A Gretag EyeOne puck for calibrating the monitor. With NEC's Spectraview II calibration software.

A ton of framing equipment and supplies.

An account at the media and ink supplier.

Lights if you're into that stuff. High CRI, high frequency T8 fluorescent fixtures can do wonders these days for almost no money.

A determination not to over sharpen your prints.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Elaine, we have a digital lab rather than a studio but the essentials are pretty much the same except we use a scanner rather than a camera to capture images. I’m not a photographer so I’m on thin ice here but the photographers I know insist that 300 ppi is the minimum resolution for quality photographs which eliminates 20 mega pixel cameras from serious photographic work. A 16 x 20 image at 300 ppi would require a 28 mega pixel camera. My guess is that a serious studio would need a medium format triple shot camera. Something like the Hasselblad H3D –II (capable of close to 39 mega pixels) whose cost is somewhere around $30,000. It’s all about resolution. Most offset printers require around 250 to 300 ppi for commercial work.

You can take a tour of our digital lab at fwfo.net. Go to the backroom gallery. As an interesting aside, we paid for most of the lab scanning lumber and tiles for the flooring industry. We can scan sections of lumber 16” wide by 8’ long). The wood files were used to make flooring and even furniture.

Our Cruse scanner can easily make 130 mega pixel 360 mb files. The best we can do for a painting 36 x 48 is 274ppi or 130 mega pixels. We can actually go higher but the painting has to be close to perfectly flat (off the stretcher and on our 36 x 48 vacuum table.

For a studio, my guess is that lighting will be the biggest problem. Profiling is next to impossible unless the lighting is controlled constant from day to day. The commercial digital studios I’ve seen are very expensive. Portrait studios should be fairly inexpensive since color control (and light control) shouldn’t be too big a problem. The problem occurs in trying to make a faithful reproduction (in our case of wood and art). With photography, there really isn’t an original; the aim is a good image, not a copy of something.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yes Elaine. I was told that if I ever wanted to get "serious" about my photography I would never be able to use my D80 as no real photographer would ever use a camera like that. I'm making much more than some that told me that with that very camera. Most of us didn't start day one with $50,000+ as the suggestions seems to be for you. I still don't have any where near that type of investment but I wouldn't want to live without what I have – although I could.

I'm moving more and more into digital imaging and probably only have a 2 year head start on you. I may have some more realistic suggestions if I knew what you're getting into. I think I know what you mean by "digital photo studio" but that is a bit generic. Like Doug, I'd like to know more about what you would like to do with your digital photo studio?
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have a 4x5 Cambo 45 Ultima camera with a Betterlight Super 6K-HS scanback. This will give me around 140Mb files right from the camera. I use Fluorescent studio lights and I have a G5 with dual quad core processors and an Epson 9900 printer.

Of course, it's all about the toys!!:shutup:

So far the camera system has cost me about $10,000 as I bought everything used. A new betterlight scanback would cost almost $15,000 before getting the camera.

I also have a high end flatbed scanner for the smaller stuff.
 

more_so

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
There's a lot more to a good print than the camera used. #1 is good lighting followed by proper exposure and perfect focus. And you need a great lens, which is too bad since most zooms don't get out of the mediocre boat. And there are good reasons that there are so many books written on how to make a decent print. Making a good print requires as much learning as how to take a picture in the first place.

While it's nice to have a medium format digital camera in the 39mp range, a 12mp camera can record a superb image when technique is perfect. That requires excellent lighting, perfect exposure, perfect focus, and an f-stop around f8 so as not to limit sharpness from diffraction effects. But if I was shooting a cover for a national magazine I'd prefer the 39mp medium format camera, there's no question the image would look better assuming perfect technique for both cameras.

I shoot landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture with a 12mp camera. I use a technique called stitching were I shoot side by side, overlapping images and combine them using software. Sometimes I shoot 2 or 3 stacked up rows of these overlapping images. The resulting image can easily reach 500mp, sharp enough for any imaginable purpose which if I'm lucky is huge images in hotels, boardrooms, etc. Not that hard to do. However those 1.5 to 3 gigabyte files need a 64 bit operating system to preserve my sanity.

