Final Picture

Getting a fairly accurate picture for the Web can be difficult. This portrait is particularly troublesome. Notice first the pin cushion distortion making Phil’s head look too big and his hands too small. This is the most correctible problem. When I do a final image for the Web I take at least 4 pictures at a higher telephoto setting and join them together in Photoshop then match the size with the painting dimensions. With a 35 mm camera (I know those no longer exist; at least it’s difficult to buy new ones) an 80 mm lens is approximately distortion free. It isn’t really “distortion free”; it just matches approximately what our eyes see and our brain interprets.

The colour isn’t right either; it’s much too yellow. I don’t know if this is just the light or a camera setting. The light I’m using is a full spectrum fluorescent and that could easily have a significant yellow cast. The painting looks darker than the camera image and that could be the camera (cameras automatically set luminosity based on specific locations of an image or an average) I’ve darkened this image a good deal and retained the full tonal range and the result matches my monitor with the painting. MY MONITOR! But it might not match with anyone else’s monitor.

Most paintings don’t require accurate colour and tonal matching. However if you are doing something on commission it might. When we look at an image we interpret the colours and tonal range and compare it with what we think it should be. It might look very different under different lighting conditions. I have no control of the different conditions under which someone might view my painting. At best if I were actually doing something on commission, I could make it look right in my studio and make sure the client picks it up from there.