OCA photographer Mark Lomas demonstrates how to get the best results when photographing artwork. Starting with the set up used at the OCA, Mark explains the basic principles and how these can be applied whatever camera and facilities you have at home. The work pictured is by student Tracy Roberts.
Three times a year after assessment events the OCA photographs a huge volume of student work. Some of this is for publicity purposes – we need images for the OCA home page (which do not have to be particularly high resolution) and images for the annual guide (which have to be very high resolution to do justice to the students’ work when printed). Increasingly we are also capturing images for slideshows on WeAreOCA, such as the very popular piece about Julie Senior’s work ‘Labeled Like Luggage’. But we also capture images so that tutors can see the standard of work by students other than their own. To get all these images we need a workflow which guarantees quality and is highly efficient. Once the kit is set up, staff work in pairs – one firing the shutter the other moving the work in front of the camera.
We hope this video is of interest to our photography students, but also to our fine arts and textiles students as you do not need a tripod, studio lights and tethered shooting to get good results. Just applying the basic principles of minimising reflections, getting even light from one type of lightsource and getting the alignment of the camera and the work parallel can take you a long way even with an inexpensive camera.
And finally, you have to feel for Mark. We said come and take images and video for us and then within days we are forcing him in front of the camera. We did think about including some of the outtakes a la Nina Milton but then thought better of it!