BTW my D2X is in the shop, possibly forever. In the meantime I have been using a Nikon D5000 which is in the D80/D90 class. Not bad at all. But it's got a tighter set of limitations than the D2X, especially in the digital noise department which puts serious limits on post processing of marginal images. That's pretty much the story for all the lower end DSLR's, there is more image noise than the high end models and that can hurt you when your image file is less than technically perfect. Next camera will probably be Nikon's first realistically priced 24mp.

This is the best stitching software as of today, comes in a 64 bit version if you need it for those huge files...
http://www.ptgui.com/
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
More so, I bought the gigapan stitcher and modified it to take my Canon S2. I don't use it much but man it makes it fun to take pans like you mention.

My number one selling image was one I took with that S2 and a tripod.

I've seen that stitching software before and there is some talk about it on the gigapan forums. What does it offer over the more recent versions of photoshop? I love what photoshop had done with photomerge so much that I even let photoshop merge my images to HDR. Dynamic HDR nor Photomatix can touch photoshop in mergining images.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
No, Jerry, you don’t need a $30k camera to take snap shots, but you do if you’re considering opening a commercial (dare I say “professional”) studio/lab. I deal frequently with clients who won’t accept anything less than 300ppi files. How are you going to produce a 300 ppi file at 16x20 with an 80D? Some agents want even larger files in case the image is needed for a larger print. We just took in an architectural rendering from an advertising agency whose work order reads 18 x 24 at 300 ppi. If the image isn’t 18 x 24 at 300ppi they aren’t going to pay. As long as the final output is small (9 x 12 or smaller) a 10 mega Pixel camera would work but as someone has already mentioned, the first job you get will be for a 20 x 24 poster
A good digital lab will cost several multiples of $50k. Software is expensive. Monaco Profiler Platinum goes for around $3k. This stuff is expensive.
Framah, the Cambo with a Super 6K back will produce files just under 50 mega pixels.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Once again the contradiction is shocking. Your framing clients don't demand the best and you have no desire to sell at that level. Some do and you provide that service for them as you are able. Yet when it comes to digital imaging you have the best and suggest that is the only way to opperate.

I also find it interesting that we haven't been offered a definition of what a "digital photo lab" is and yet you know exactly what one needs to be a "professional". I honestly have no idea if Elaine is talking about a digital lab or a photo studio. It doesn't matter because I would disagree with you either way. I would agree that all those gadgets would certainly set you apart as the most verstital but isn't necessary to do any and all work. What if she is talking about only photo restoration. Does she need a Cruse scanner to do that? Does a digital lab NEED to be able to scan a 2x4x10 piece of wood to be “professional”?

I was given similar foolish advice about zillion dollar equipment when I was considering photography. I'm glad I ignored it and my wife's checking account is also. Today I have managed to scrape together a rather impressive mound of gear. It does make my job easier. Still my favorite photographer swears by 2 or 3 speedlights for his lighting rig. I must be much more professional than him. He will never make it in that industry.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Not so contradictory, Jay. In our framing business we use pretty much state of the art tools so that we can offer our customers outstanding products. We buy in bulk to keep prices low, not to lower quality. There is a huge difference between low cost and low quality (a distinction you don’t seem to be able to grasp). There is also a huge difference between low cost and poor service. The quality of our framing equipment and its redundant nature (every major machine has at least two backups) provides our customers with reliable, outstanding service, frequently same day service. Frankly, I think your reference to our low quality a disingenuous. And, yes, we offer a wide array of quality materials up to and including precious leafed closed corner frames as well as a wide array of customer services that go from basic frame making to custom milling and finishing moulding. Nothing cheap or low quality about that. We’d like to think that our attention to providing our customers with a wide choice of materials and a very well equipped and staffed shop are prime reasons we’ve been so successful and our business ventures have been and still are very successful. We’ve been in digital imaging for over 7 years, in framing for 31 and cabinet making for 15. I doubt that any of our customers consider our work cheap or of low quality; that’s probably the reason of our longevity. I imagine we do as much expensive framing as most grumblers, but we also do vastly more value framing for appreciative customers. Take a look at the Frame Works’ examples of ’09 closed corner jobs. Those are not only leafed closed corner frames, they’re big ones averaging around $1800. The fact that we sell (and buy) ssf glass by the ton shouldn’t obscure the fact that we sell a hack of a lot of coated glass. We wouldn’t be making the kind of money we make on those high end items, though. The money is in value framing.

