I recently had the opportunity to visit the Carmarthen Museum to take a series of photographs of a new collection of contemporary local ceramics.

There wasn’t a  dedicated studio space at the museum so I used my own portable studio which includes a full Elinchrom studio flash system and light modifiers, neutral grey paper backdrops and blackout material for windows. The 36 megapixel Nikon D800 that was used to capture the images revealed a huge amount of detail that could be of interest to future researchers or academics. On some objects the camera had even captured the ceramicist’s finger prints in the clay of the pieces.

Colour accuracy is particularly important for images used in the heritage sector. Once the camera and lights were fully set up a reference shot is taken of a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker. This is then used in the Raw conversion to ensure the colour is as accurate as possible throughout the workflow.

Taking test shot of GretagMacbeth Colorchecker to standardise colour before shoot

Colour checking – Carmarthen Museum

Metadata such as artists name, date of manufacture and title of piece or series was embedded as the images were imported onto the computer. Images were captured in Raw and the client was provided with 16bit Adobe RGB Tiff files for their archive along with sRGB JPEG files for a presentation they were preparing.

The objects were all handled by a museum specialist.

Carmarthen Museum - temporary studio

Carmarthen Museum – temporary studio

The collection of contemporary local ceramics is now on permanent display in the main hall of the museum.

Contemporary jug and bowl from the collection at the Carmarthen Museum

Contemporary jug and bowl from the collection at the Carmarthen Museum

Carmarthen_museum3detail

Detail of jug and bowl showing capture detail of Nikon D800

I worked for over 8 years for JISC Digital Media (formerly TASI) at Bristol University where he provided specialist photographic advice, support and on site consultancy to cultural heritage organisations across the UK. I now offer these services as a consultant. If you would like help in planning or undertaking a digitisation project do get in touch.