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When you photograph 3D objects, most of the same rules above still apply but there are some extra considerations to make. Unlike a straight-sided painting that can easily be cropped to remove the background, 3D objects will need staging so that the background looks intentional and enhances the artwork.
Try to stage a display using natural or natural-looking materials. For example, you could find a slab of stone of slate or rustic planks of wood to place your artwork on. Online marketplaces such as Facebook and Gumtree are great places to look or just ask friends or family to see what they have lying around at home. You could also find some natural looking vinyl floor tiles to provide the same effect. Position the base of your staging area right up against a wall. Ensure that you can’t see the edges of the staging in the camera’s frame of view (or crop the image later to the same effect).
You could instead use an existing stage in an outdoor setting, such as your garden (or a friend’s garden). A grass lawn, bark chippings or a slate shingle path might provide an attractive staging area, with flower borders or the base of a tree trunk as the backdrop. If the artwork is at all shiny, you’ll need to position the object further away from surrounding objects, including any flower borders, so that the surroundings are less likely to be reflected in the surface of the artwork.
You may prefer a white or neutral background, especially if your art is quite transparent (such as glass art). You may be able to achieve this without a photographer’s lightbox or soft box, simply by making a few improvisations. You’ll need a large sheet of white or neutral card – not too thick as you need it to bend. Find a surface with a wall behind it, positioned in a light room with plenty of natural daylight. The single sheet of card needs to provide both the base and the backdrop, by curving it up a wall rather than putting a fold in it. Tape it in place with some low-tack masking tape. The curved card creates a seamless backdrop. If you are able to invest in a photographer’s softbox then you’ll be able to get some nice affects by directing shadows or creating a gradient of light and shadows behind the artwork. Alternatively, you could improvise by using LED torches (white light is better than yellow/warm light) and a thin white cotton or nylon sheet to diffuse the light. Make sure the light source is not too close to the artwork as you need to evenly light the artwork rather than focus on a specific area. You’ll probably need more than two hands, so you may have to find some willing helpers to hold the torches and sheets.