What to do with the finished painting? How to show it on the Internet? Take a picture of it or scan it? The question is justified, because in order to make the image on the monitor look more or less similar to the original, one has to put a lot of effort. In this post I will try to tell you about my experience with scanning and taking a photo of the finished watercolor painting.
I always took pictures of my finished paintings. I set the painting at home in the right place, I waited for good light and took a photo. But this was true when it comes to artwork painted in a different than botanical style and those painted with other mediums, like oils. Unfortunately, when you take a photo of a precise botanical painting, it’s rarely good. It doesn’t even have to be a painting in a botanical style. If it’s just a watercolor painting it’s quite difficult to take a good photo of it. The problem that always appears is a background that is never white (if it’s a botanical painting). It always has a blue vignette and it does not look good. And we care, after all, about nice and clean background. Taking a photo of a botanical painting is not the best solution. The problem with other paintings (not in a botanical style) is also that some parts are usually in focus, other parts are blurry and usually there is always a vignette around the paintings, because the entire painting is not lit evenly, especially if it’s big.
However, this does not mean that taking pictures is bad at all. It is good, but in my opinion, in one case: when we take pictures of the stages of a painting, showing at the same time, for example, a palette or a workplace. Pictures of details of a painting taken from different angles always look very good, and we certainly won’t get this effect with a scanner. However, if you want to publish your painting on the web or (most importantly) make its reproductions – scanning will be irreplaceable.
One day I was annoyed by that blue vignette in the photo. It is possible to get rid of it in Photoshop, although it is a very arduous work and the effect is not always what we would expect. Besides, we also run the risk of getting blurry shapes in some places, even if we remove the background nicely. I decided to take my finished botanical painting to the printing office and have it scanned professionaly.
The effect exceeded my expectations. The image on the monitor looked almost identical as my painting. I didn’t even have to manipulate the colors, I only darkened the levels, because the scan always comes out too bright. Another advantage of the scan, very important, is that the background remains white, there is no vignette, the entire scan is clear and has high resolution. Scanned painting can also be used to make reproductions. I always scan my paintings, all of my paintings. It’s the best option if you want to display it on the internet. There is nothing worse than a beautiful painting and a super poor quality photo of it posted online. Take some time, don’t hurry with posting, scan your painting and prepare it well. You do it only once and then it can live its own life online. It is really worth it. People appreciate well presented artworks.
Take a look at how big difference is between a photo and a scan.
The difference is huge, right? For an even better illustration, I combined the fragment of the scan and the photo:
Hi Chris! Can you recommend a good scanner for scanning watercolors?
Hi Paulina! Sorry for the late reply. Well, definitely not the one I have :) (I have all-in-one device Epson EcoTank ITS L4160 and the scanner pics up too much paper texture). I know that many artists use Epson Perfection V600 scanner. I haven’t had a chance to test it, but based on the scans I can see online and reviews it looks like it’s a very good scanner for watercolors. I personally always take my paintings to one of those print/scan/xero places where they have professionally scanned paintings for me.