As to our digital imaging “gadgets”, we feel about them the same way we feel about our framing gadgets. Our customers deserve the best we can afford; they certainly deserve gadgets capable of meeting imaging industry standards. As to photo restoration (we do that and are very good at it) a large format scanner is very necessary, even a Cruse Scanner. We’ve scanned and restored images that were too fragile to be scanned on a flatbed scanner and, believe me, our customers appreciated that ability. What is a photo restorer to do when a client brings in a 24 x 30 photograph to be restored if he doesn’t at least have a wide format scanner (most wide format scanners can’t handle either canvases or fragile pieces; our Cruse can and that’s an example of our philosophy of providing our clients with the best possible service)? No, a digital lab doesn’t need to be able to scan large pieces of wood; most can’t. At the time we were one of about 5 on the North American Continent who could. It worked for us, though. A digital lab should be able to conform to industry wide ICC color practices which imply the ability to profile its and its customers’ printers, its scanners, its monitors. Every scan we make comes with a profile of the scanner on which we made it. I don’t think it’s so much a question of running a professional (a loosely used term) lab as to whether or not we are playing at it or doing it seriously. I think all imaging labs have gadgets on the level with ours. The bit about lumber scanning was meant as an interesting aside, perhaps indicative of the wide breadth of possibilities of digital imaging. We have clients from Main to Florida who seem to appreciate our gadgets and are glad to have access to them. In fact we’ve done emergency work for grumblers who ruined a poster and couldn’t find a replacement. We scanned it, repaired the digital image, and reprinted. Something beyond the realm of someone playing at digital imaging with a prosumer camera but well within our capacity. Since the Cruse wide format scanner made the scanning a matter of a few minutes, we were able to do it as a professional curtsey. As with our framing customers, we have quite a few digital imaging clients who want value services: raw scans, flat bed scans and we provide them. The fact is that digital is a much more demanding service than framing and requires a much more substantial investment in both capital and knowledge.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have a hard time distinguishing what is on point and what is advertisement.

Perhaps we will just table this discussion until we know what the topic actually is. Either way I'm sure we will disagree. I do both photography and digital imaging. I do both professionally. I do have limitations. I've actually referred people to you and others when the scope of the work was beyond my ability or time constraints. I probably won't again because I fear that you would conspire against me to a client because I lack the equivilent ability. You don't seem to be able to grasp that one can do a job with out the most and best equipment in the world. It's impractical to start from that level and irresponsible to suggest.

If it ends the confusion let me just submit that you are infinitely more professional than anybody who has ever been or will ever be on this board and are the measure to which everybody should dream to reach on all levels of framing, digital imaging, wood working, website design, and all things I have failed to mention. So now that we have that rock solid fact in place maybe open discussion can pursue once we understand the question.

Who knows maybe when we know what Elaine is planning you can inform her how one with a 30 year old business and a mountain of money would do it and I will give her a realisitc suggestion from the real world. We can be a team like Batman and Robin. I'll get my tights.

Now for my advertisement, I am working on a rather large project reproducing art that was printed before and sold out. The artist's family wants to release smaller open edition prints but removing the paintings from their current location is out of the question. I'm capturing them on location. Get your cruse scanner to do that! Don't ask what I'm printing them on. You'll stroke out.
 

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Settle Down...Settle Down... :)

Here are my thoughts, and I am really trying to do my research upfront before buying anything.

