Making Slides of
Your Artwork

Instructions for making Art (35 mm) Portfolio Slides and Digital Images for Web Pages


35 mm Single Reflex Camera (manual control*) with built in meter


Cable release

Film: Professional Ektachrome (tungsten) ISO 64 or 160 film

Optional film:

Kodachome ISO 64

Echtachrome ISO 64 (can process quickly by local photo labs, but is not as good as Kodachrome)

If daylight film is used with tungsten light, color correction would be needed on the camera lens using a blue filter #80B.
With daylight film, some feel that the color is best in direct sun, others recommend open shade for less glare. In open shade it is possible to get a blue bias from the sky. A white reflector (not a mirror) might be the best indirect diffuse daylight source option if using sunlight.

Do not try to use fluorescent light, as it is too hard to get correct color balance.
Halogen lights nearly the same as sunlight

2 - Tungsten (3200 K, Type "B") photo flood bulbs  - OR - simple flood lamps with clips

Gray card

* Manual control = can control shutter speed and aperture independently

Procedure Using Film

Setting up Artwork

Place flat art work on flat neutral color wall (clean black mat board can be used. Securing devices such as tacks, nails, tape etc. should be kept out of sight. Keep flat as possible.

Option - Smaller flat work can be placed on floor. Camera and Film
  1. Place film into camera in low light.
  2. Secure camera to tripod (or copy stand for small work). Have adequate space around tripod base so it can be easily moved in any of the four directions.
  3. Attach cable release to camera.
  4. Never use flash because of glare problems.

CAUTION: Hot photoflood filaments are easily broken. They burn out if moved when hot. Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from lamps or moving. They are also fire hazards if placed near materials that burn.

  1. Place photo floods to left and right of artwork at a low angle so that light is evenly distributed over the whole work. Keep lamps at a low angle to prevent glare (reflection) from art surface, but far enough away so as not to create a "bright spot" on the work.
  2. 3-d work should be placed on an infinity background which curves up from the table or floor (no wall floor seam) with "key light" coming from top at 45 degree angle and fill light from other side. To soften the light, the light can be reflected from a white surface or diffusing material can be used in the path of the light to create a "soft box" effect.
  3. Washable dulling spray is sometimes used on high gloss surfaces to temporarily make them mat for the photo.

  4. Sometimes shade is placed so that less light hits the background. This makes 3-d work appear to project forward in the space.
Metering and Making the Exposures
  1. Hold the gray card just in front of artwork and holding camera lens close to card, read meter and adjust shutter as indicated.
  2. For flat work set aperture wide open, since depth of field is not a large factor. You can adjust shutter speed accordingly if you focus carefully.
  3. For 3-d work, use a small enough aperture to include the whole depth of field needed to include everything at sharp focus. F/16 or F22 is suggested. Use enough light so that exposure times are not more than 2 seconds at F/16.
  4. Take one photo at the metered setting, then "Bracket"

  5. i.e., shoot another at one shutter speed slower
    and another one at one shutter speed faster than meter indicates while keeping the aperture constant.
    This insures one exact exposure.
  6. It is a best to take enough slides of each work to meet the number of slides needed. Always take more than you think you will need! Copy slides are almost always inferior and colors will not be true.


  1. Rewind film, store in film container and keep refrigerated until processed.
  2. Echtachrome films can be processed fast (some as quickly as a few hours) by good local photo processing businesses.
Kodachrome must be sent and processed at a regional Kodak processing center

This will take at least 10 -14 days.

Either take to local store or mail in mailer direct to a Kodak processing center (mailers can be purchased through photo catalogue mail order houses).

Making Digital Images of Your Artwork
Three ways to get digital photo files
  1. Use a digital camera. Check out a camera from ITS.

  2. Use tripod and cable release. If camera does not accept a cable release, use the 10 second delay so the camera is steady.
  3. Scan slides using a film/slide scanner. Both slide and flat bed scanners are in the Mac Lab.
  4. Scanning prints with a flat bed scanner is possible, but does not give quite the same quality. You can get better quality if you have use the negatives in the film scanner.

Digital Camera Method
  1. Use the camera's best resolution mode, saving images in .jpg mode
  2. Set up work and lighting the same as above for film cameras
  3. Turn off the automatic flash
  4. Preview images while everything is set up so adjustments and retakes can be made until everything looks right
  5. Digital camera images are generally saved in the camera at a resolution of 72 dpi, but the images are much larger than feasible as web page illustrations. See #2 in Enhancing and Savinge below.

Film/Slide Scanner Method

  1. Set the resolution high enough to enlarge the image and still have high enough resolution after enlarging.
  2. Web page images are posted at a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch or pixels per inch).  Higher resolutions should not be posted because monitors do not display  the finer resolution and finer resolution makes tehe images very slow to download for browsers using a modem.
  3. Web page images should fit within monitors so browers are not forced to scroll too much.
  4. An image 8 inches wide might be a practical limit. This about 7 times as wide as a horizontal slide.
  5. If a web page needs an image that is 7 times as large as a piece of 35 mm film, the scanning resolution of the slide or film needs to be about 7 times 72.  This is about 500 dpi  (or  ppi) when scanning.
  6. If you want to produce a CD portfolio, a resolution 3 or 4 times as high would be fine. This would allow for better quality printouts as well.
  7. More complete instructions for using the scanners at Goshen College are at this link .

Saving Digital Photo Files
  1. While saving images that are "in process" do not compress the image, but keep it at 10 (in .jpg format) or save it in the uncompressed .psd Photoshop format.
  2. In Photoshop use Image,  and Image Size to stipulate both the size and the resolution of the image file.
  3. Once you have finished all the cropping, color adjustments, sharpening, contrast and brightness adjustments, sizing, and so on, use Save As to make a .jpg file (for web pages).  Gif format can be used, but it is more appropriate for hard edge flat color and graphics. Jpg is better for continuous tone photos.
  4. While using Save As in .jpg format, you select the degree of compression with 0 being maximum compression (fastest loading web page image) and 10 being maximum quality (slower loading web image).
  5. Since small files load much faster on a remote web browser's computer, compress the imagers enough so that no single images are larger than about 50k in size. Look at file sizes by viewing as a list on your disk folder.

Enhancing Digital Photo Files
The digital cameras often take a less than perfect image. The following is list of Photoshop commands to try before you save it for a web page.
  1. Image, Adjust, Brightness/Contrast
  2. Image, Adjust, Hue/Saturation
  3. Image, Adjust, Variations
  4. Filters, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask, set threshold to 3 and radius 1.0 and slide the sharpen slider until it looks best.
  5. See additional information at this link.

Designing your Web Pages
  1. Be careful about placing more than one image on a web page. It could take too long for the page to load and some browsers with hit the stop button rather than wait.
  2. Many  web sites are designed using a page of very small thumbnail images used as links to larger versions. This  gives the viewer a choice. Click to see an example.
  3. For more information click this link to the Goshen College Web Publishing Manual
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11/7/2000 update

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