My counter tops are Formica and were already a meduim gray and seems to photograph well without glare. Of course the background color of the counter surface is not in the image seen on the finished frame presentation. For artwork larger than my counter surface I lay a piece of AF foam down as it has a non-reflective surface. I have been having success with the flash turned off of my camera and shooting by aval. light.
I also lay a large scale ruler pependicular to the edge of the counter to use as a scale and also to line up edge of artwork and to be reasonably sure that moulding sample are laid out square as that is easier than tweeking them in program.
Thanks jPaul! I know at the show, IF had a scaled mat (I've seen them in sewing stores), but personally I wouldn't want to work up an order on that and wouldn't want the hassle of placing it every time I'm ready to shoot a picture. I'll try your ruler concept.......and your point about the background not showing in the image is right on! When I asked that question, I hadn't realized that......novice here!
I believe the use of the grey background aids in getting the most accurate color read by the camera and software. My employee is a professional photographer as well and we've talked about setting up the IF with a soft box light source and a grey table top. The more consistant the lighting, the better the results. The idea would be to eliminate any inconsistant light source, making the IF system completely self contained.
Our design counter(s) are a medium gray, shortloop commercial carpet. We used a marker to dye a small black dot where the center of the viewfinder image is located. It is fairly easy to line up the objects with the edges of the camera image prior to taking the picture. We use 4" mat samples, so that can be our distance gauge.
Because the camera is mounted on the 10ft ceiling grid of a fluorescent fixture almost identical to John Ranes, we had significant glare problems. A custom fabricated from foamcore and matboard (2x4ft) set of louvers is attached below the bulbs. Solved the glare problem because no part of the bulb can be seen looking up from the design counter, but all the light is still in the room. Still working on a permanent variation to the louvers, but customers never notice the "rigged" setup.