I have a lot of artists who like their work scanned and kept digitally for reproduction at a later date and in different sizes (right now I farm it out and its becoming difficult to get time with the gentleman that does it - older, semi-retired) - I think this will add significantly to my shop sales.

I've thought about photo restoration for those who don't want the cost of having them restored at the local conservator.

I work PT for an advertising agency and we get requests for product shots for their catalogs and also their websites. I see a connection to the photo studio for some of the following:

We just launched www.bluelightwebonline.com for more cost effective websites and one of the alacart items is product shots with photshopped pics for the website.

We also get requests for designed roll up displays, and smaller signage and other smaller quantity reproductions.

This is just a small start to what I see this studo or lab performing. I would like to turn the "no" into "yes" sales that I actually benefit from financially and also for longer term framing and client acquisition.

That's my short list, and I'm sure I will come up wtih more as I research the project.

So, what do you think??

Thanks!

Elaine
 

more_so

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
As always for start ups, first line up a friendly client, then quick-like-a-bunny go out and buy all the stuff you need to do that specific job. Has always worked for me. Client first, tools of production second.

Saves a lot of headaches. But you gotta be a good salesperson and if you don't know the client personally, then you need a lot of exposure in a related business.
 

Jerry Ervin

PFG, Picture Framing God
For catalog product shots here is a good place to start for a how to...

http://www.prophotolife.com/video-library/

A Nikon D80 or D90 will serve you well. Or the Canon equivalent.

I have a pdf on image capture lighting on my other laptop I can hook you up with if you need it. I printed it out and it has been invaluable.

At a minimum you would need this type of lighting for image capture.

http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CF0502K1/?a=CJ01&t=CJ01/%3f

A good green screen to go behind the work makes it easier in Photoshop but I use white or black because that is the backdrops I use for portrait work.

I am doing so many now that I really need a dedicated space to do it in, if you have that, you are ahead of the game.
 

UzZx32QU

Administrator
Staff member
Let me help, :bdh: You do not need 300dpi on a large photo. What make you even think that you do. Portraits can be done with lots less. Advertising or a few special jobs might require it but 99.9% of jobs going to a photo frame store do not. I've been doing fantastic 16x20 with a Nikon D2hs which is only 4 meg sensor. Most jobs are no larger than a 11 x 14 anyway.
My setup include a Nikon D2hs, 70 - 200 AFS VR f2.8, wireless back so photo is instantly displayed for client on a 24 inch monitor. When they see what they want it's click, click, click and a 17 x 17 sheet comes out my Epson 4000 with 1-8x10, 2-5x7, 10-wallets in 7 minutes. The basic package is only $39.95, 29.95 for a second or more sheets printed at the same time.

framer
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
For a start, dpi has nothing to do with input resolution; it refers to printer output and refers to the number of dots a printer can lay down in an inch. Pixels per inch (ppi) refers to input resolution, i.e. the number of samples per inch that the input device makes. I have no idea what resolution is needed for casual photographs but my guess is that "much less" than 300ppi falls into the snapshot range.When drum scanning, I've seen photographers argue that 300 ppi at output size is the bare minimum and I've been asked for more.

The images your clients are seeing on the monitor are something like 84ppi, depending on the monitor, which is all it can display. Resolution is a thorny issue, especially in portraits because generally there isn't that much to resolve, but there is another issue and it involves colors and the transitions between hues. The greater the resolution, the more subtle the transitions can be. How realistically a photographer wants colors to be represented is related to the input resolution of the image. There comes a point where the transitions can be easily seen and the effect is referred to as posterization. There is a wide area between the resolution needed for a printer to render the transitions smoothly (to an expert's eye and I've seen them using loupes)and obvious posterization. My limited experience over the last 7 years is that the industry standard is 300ppi for photographs, less for art reproduction based on possible detail but ignoring the color issue.

I've never had a commercial client (advertising agency, lithorgapher, art agent) ask for less than 300ppi but have some ask for more.

