Wednesday evening, I got together with a local ceramics artist to shoot some slides of her recent work. As you can see, she has some really great stuff. A bunch of it is wood fired, which does some really cool things to the texture of the glaze. Pretty impressive. She's documenting it all before pieces go off to be sold or shown other places.
As a concept, shooting art slides of three dimensional work is relatively simple. I use a big roll of white seamless paper and two lights. One soft light from the front/side and one hard light from behind for some rim light. I sometimes add a reflector opposite the front light as well. Pretty basic. The tricky part is managing the glare. For matte finished pieces that's not an issue and you can get a good slide in one or two frames. But glossy pieces can be a bear.
The glossier the piece the more time it takes to get things just right. You have to fiddle with the angle of the lights, move the piece around; you have to find that spot where the glare is as small as it can possibly be with out disappearring completely. I still like to have that little spot of glare (we call that a specular highlight in photograpy) to show the true texture of the piece. Without it, you can't tell if it's actually shiny or not. In combination, that highlight, the halo of rim light and the soft , wrapping light from the side do a really nice job of revealing the shape and texture of the piece. That's the whole idea.