Warm and Cool Lighting for Buying Art Online
warm and cool are terms with a variety of meanings based on the context. for example, are we talking about physical temperature, visual color theory, chemical reactions, or a mix of all of the above? i know there is a lot of art/science/magic involved in the process of how we see light and color (or lack thereof). i've already gone deeper than i wanted to for this introduction. so let's get right to it!
HERE ARE EXAMPLES OF HOW AN ORIGINAL PAINTING LOOKS WITH DIFFERENT LIGHTING TREATMENTS.
i never realized the differences within my own studio until i started to study this topic more. it's like how you never realized your personal photos were terrible until you had professional photos taken or you upgraded your camera. and then of course with a side-by-side photo comparison it looks so obvious. but have no fear, i wouldn't worry about trying to match the lighting of your home to the gallery or space where you purchased the artwork. plus you may have purchased the art online, from just a photograph and an item description. i consider the lighting effect as a total package. meaning everything in the space can effect how the art will look on the wall.
WHEN I PHOTOGRAPH MY PAINTINGS FOR MY WEBSITE MY GOAL IS TO PRESENT THE BEST COLOR AND CLARITY AS SEEN IN NORMAL WELL-BALANCED LIGHTING CONDITIONS.
in most cases a high noon outdoor photo works beautifully. but sometimes after comparing with indoors, i opt for the hybrid indoor photo for the best representation of the artwork.
since white is most reflective for visible light, a painting with a lot of light colors will respond more to changes in the lighting conditions. a dark painting absorbs the light. with a multi-colored painting the lighting changes are generally but not always more subtle.
often for online images, you’re seeing a lower quality image, optimized for web pages. what are “normal well-balanced lightning conditions” that i mentioned above? meaning that my studio has a mix of natural light from windows, plus i use cool and warm bulbs as needed to balance the light in my work space. it also depends on the time of day as to what lighting set-up i’ll use. sometimes weather and deadlines prohibit getting an outdoor photo so i have to be prepared for indoor photos too. therefore when i don’t have any special lights on, the painting still looks good; not heavily reliant on special lighting to communicate the same color story as when i painted it.
WHEN YOU PURCHASE THE ORIGINAL PAINTING FOR YOUR SPACE, IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE CUSTOM LIGHTS THEY WILL FURTHER ENHANCE THE PIECE. THE LIGHTING IN THAT CASE IS AN ADDITIONAL ACCENT.
i primarily sell my artwork online, so i will share an experience specific to color and buying art. a repeat collector sent me the name of the piece she wanted to buy from my website. i confirmed availability with a screenshot just to make sure we were on the same page. then i looked at the actual painting in my studio and noticed that the photo colors on my computer were more orange, whereas the actual painting was more pink (towards coral). why was this something to note? because i knew the collector's color preferences and home décor since she has purchased art from me before. also knowing that device colors and settings may vary by user; the collector may have had a slightly different view. but i sent the collector new photo right from the studio (a small web-size image, nothing too fancy) plus an outdoor photo to confirm that she was still ok with her selection, and she was.
that's a lot of text to simply say, no matter what the cyber-lighting situation looks like, the energy and mood of the painting remained the same. as the creating artist, when i photograph my art for the web, i aim for accuracy with studio or natural lighting.
I CAPTURE THE PIECE WITH LIGHTING THAT IS NOT TOO DRAMATIC OR DISTRACTING TO THE PIECE. FOR MY WEBSITE I POST THE BEST VISUAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR PROSPECTIVE COLLECTORS TO VIEW.