[An aside]FWIW, inkjet printers don't need resolutions as high as offset lithography presses do because their dithering patterns and variable dot sizes produce images that are close to continuous tones but they do need fairly high resolutions. I've seen a lower limit of 180ppi argued and I've seen 200ppi as the minimum. I've come to the conclusion that resolution requests are based on the requirements of half tone screening used by offset lithography printers who most frequently used screens of 150 lpi and asked for double the resolution as a rule of thumb. It really doesn't matter where the client gets his request of 300 ppi because he gets what he wants.

Finally, other than Foveon cameras, all digital cameras of use some kind of color filter array, most commonly a Bayer filter, and don't measure the color of each pixel but rather they sample each pixel's red, green or blue color and guess the rest. They measure about 25% of red and blue and 50% of green. (human eyes are most sensitive to green). The algorithms are sophisticated but they only produce estimations, not reality. Does that really matter? It does to some artists who insist on either triple shot cameras or scanners that sample the red, green, and blue of each pixel.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Warren, that's what is so nice about the Betterlight scanback. It scans distinct lines of R, G, and B at one pixel wide by the height of the scan. No Bayer filters or algorithms to estimate what the colors are. It is the same as putting a small flatbed scanner onto your camera. But you probably already know that.:shutup:
I'm still learning about it and am having fun at the same time.

I also learn from your posts, as well.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have been thinking about this because I'm not sure I still understand but maybe?

I do some product. It's my favorite type of photography because you get all the time in the world to arrange lighting and experiment and such. Its unlike portraiture where you're dealing with people who are impatient and I have to work quickly and professionally. I'd rather work slowly and play.

As a bare minimum for shooting product, I'd want a background. If you get a medium gray you get 3 backdrops for the price of one. You can overexpose it for solid white, underexpose it for complete black or expose it properly for a nice gray. For small things I use matboards. I've used textured boards from MDC and suedes and of coarse you have all kinds of colors.

You will obviously need a camera. Some have made some good suggestions and I agree. A piece of junk “prosumer” camera would do great (I use a D80). I have 5 lenses now and almost always shoot product with a very old 60mm 2.8 prime lens. It's razor sharp.

Lighting you would need 2 ,3 would be better, strobes. You could get by with 2 and a reflector which I use sometimes instead of a strobe on purpose. You will want at least a 24” softbox. When you're shooting product you want the lighting as large and as close to the item as possible for a really soft light with no strong shadows. Finally I'd top that rig off with a good tripod and a shutter release and a white balance card for color correction should have you on your way.

This rig will also do a good job getting started with art reproduction. When I compare scanned vs. photographed art, some looks better scanned and some looks better photographed. Mostly though the lighting will determine which looks most like the origional. With 2 or 3 strobes you will have a lot of control over the lighting.

For displays and small signage a small 24” printer would work well for ya. Get bigger if you can swing it. To run the printer and photoshop you'd need a reasonably beefy pc with photoshop. You may already have that? A good monitor and some type of profiler will help quite a bit.

Toss in a good scanner to all that gear and your also set up for photo restorations.

It sounds like you have a lot going on there. Good luck!
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Framah, we considered a Better Light back and a medium format camera and a copy stand, but with no background in photography we quickly realized that it would be over our heads. First, we knew nothing about lighting (and still don't), the focusing was going to be a hassle and the Better Light instructions were written for experienced photographers. We decided to go the scanner route. Do you have polarizing filters for your lights and camera? They are essential in scanning oils, especially varnished oils because of specular highlights caused by the varying planes and varnish or paint with any gloss. Profilling was going to be another problem because once the profile has been made, nothing can change except f stop and focus. And then there is the problem of white balance. It would have been a daunting task. It took the Cruse technician 16 hours to establish white balances for the Cruse at different resolutions (resolution is determined by the height of the scanning head above the table surface). He used a piece of white photo paper 38x50 on the vacuum table and the scanner scanned the whole surface at each of 30 predetermined resolutions and interpolated what was in between. It took a day to get the scanning tables, the lense and the scanning sensor in the exact same plane. Once that was established, the scanner can't be moved. (Sorry, Jay if this sounds like an advertisement for Cruse GmbH). The problems of a medium format camera and scanning back were just too daunting for non-photographers.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Jay, how big is that painting you're photographing in situ? Why not just get ahold of the original file? Take along polarizing filters.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Warren, I would love to come down and see all of your great toys!!:thumbsup:

My next purchase this month are the polarizing filters for the lenses and the lights. My art shoots so far have been pastels and water colors but I just know that if I don't get those filters soon, someone will come in with a bunch of oils to shoot. Murphys law and all that!!
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jay, how big is that painting you're photographing in situ?
What?

