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How best to photograph religous icons in a church.

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    13 Sep 2012 - 7:20 PM

    Hi folks,

    I'm to take some photos of religous icons in an orthodox church in order for them to make postcards from the photos.

    The icons are to be photographed in the church...any advice on how to get the best results would be greatly appreciated....thankyou.

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    13 Sep 2012 - 7:59 PM

    Size is the issue here...how big are they?
    I have used a home made drawing paper light tent since the late 60`s for small and medium objects
    If the object is upright make a large tube to surround it, punch a hole for the lens and fire a couple of flashes thru the paper.
    If flat down do the same with a half circular funnel and fire as before.

    The beauty of this system is auto white balance will cure colour cast, the heaviest drawing paper is not too dear, you can practice at home with household bits and bobs and the paper can be held in place with d/sided stick pads or blu tack.
    Or you could splash out on a pro light tent....stuart

    13 Sep 2012 - 8:48 PM

    Thankyou Stuart.....c'mon folks keep the tips coming Smile
    the icons are around a 12 by ten size at most..perhaps a little smaller.

    ................. as many tips as you can spare please, as theya re good folks & want to do as good a job as possible for them.

    What lens would you recommend ?

    widtink  2406 forum posts Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
    13 Sep 2012 - 9:35 PM

    Dont do it drunk be soberWink thats my only tip

    13 Sep 2012 - 9:43 PM

    You should aim to fill the frame with the subject allowing a small surrounding area for asthetic balance unless the brief includes printed matter on the image side itself, something you need to clarify before shooting.
    Background will be an issue if it is left to you and one of the decision makers hates your choice...get as much agreed and carved in stone before you start and dont rely on peoples good nature to accept something you missed covering in advance.
    My cynicism has always allowed that the firmest opinions tend to come from the individuals with the least ability where the commissioners of work are concerned...I know a good photo when I see it syndrome!...Get it all done and dusted in advance......stuart

    13 Sep 2012 - 9:47 PM

    Thankyou Stuart..... they want no background, just the picture itself. the icon is of St Edward(ex englsih king).
    The postcards will then be printed by themselves/for themselves .
    They are gold leaf on wood .

    Cheers Widtink...I'll gie the cider a miss then ;-p

    13 Sep 2012 - 9:51 PM

    Quote: They are gold leaf on wood .

    shoot some with a polariser to kill the glow and some without...even add a highlight or a star sparkle to the odd image if you can.

    13 Sep 2012 - 10:02 PM

    than ks sturat Smile


    I don't know what camera you have. My suggestion is : Use a standard lens .... wide ones will distort the picture. Shoot straight from the height of the picture, if you tilt the camera upwards you will make the bottom part appear smaller, Good luck.

    27 Sep 2012 - 7:44 AM

    thankyou pablo.

    I have an old nikon dx1, have a 18-55 lens, a 16-33 & a 85 - 200....I imagine to use the 18-55?

    I'm kind of worried about the shine as it is in gold leaf.

    Many thanks,


    27 Sep 2012 - 9:37 AM

    diffuse your flash gun(s) with a white handkerchief or cloth or shoot thru a white brolly if you use studio lights...use a hand held magnifier to review the image on your rear screen as zooming in will only show a small portion. If you use only available light you may need some one to hold a reflector to put more light where you want it. You will find that people who lose their fear and reticence where flash is concerned soon find it is far more controllable that daylight!
    Have you got a copy of nikon camera control?...it came free with the d70 but im not sure about the d1x...it enables you to shoot and view direct to a laptop and is the reason I have kept my old d70 as you have to buy it for the later models.

    Paul Morgan
    Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315682 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
    27 Sep 2012 - 9:07 PM

    Quote: How best to photograph religous icons in a church

    This all depends on how you want them to look.


    yes I think your 18-55 is the one to use, use polariser to reduce reflection and tripod in case you want to try to shoot with the existing light.

    28 Sep 2012 - 4:12 PM

    I often take photographs where I work - Cheddar Caves - subdued lighting all through, and the only way I can get decent pictures is using a tripod and long time exposure. Flash completely kills all the colour in the calcite formations. I usually set to AV mode, set aperture to around f8 or even f32 for the big formations, and let the camera decide on the correct exposure. Obviously use a cable release and even mirror lockup but with the long exposures shake isn't going to be too much of a problem.

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