Tuesday, 30 October 2012


I have always struggled to photograph graphite drawings as cameras seem to want to compensate for lack of colour by turning the paper grey or brown.

I usually work on pure white Mellotex paper so its frustrating having to tweak photos in PaintNet to try to get the image to look like the ref.

This is a drawing I'm halfway through and I used the new camera this morning and tried out a few of the standard settings on the white balance button.   I think they are better than I could have taken on the old camera but there's still room for lots of improvement.   Perhaps I'll find the answer somewhere in the operating instructions but its all very confusing ..

taken on the monochrome setting the picture is very harsh.  I should point out there's still a lot of work to be done on this little chap - in the ref photo there is a strong light source from his left (our right) side which creates some interesting shadows - but I'm toning these down a little.  

This is a setting for portraits - soft skin effect which is kinder but still not quite right.  

and this was just taken on Auto without any fiddling.

They all look grey rather than white.

How do you get crisp whites and blacks when photographing graphite drawings?   Any ideas please? 


Kyla Hynes said...

Looks like a great drawing. I always have this issue as well. The best I can think to do is to take it no flash (you have to be steady!) in natural light near a window or something. Otherwise sometimes I scan the drawings and this is perhaps crisper than the photos I have taken before. Still no expert though by far,would love to hear from others about this problem as well x

Jo said...

Sorry can't help None of them look bad to me, but if you want the white background, guess you need to ask a professional photographer. Or maybe ask the camera makers on line.

Sue Clinker said...

Thanks for your suggestion Kyla. I do photograph in natural light but the weather has been very gloomy lately. I know there is a way of adjusting pictures to get the background back to white - in PhotoShop but I need to load the programme first.

Hi Jo
I have a 220 instruction manual online and the first instruction is 'before use please read instructions completely' ... yeah right! who on earth could be that organised and prissy???? I'm to gung ho ... which is why I can't get a decent photo of course :-)

Jo said...

Get reading girl and do your homework. LOL

Peter Williams said...

Sue I scan mine, but the advice I was given was to scan with full colour setting, then remove colour in photoshop before adjusting the levels. There is a good explanation on this link about levels adjustment. http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/levels.htm I suppose it will be the same process with your camera images.

Sue Clinker said...

Thanks Peter
I've only got a basic A4 printer/scanner but I should be able to stitch larger images. I need to find my PhotoShop Disk as I lost everything when computer had to be rebuilt a few months back.

I'll have a read of your link tomorrow and experiment. Its frustrating having to spend longer adjusting photo images than drawing the bl**d thing in the first place LOL

Katherine Thomas said...

I love that little Halloween costume! Be sure to keep those in a safe place as she grows up. I have a boxful and they bring back such wonderful memories... Also, that's wonderful that you're experimenting with the camera! I have new one too, and I haven't changed the default settings at all. What suggestions do you have for photographing artwork accurately? I need some! (I LOVE the baby portrait here too!)