Why not just get ahold of the original file?
From the paintings? The file never existed. They were printed from plates that are long destroyed.

Take along polarizing filters.
I have those in my bag of goodies.

Framah, they are handy to have. But unless the oils are shiney AND very textured, reflected light isn't a huge problem. Plus with your lights you have alot of control to move them around to minimize the glare.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Jay,you didn't say how big the painting was.

Don't be fooled by specular highlights; they're there. Sometimes not obvious except as a slight blurring that you wouldn't notice unless you're looking for them. Lighting can't be adjusted because there are an infinite number of planes that are reflecting. Believe me, there doesn't need to be a lot of gloss, either.Slight gloss oil paints will do it. I know from bitter experience. We did a scan for Photo Pros in High Point. I thought the painting was dead flat. The file looked great to me but was _rejected_ by them. A very close examination of the image showed slight bluuring in a few places; this was 300ppi viewed at 100% in PhotoShop. We had to rescan and pay the shipping and insurance to get the canvas back down here. Happily, they didn't hold a grudge and we've done years of business with them.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Framah, we'd love to have you visit. There are no toys, all this stuff is essential; I've told Toni that time and again.

I know Main's a big state but we've done some work for Mark Launer up your way. One of our more demanding clients. His publishers insisted on 300ppi for offset printing. They also wanted a CMYFKfile. I said there's no difference between the RGB file I sent and a CMYK file. All that went out with color separations. They said, but the colors change when we change your file to CMYK. I said, of course, our printer can print more colors than a 4 color offset press. We sent 'em a proof so they could decide how to handle the out of gamut colors.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Jay, the original, how big are(?) the originals(?)? A 24x36 at 100ppi is 8.6mega pixels, 26Mb.
Ok if you say so. Is this a question and if so what is the question?

Also Framah, before you get a polarizing filter, you can polarize your light source with a film (gels) that is pretty inexpensive. I've not done it but have considered it since another photographer recommended polarizing both your lights and your lens.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Yes, Jay, that was a question; I can't tell if there is one original or more that one. I just wanted to know the original sizes or size.

You need two filters, one for the lighting and another for the lens. The filters cut the amount of light in half.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
Yes, Jay, that was a question; I can't tell if there is one original or more that one. I just wanted to know the original sizes or size.
Oh various sizes 11x14ish upto 24x36ish. When the project it done we will be reproducing about 40 paintings.


There are about 40 in all. We are capturing, correcting, and printing 4 at a time. I'm distributing them as well. I'm working on an update for my website to buy them online. I can link ya when that happens. The prints are all small 11x14isn (the actual dimensions escape me right now). The originals are various sizes.

Filters do reduce light but since the paintings aren't moving, exposing them isn't a problem.
 

Warren Tucker

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I've got it now, Jay. I didn't realize there were 40 originals. That's a nightmare job if you can't remove the originals. Color correction is hard enough if you have the original in the shop; maybe impossible on location. My charge to do it in situ would probably persuade the owners to let me bring the originals in.

I don't even know how to price the job; time and travel; it could run into $50,000. You've got to compare the original to the proof. Maybe you could agree to merely come close.

The best profiling and capture in the world won't get closer than 85 to 90% correct. When I'm lucky, I get a final proof after 4 tries: print and compare. And frequently I can go to 20 tries. It can be like beating your head against a wall.

I guess it all depends on how close they want the match. I guess I'm getting old but that's not a job I'd look forward to. Most of my clients aren't interested in making reproductions as much as wanting an accurate record of the original so color correction is important and it's hard. I get stuff all the time that other people haven't been able to correct and I know this is hard work.

