Using the Hillyer Art Library Copystand

Description of the Copy Outfit

  • The copystand is a Bencher Copymate II equipped with a 19" X 20" base ruled in one-inch increments. It has two quartz lights and a mount for a 35mm camera.
  • A gray card to help determine proper exposure settings and times, a camera cable release, clips, wedges, and a magnetic base with flat magnets to level materials to be photographed are kept at the art library's service desk.
  • Patrons must provide their own cameras (35mm only) and film.

Access to the Copy Outfit

  • The photographic copystand is available for use by all library patrons whenever the library is open. It is housed in the Image Study Room (Hillyer 119) and may be used only in that room.

Recommended Films for Copy Photography

  • Kodak 64 or Fuji 64, Tungsten film, 36-exposure rolls are recommended films for copy photography.

Setting up the Camera for Simple Copy Photography

  • Load film into the camera. Attach the cable release to the camera's shutter release.
  • Mount the camera on the copystand by screwing the mount into the camera's base.
  • Set the camera speed at 1/4 second (Tungsten film performs best with long exposure times).
  • Position the material to be photographed on the copystand base. Use wedges and clips or the magnetic base and magnets to make material as flat as possible.
  • Turn on the copystand lights and position them so the material to be photographed is evenly lit.
  • Focus the camera on the material to be photographed.
  • Turn out the lights in Hillyer 119 using the switch by the door and position the plywood over the north window. Only the copystand lights should be on when you determine your exposure setting (f-stop).
  • Place the gray card over the material to be photographed (or replace material with the gray card), read your light meter (whether it is built into your camera or a hand-held meter), and set your f-stop accordingly.
  • Remove the gray card and check your focus.
  • When the distance between the camera lens and the copy photographed is less than 7 inches, change the shutter speed to 1/2 second. Do not change the f-stop.
  • Kodak 64 and Fuji 64, Tungsten films are processed using the E-6 Process. This is locally available only at Iris Photo, 164 Main Street, Northampton. Iris Photo offers one-day service: film delivered by 11:00 a.m. will be available by 5:00 p.m. Two-hour processing is usually available for an additional charge.

More Information about Copy Photography and Photographing Works of Art

  • Bukar, Nat. How to Photograph Paintings. Stamford: Art Direction Book Company, 1997. (TR658 .B85 1990z)
  • Collins, Sheldan. How to Photograph Works of Art. Nashville: AASLH Press, 1986. (TR657 .C65 1986)
  • Hart, Russell. Photographing Your Artwork. Rev. and upd. ed. Cincinnati: North Light Books, 1992. (TR657 .H37 1987)
  • Lewton-Brain, Charles. Small Scale Photography: How to Take Great Shots of Your Work. Calgary, Alberta: Brain Press, 1996. (Art Video TR657 .L49 1996)
  • Mates, Robert E. Photographing Art. Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1966. (775.2 M419p)
  • Page, David. "Copying, Photographic." In The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography. 3rd ed. Boston: Focal Press, 1993, pp. 172-173. (Art Reference TR9 .F6 1993)
  • Titus, William H. Photographing Works of Art. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1981. (TR657.T57 1981)
  • White, John. The Artists Handbook for Photographing Their Own Artwork. New York: Crown, 1994. (TR657 .W49 1994)
Name Phone Email
Lisa DeCarolis (413) 585-2940 hillinfo@smith.edu