How to photograph string instruments

A few weeks ago I had to take some photos of a collection of String Instruments, in commission of Rene Slotboom. This proved to be a difficult task because it took place during an exhibition in
the Dutch National Museum called “from Musical Clock to Street Organ”.
There was ample room to shoot properly. The photoshoot was only possible on an early sundaymorning, with a polite request to be ready within two hours as the museum would open afterwards. Quick calculation tells us how much time is left after mounting and connecting all the gear and breaking it up again when done, practically none whatsoever. Normally it takes about an hour for just one string instrument lights-setup. 8 instruments in two hours!




Here’s some comment on the lights-setup.
I used two stripelights for illuminating the strings from both sides. Stripelights are really necessary to avoid unwanted reflections in the instrument. The background has been flashed with a reflector with grid and a redfilter. This disconnects the instrument from the background. Also there’s light coming from above by means of a snoot pointing to the ceiling. Normally I also light the instruments from beneath, but this was omitted after consulting with Rene.