That's all I've been doing yesterday and today. Print, compare, correct. I get to do snatches on the grumble waiting for a proof to come out of the printer.
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
I use the same lights in a dark room and have the white balance on my camera saved for that setup. That eliminates a lot of correction time. I had to make 2 trips with 3 different prints to nail the first batch. The second batch went much quicker once I had all the adjustments saved.

These prints were printed traditionally and many my age grew up with at least one of these prints on our parents walls. It was a reasonably popular artist of that time. He also painted architecture so the prints are somewhat timeless. When I first saw the collection my shock was how bright, and sharp the oils were. The offset printing just couldn't capture the paintings. I wanted to try and recapture them closer to the way they actually are.

When I show people who have also seen these prints their whole life they always comment on the brightness, sharpness, and saturation of the new prints. Our eyes are just not used to seeing these prints with this kind of detail. Even a less than perfect modern rig is much better than offset prints of the 70's. Plus these are much more fade resistant. I guess I have accomplished what I wanted.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
Warren, last month, i did a set of prints of a Fairfield Porter painting that had never been seen by the public as it was always in the family.

They had a 4x5 transy shot of it already so I scanned it on my Creo and then set about getting a color match.
The main problem I had was that the son who had it didn't want to leave it with me over night. He would always leave it for an hour and then come back and get it. He was so afraid to leave it as it was a $100,000 value and he was worried.

I finally told his sister about my little problem and the next day it was in my store for 2 days for me to match. Pays to go to the one with the power!!
I got the colors almost a dead on match and was quite proud of that and got compliments from all of the family who saw it and so far I have printed 90 for them. ... Epson 9900. They are selling them as a fund raiser for their artist week they hold out on the island they own.
I love doing this stuff!!:thumbsup:
 

surferbill

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
This is just a small start to what I see this studo or lab performing. I would like to turn the "no" into "yes" sales that I actually benefit from financially and also for longer term framing and client acquisition.

That's my short list, and I'm sure I will come up wtih more as I research the project.Elaine
Elaine,
Do you have any printers or cameras yet? Do you have any training on photography and printing?
If you are starting from scratch, you can spend a lot of money in a hurry.

Just my little set up with two Epson printers, spare inks and roles of paper, iMac20, Color RIP, Adobe CS3, Nikon D80, Epson Scanner, 3 hrs of tech support, and other assorted goodies probably came to about $15,000 to $18,000 dollars.
Plus, I don't have any studio quality lights or a high quality scanner. It's on my to buy list soon.

The scanner Warren is talking about is fantastic, but it costs about $30,000 I believe.

To do what you are talking about I would think you would need some type of large MP camera, with studio quality lights, plus the high end printer.

I saw one such outfit at a trade show and the package was about $20,000 dollars.
It's not a cheap hobby to get into. IMO
 

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I'm probably going to start slow and small with some product photography for the Agency I'm working for, and the websites we are developing for clients. I've got time to flush out the rest.

Right now, I'm back in the frameshop since my girl quit today... I'll work virtually for the agency from the shop and hire PT production to keep things moving.

It's been a crazy year and things just keep getting crazier ;-))

Thanks for all of the advice. I'm reading and rereading to absorb it all. I've always been into taking pictures and have a really nice 35mm film with all the lenses, many smaller digital cameras and would like to upgrade to something more professional to "grow" with, but on a budget!

Elaine
 

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jerry - that's a perfect set up to start and its only $49!!!

I'm going to check into seeing if I can find a digital body to fit my lenses. I wondered about that when I was talking to someone who had found lenses from his fathers camera and they actually worked on his modern camera - I think he said it was a Lica ??? Not sure

Thanks!!

Elaine
 

Jay H

PFG, Picture Framing God
What lenses do you have?

You could probably build the above lighting setup with 2 desk lamps and a white sheet.
 

Elaine

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Canon AE1 It's about 30 years old but is still good ;-)
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
How would that Canon AE1 work in a digital studio??
 
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