I need to photograph a painting for archival purposes. It has some texture, but not a lot. I have a linear PF for my lens, but I think I need the LPF sheets/gels to go over the strobes.

Question: Do I use basic reflectors or barn doors and attach the filter sheet over one of those to get rid of glare?


Do I use a softbox? (I guess with a softbox you can not use LPF?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? oil painting tiny reflections \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 13, 2021 at 6:12
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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have continuous access to this painting, try without polarizers first. If the texture is minor, the results may be acceptable. Assuming that you are shooting horizontally, put a strobe on each side at same height as painting, 45 degrees from the camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattman944
    Jan 13, 2021 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you position the artwork relative to the lights to eliminate reflections? Or vice versa? Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection...and so forth. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2021 at 1:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you wish to image the artwork such that if you print it and put it up side by side with the artwork the image colors will closely match? If so you need to look into "scene referred" processing. Almost all photography captures "output referred" images which shift colors and tone to create more "pleasing" colors but they won't look good viewed side by side. \$\endgroup\$
    – doug
    Jan 17, 2021 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


I'm a professional artist, and I photograph my paintings by using a daylight LED lamp above the easel pointing down on the painting, and the camera higher than the painting and angled down. This removes all the glare from texture and/or varnish. I then use perspective control in Photoshop to adjust the image back to its correct perspective. Hope this helps.


You should attach the Linear polarizer filter gels to the flash, ideally with barndoors. This will achieve the maximum effect. You may have to change their angle, as you do to the camera's circular polarizer.

You can not put the light source with a polarizer into a softbox nor bounce it off of a surface as doing so will alter the polarization once again, returning glare properties.


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