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nceca not briefly - slide do's/don'ts

updated wed 20 mar 02


Chris and Nissa on tue 19 mar 02

Not so briefly slide do's and don'ts:


1. A bit more area on all sides of a pc allows for them to crop easier to
fit within their editing guidlines.
2. They prefer Nuetral backgrounds leaning towards a grey or Flo-tone
Graduated Background(light to dark), Black is constantly at odds with the
majority even though seen.
3. Keep the background clear, i.e. use a backdrop...unless work is site
specific-outdoors in which case it is the very least look
through the viewfinder and remove as much clutter from background as
possible. Don't leave your childs toy laying behind in the grass..let the
airplanes pass.
4. Add detail shots when certain surface/glazing/form elements might be
5. Include details about glazing, techniques, formulas, how you done it..I'm
not sure where this was to be included be it on the accompanying slide list
or other? CM as an example likes to print your glaze recipes.


1. Fill the frame with the work leaving very equal parts to each side.
Off-centered work would be cropped in publication but distracts jurors. Top
and bottom margins are often unequal with a bit more to the top.
2. Be sure that the pc does not "kiss" the edge of the is less
margin than a publication submission but not eliminated.
3. Keep the work image saturation as similar as possible in a grouping
submitted. Drastic differences in whitespace can be distracting. Uniformity.


1. Keep away from colored backdrops i.e. orange..while your taste may
approve, the idea is to appeal to a larger audience.
2. Look at your slides through a projector. What looks good on a light
table may be very unfocused etc on the big screen. Mistakes are more
3. Pay attention to the setting..just like a portrait from your vacation
looks odd with a light pole in the background poking out your head so can
numbered cups intersect each other distractingly. Keep the edge of the
backdrop out of the image area.
4. Stick to individual pcs when you start out to simplify. Just because
they are a set doesn't mean that it would be better to show them all
together. Gain some experience eliminated flaws from single pc before
working up to multiples.
5. Use white card stock to bounce light to the foot-under the work. You can
use more than are an octopus right? This is one of the most
important clues to lighting.
6.Using a single light source directly above and a little ahead may be just
as rewarding as my three pc set up. It also simplifies things..only one
hotspot typically for you to avoid. Again use cards to reflect light.
7. In reference to hot spots...keep them from being too drastic but it is
nice to be able to tell a glaze is glossy or not. A tidbit of light
reflection is ok...not three.
8. Use a room that is darkened. Windows may show up as glares on glossy
glazes. A dark room will provide the gradiated look in the backgorund if
your gray paper/formica or whatever is long enough to recede into the dark.
8b. Slides taken outdoors on a cloudy day eliminate hot spots. Careful of
wind/pollen/rain. One method involved using a cheap white tent to take
slides in out in the yard..I've never seen an all white tent.
9. Keep your work ahead of the background if it is brought up the wall
behind it. There should be no shadows behind a pc because it is less than
a foot from the wall behind it. Give it some distance.
10. Make the backdrop curve up the wall at a wider radius not a tight turn.
11. Grey colored paper is available at photo places for matt
background..Cheapest of the options I know of. Stay away from blue tinted
and yellow hues as they tend to make the slides look ill developed...there
were example where shown where color correctness was stated but was hard to
believe because of the off-colored backdrop.
12. Gradiated photo backdrops also available but more expensive and have
delicate surface easliy marred (best with dedicated room/environment). I'm
anal about its use/care and mine has lasted over five years but recently
marked when brushiung off a dog hair sitting on it. Bottoms of pots are
often masked to prevent marking and Raku pcs ruined my first one leaving
black marks on the whitest part. But, you can get great results using a
small space even a closet.
13. Formica? sheets are available in grey..most people used a long @8ft
sheet to get gradiated effect with distance in darkened room(very
effective). I was warned by one photographer that there were two grey colors
available and one had a tinge of blue and should be avoided...due to
locality diffeerences his advice/brand selection doesn't match with my
suppliers so I'll have to guess. Larger sheet usually necessary to achieve
best results for gradiated look.
14. Brands of slide film differ. They exhibit differing qualities..most
notable are bluish hues from some which are amplified with the blue tinged
backdrops I warned you about. Pick one so you don't run into unknown
15. Begin by bracketing your slides..F stops in increments two below and two
above for a toal of five frames is generally accepted. For projection One F
stop below is the norm for best appearance... light meters vary so you need
to bracket to find you cameras feel. Learn how a camera works so that you
can use the aperature to get focus through the depth of the pc... common
flaw was unfocused areas unintentionally.
away from all else.
17. Broad practices of lights, diffuser, film, Tungsten, Day Light,etc. Lots
of personal preferences.

These are just off the top of my head. There is much to learn if you plan
to do this yourself or have it done. If you are having slides taken insist
that you be there. Watch and learn..and step in to look through the
viewfinder. Photographers are artists but often need to be told what part
of a pot is important. They sometimes try too hard to make the photo a work
of art instead of a documentation.

Good Luck,
Chris Koivisto
Duluth, MN

P.S. Wish we would have used the slide projector I provided at
might have prevented the jamming hassles as it was just gone through and
completely prepped before I left...I know it looked older but then I look
younger. Hopefully next time they go through smoother. Thanks to all who