Photographing Pieces

After finishing a semesters worth of pieces, you typically have an assortment of mugs, bowls, bottles, cans, plates, jars and whatever else you might have made. A lot of things are experimental, some are for commissions and most are for yourself. Among these misfit vessels there are those which are show-worthy and those that are not – that is usually where I find a line and select my favorite pieces to showcase either for portfolios or for sale.

Photographing your work when it comes to 3D items can be annoying but with a few little tricks it becomes quite easy. It’s best to make yourself a nice backdrop out of big poster sized sheets of paper (toned or white), you can tape one end up against a wall and let it curve down to the floor creating a nice smooth transition. Setting your work onto the horizontal portion of the paper. Sometimes it’s best to find what tone of paper goes with your work ie: would a white background be best or something darker like grey.

You can toy with the curve of the paper to give yourself different gradations but overall you’ll have a nice smooth gradient of solid tone behind your work. Lighting can be important too. Using traditional lights can be tough because it creates glare and shines on your pieces and those really tend to detract from the overall form. Instead of paying for studio lights and diffusers what I do is take a big piece of tracing paper and double it up (or more if necessary) and tape it over the lights of a portable lamp or whatever light fixture you’re using. This gives you a much softer diffused light and reduces hotspots significantly.

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