Photographing Paintings

Maybe it's my engineering gene, or perhaps it's just creative laziness, but I spend a lot of time tinkering with and improving my studio processes to make them easier and more reliable. Lately I've been having problems with photographing finished paintings. I've been doing a lot of small work, and setting up the tripod, mounting the camera, fiddling with the X-Y-Z axes, and worrying about the lighting has gotten to be a real hassle. Quite literally, making a decent photo of one of my small panels might take fully 1/4 the time it took to paint it in the first place.

I've needed a way to quickly and repeatably take a photo of a small painting, and I've built this "carriage", for lack of a better word.

The painting rests on the board to the left, while the camera fits in the brackets mounted on the square piece of lumber to the right. There is very little room for variation, and therefore error. Just center the painting along the vertical line, put the camera snuggly in place, and click. Placing a strong halogen light shining across the painting, I can have a decent, squared image in less than 5 minutes... every time.