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The old adage "junk in, junk" applies to reference photos for line art illustrations. If the quality of the reference photo is not very good, the artist will have trouble distinguishing the details they need to make a high quality image. One of the ear tags for the line illustration is sharp detail.
A good reference photo helps an artist see the detail they need to include and enhance in a line art illustration, but taking a good reference photo is not a simple matter of pointing and clicking. Here are some tips to help you take good reference photos for line art illustration so you can streamline the process, save money and produce better quality.
Take lots of photos. It is better to have extra, than to have to go back and "do it again". For larger subjects, such as forklifts, zoom in and out on the various functions when standing from the same location. For smaller subjects, like a microwave oven, you do not need to zoom in and out.
Also get different angles, but remember which angle you ultimately want the illustration to represent. Get most of your photos from that angle. For example, if you push a power hand tool that will be illustrated in any hand used, you can try to get the right angle and give variations. Shoot a little high, a little low, a little left and a little right. Rotate the angle and shoot more. With digital photography, you don't have to worry about film costs, so take a lot of pictures.
Make sure you get the entire subject within the frame. Seems simple, but many people do not realize that they have cut off a shoe or hand, or something that extends from a machinery.
Take close-ups of important parts of major products. For example, if you take a picture of a car and want to make sure we get the hood ornament right, take a close-up of it, so that the artist has the detail they need. When taking close-ups, be sure to take them from the same angle as the main photo. Either zoom in where you stand for the head shot, or just click straight ahead to get closer. Taking close-ups from alternative angles can help us understand the mechanical structure of a product - the same angled close-ups help streamline the illustration process and save money.
Lighting is the single most important factor that affects the quality of a photo. Studio lighting is best. Sunlight is good, but creates harsh shadows that usually hide details. It is better to shoot in the shade. Warehouse or office lighting tends to come from the ceiling, so if there are important details on the product's underside / underside, think of ways to get light from the sides. Using portable spotlights, which are commonly used in construction sites and job shops, is a great way to get light from the sides.
Take pictures with and without your flash turned on. The flash adds details, but also creates harsh shadows and highlights. If the subject has shiny parts, the flash can create hot spots that completely burn out details.