Zantedeschia aethiopica aka Cala Lily… By the way… I shot these with all natural light in the shade beside my house using a white card and a chrome reflector. Frankly, what a pain in the ass. Natural light is very hard. The wind blows. The reflector wiggles. The amount of light keeps changing. I have to use slow shutter speeds to get the shot. The only way you can do commercial photography and not waste yours and your customer’s time is to have control of the light. FLASH would have taken this photoshoot from 3 hours to 30 minutes. Just tossing that in because a potential customer brought this up that “…she only wanted natural sunlight to be used for the photos…”. Keep in mind also this was in February in Seattle. I refused the job.
More Cala Lilies: Big Sur Cala Lily Valley
Again, we photograph a Macbeth Color Checker and computer match the known control colors to achieve “perfect” capture. The next challenge is to get the camera aligned with installed artwork to make sure it is square. We sometimes measure the work to get the exact dimensions so the proportions of the photographs match the proportions of the actual art. These icons installed in a church in Burlington, WA have the added challenge of shiny gold leaf embedded in the images. Lighting control is critical. “Gold” is an elusive “color” so we send proofs to the client to obtain approval before producing finals in various color spaces for different uses. In this particular case we made some photos of the artist with her work.
The Chihuly Glass Museum directly adjacent to the Seattle Space Needle contains some spectacular works. They have done an excellent job of lighting the works too… So almost any camera can get a decent picture if you know how to expose for a black room and get the color balance correct. However, these are made with a top level camera exposed correctly, and the best lens Canon makes.
The first thing I do is set up some controlled light(s) (usually studio strobes… Battery powered strobes are too unreliable and are only used when there is no alternative). Second we make sure the lights are not causing shiny spots, or leaving dark areas. Then we photograph a Macbeth color checker in the same exact light as the painting. I have a computer program which matches the colors (all the colors are read not just neutralizing the gray scale) on the color checker with known values for those colors and adjusts whatever the camera’s sensor “thinks” the colors are to what they “really” are. Then we get the exposure perfect. Alignment needs to be perfect. And then I make files for the client’s needs. Files for printing presses, or photographic printing are made with different color spaces than files for the internet. Ideally, we will know exactly where the files are to be used and have access to the proper ICC profiles which we can apply to the files to “lock” the colors. Each device, paper, and use has its own ICC profiles. Proofs are made and sent to the client for approval before we make finals.