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Image Editing, Photographing Art, and Camera Recommendations



The goal is to be able to manually control the camera functions so that you can take non-blurry images in low-light situations, as tripods and flash are often prohibited in museums. There are a variety of ways to do this with both small point and shoot and large DSLR cameras.

Find a camera that has a wide ISO range (light sensitivity), ie. up to 1600 or 3200. High ISO is needed in low light situations, but can create a noisy/grainy image that reflects the quality of the camera and sensor size, so you still want to use as low an ISO as possible when shooting. Study the manual thoroughly and understand how to adjust exposure with Shutter speed, which should not be slower than 60 (1/60th of a second to avoid hand shake) and aperture (depth of field). White balance (color temperature) is another setting to change frequently as you move from tungsten to daylight to fluorescent to mixed lighting. Other added camera functions to look for are image stabilization, which will help keep the image steady and a macro focus/lens, which will allow you to shoot at a close range. Additional information can be found here: Baldwin Guide to Art Photography in Museums Nov 18 2012.docx.

Other tips:

  • Always turn off flash.
  • ‘Become a tripod’ while photographing by keeping arms tucked, hold your breadth, or find a near by structure to help stabilize you or set the camera on.
  • Never shoot on AUTO, but use P instead as this is fully automatic yet still allows you to control ISO, White Balance, and Exposure.
  • 3D objects should always be shot at an aperture of f8 or higher.
  • If shooting a framed work, shoot at a side angle to avoid any reflections. The perspective can be corrected in Photoshop later, where as its almost impossible to remove reflections.
  • Acknowledge that a lot of image editing can be done in Photoshop later if you are unable to take ideal shots onsite.


Here is a list from Robert Baldwin, an Art History Professor at Connecticut College whose top picks are in bold. Excerpt from: Baldwin Guide to Digital Cameras July 7 2013.docx.

  • Small point and shoot with full manual controls & good low light shooting: *Sony RX100 ($580) by far the best camera of its class due to its large sensor /Canon S100 ($430) & Canon S110 ($450) / Lumix LX5 ($250)
  • Mid-size point and shoot with full manual controls: Sony HX200V ($360) / Lumix FZ150 ($435) / Canon SX40 ($380) / Nikon Coolpix P7000 /
  • Mid-size point and shoot with giant sensors: Sony RX-1 ($2,700) / Fuji FinePix X100 ($2,000) / Leica X-2 ($2,000) / Sigma DP-2 Merrill (1,000) / Canon G1 X ($650)
  • Four/Thirds and Mirrorless Cameras: Olympus PEN E-P5; ($1,000); Olympus E-M5 (1,000)
  • Small DSLR: Nikon D5100 ($370) / Nikon D5200 ($590) / Canon Rebel T3i ($600) / Canon Rebel T4i ($600) / Canon 60D ($570); Canon Rebel SL1 ($600) 
  • Large DSLR: Nikon D7000 ($1,000) / Nikon D300 ($1,800, body only)
  • Full Frame DSLRS: Canon 5D Mark III ($3,500); Nikon D800 ($3,000); Canon 6D ($2,100); Nikon D600 ($2,100); Canon 1 DX ($6,800) and Nikon D4 ($6,000)