Photography & Digital Asset Management for Art Galleries

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Photography & Digital Asset Management for Art Galleries Nicole Leclair



Contents 4

Suggested Equipment & Software

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Photographing the Exhibition Space

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Photographing Individual Works

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Image Processing

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Digital Asset Managment


Suggested Equipment & Software • DSLR camera • 85mm lens • 28 or 35mm lens • Tripod that can reach about 60 in. in height • Light meter • Gray card or Color Checker • Level (on tripod or separate) • Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom CC

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Photographing the Exhibition Space

“Alchemic Elegy” at RIT’s Gallery r. Works by Doug Manchee. Photograph by Mariah Texidor and Nicole Leclair

Lighting Track lighting, as set for exhibition. Tripod Height Adjust as needed, roughly eye-level for standard visitor. Focusing Focus on furthest wall or central piece. Everything should be in focus. Camera Positioning Photograph the space from each corner of the room. Use tripod level or another level to level the camera. Photographing Use in-camera light meter to determine exposure (expose for highlights). Set camera self-timer to 2 seconds to reduce camera shake. Photograph the gray card or ColorChecker positioned in the center of the space, facing the camera.

In the above photograph, the following settings were used: Exposure: 1 second Aperture: f/11 ISO: 100

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Photographing Individual Works

“Alchemic Elegy” at RIT’s Gallery r. Works by Doug Manchee. Photograph by Mariah Texidor and Nicole Leclair

Lighting 1. Track lighting, as set for exhibition. 2. Room lighting on full power. Tripod Height Center of camera aligned with center line for object hanging. In this example, 60 in. to center of camera. Focusing Use live view to zoom in on a sharp edge in the image to manually focus each photograph. Camera Positioning Camera is parallel to image plane. Use tripod level or another level to level the camera. Ensure that artwork is fully in the camera frame, with a few inches of wall space around all edges of the work. Photographing Use a light meter with an ambient light dome to determine exposure from center of print. Set camera self-timer to 2 seconds to reduce camera shake. Photograph the gray card or Color Checker in front of the artwork for each image and lighting situation. In the above photograph, the following settings were used: Exposure: 1/4 second Aperture: f/8 ISO: 100

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Image Processing Neutral Balancing Using the Lightroom eyedropper tool, color balance the image by sampling (clicking) on the gray card that was photographed in the scene. The neutral balanced image’s settings can now be synced with its respective photograph using the sync tool. Exposure Correction Photographs of individual pieces should not need any exposure correction when photographed using a meter. However, in environmental images, base corrections on what looks right, so that the artworks on the wall can be viewed and shadows are not too dark. Try to represent what the gallery looks like to you. Exporting Color Space: sRGB File Name: See Digital Asset Management, page 8. Dimensions: Longest Edge 10 inches Resolution: 300ppi Sharpening for Screen These settings will provide high-resolution files for documentation purposes, social media accounts, and small printed media.

Facebook & Twitter post from RIT’s Gallery r.

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Digital Asset Management The Importance of Digital Asset Managment Even within a small organization with limited staff, clear and organized file naming and organization conventions are essential. Whether applying for a grant, responding to press inquiries, or assembling a retrospective publication, each staff member should be able to quickly and easily locate the content they need. In order to accomplish this, a clear set of guidelines needs to be drafted, customized, and implemented. The following pages provide a generalized format for file naming and organization that should be customized to a gallery’s unique needs. For example, PRESS Gallery in North Adams, MA designs a summary handout to be given out at every exhibition opening. This would require a unique file folder and naming convention.

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File Naming Conventions Pre-Exhibition Photographs For Final Images: Year_Month_Day_Artist Last Name_Name of Piece_Image # “2014_10_6_Manchee_Sponge_1” For Gray Card Image: Year_Month_Day_Artist Last Name_Name of Piece_Gray “2014_10_6_Manchee_Sponge_Gray” Opening Night/Event Photographs Year_Month_Day_Name of Event_Image # “2014_10_7_Opening_3” Posters Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_Poster “2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Poster” Postcard Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_Postcard “2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Postcard” Install Schedule Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_Install “2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Install” Labels Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_Labels “2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Labels” Press Release Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_PR “2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_PR” Press Coverage Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_News Source “2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_RITNews” Price List Year_Month_Day_Exhibition Name_Prices “2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Prices”

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File Organization GALLERY >Year >Exhibitions >Exhibition A >Images >Artwork >Opening Night >Event A >Installation Schedule >Labels >Postcard >Poster >Press Release >Press Coverage >Price List >Events >Event A >Images >Postcard >Poster -Additional folders as needed

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File Organization Example GALLERY R >2012 >2013 >2014 >Exhibitions >Notables >Alchemic Elegy >Images >Artwork [2014_10_6_Manchee_Sponge_1.jpg] >Opening Night [2014_10_7_Opening_3.jpg] >Book Signing [2014_10_7_Signing_1.jpg] >Installation Schedule [2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Install.doc] >Labels [2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Labels.doc] >Postcard [2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Postcard.indd] [2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Postcard.pdf] >Poster [2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Poster.indd] [2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_Poster.pdf] >Press Release [[2014_10_7_AlchemicElegy_PR.doc] >Press Coverage [2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_RITNews.pdf] >Price List [2014_10_8_AlchemicElegy_Prices.doc] >Arena @ Gallery r “ “ >Events >Signatures Poetry Reading >Images >Poster >Postcard

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Nicole Leclair 2015


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