Photographing Artwork Using Polarization

Date posted: January 27, 2015

The following video provides a brief introduction into using polarization to photograph your artwork. Polarization is used to reduce (and hopefully eliminate) glare (spectral highlighting) on paintings when photographing them. Oil paintings and acrylic paintings are particularly susceptible to glare. In fact, glare is probably the number one difficulty in photographing artwork that has any varnish or shiny aspects to it.

The problem with polarization is that it will change your colors and can reduce the detail perceived in blacks and dark areas. There are however ways to mitigate that problem, from using a color card and running curves in Lightroom or Photoshop, to creating custom ICC profiles for your camera under polarized conditions.

While we can’t explain all the aspects of photographing artwork using polarization, this video should give a good introduction as to how it’s used.


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