Three-dimensional objects in perspective

What is the best way to depict a three-dimensional object in a photograph? While personal choices and tastes certainly play a role here, technical considerations are no less important. Whenever you photograph objects, lighting is essential: the choice to use soft or hard lighting completely changes what is expressed by the image. Decisions like these are always made in consultation with the artist or client.

Foto laten maken van een beeld? Margareta Svensson heeft veel ervaring

A small ivory statue consisting of three separate pieces, 5 x 6,5 cm, probably made in Japan (circa 1850) Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.


While sculptural art appears in many forms, it can almost always be viewed from different perspectives. This presence in space should be visible in the photo. Searching for the best angle and the right balance between light and shadow is just one of the many challenges that makes my work truly enjoyable.

De camerahoek is van belang bij foto's van sculptuur

P.C.E Fiaschi (1858-1941) alabaster sculpture of a woman, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. This light-coloured, slightly matt material is best depicted using soft lighting, while at the same time the background is kept dark.

Sculpture of Mary in praying posture, unknown artist, oak, 61 x 17 x 15 cm (sixteenth century) The wood is dark and shiny, while at the same time the folds in the clothing are deep so the shadows turn black. The lit parts of the sculpture have rather hard reflections. The challenge is to have these reflections enhance the face and hands in particular.

Driedimmensionele objecten op de foto door ervaren objectfotograaf

An unusual example of Brazilian ‘tramp art’ (ca 1920-1930) 47 x 35 x 79 cm. Collection of Laurent Sozzani, photograph commissioned by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA).

Terracottabeeldjes prachtig op de foto door Margareta Svensson

Polydor Comein (1848-1907) Two terracotta statues, a young man and a woman, depicting de Winter en de Zomer  (Winter and Summer) (1875) 46.5 x 23 cm. Collection Stichting Duivenvoorde.