Common photography problems I see

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by john lucas, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Yea I use those flashes off camera only with optical slave units. They are used to add either fill light or highlights to add more shape and interest to the lighting in the photo.

    Robert Manning sent me an e-mail and said he had posted 2 photos in the AAW GAllery. He shot them with on camera flash. Absolutely nothing wrong with this if it meets the criteria of your needs. In this case it's simply to show some great work to other turners without having to spend a lot of time working on the photos. The pieces aren't very glossy so the hotspot in the middle is not too obnoxious. There are of course hard shadows around the piece, but again, what does it matter in this case. We can see the work clearly and define it's shape and color. It's sharp and well focus so it serves it's intended purpose of showing us the work. I also shoot pieces with on camera flash when I want to show people the work but it's not a piece I need to shoot seriously. Good job Robert I've always liked those pieces where the pith is oriented to purposely create a warped look.
    I want to stress that it's not my goal to put anyone down for the photography they do. It's only to try and help you get better images of your work to show it off. It's up to you to decide how far you want to go.
     
  2. Robert Manning

    Robert Manning member

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    You're absolutely right, John, Yellow Moon was not a particularly challenging form to photograph with it's matte finish. I could also dodge the hotspot. It just takes time. In the past, one technique I employed, was to photograph my work after the seal coat and before I applied a high gloss finish.

    I uploaded sharper versions of Yellow Moon last night so if you refresh your browser, you can view them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  3. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards

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    critic

    John, I would be interested in viewing some of other peoples set up and your critic. A compilation of these examples with your comments would represent a wealth of information. You don't have to show them all or acknowledge the owner. Just pick those that best illustrate the problem and your fix.
    Your knowledge on this subject is most appreciated. I look forward to seeing more.
    Thanks a lot!!!
     
  4. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Photos

    John, et al., thanks for the tips on taking pictures. I have a time trying to take close-up photos of custom fishing rods. Shadows, bright spots, etc. plague me. John, how many pictures have you taken over the years?
     
  5. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I hope people do send photos of their set up and work so that I and othes can try to help. I will try to provide my own set up and photos when time allows.
    John T. Maybe we should plan a get toghether to photograph some of your fishing gear. Then we can work out the solutions to the problems together. Give me a call some time.
     
  6. Dave Roller

    Dave Roller

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    I would like to know how to get my photos from ny desktop to a post here on the forum.
     
  7. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I am certainly not an expert here. You do need a way to size the photos to fit the maximum size and that's where I am at a loss unless you are using PHotoshop. Hopefully someone else can help with that. To attempt to load the photos simply start a post or reply. The go down below where is says additional options, click on manage attachments. It will bring up a window that has a browse button. Click on this and then find your image on the desktop. Click on the image and then tell it to upload. You'll see it come up as a file extension. Then simply finish the message and click submit or if you want click on preview to see how it worked. If the file is too large it will tell you.
    That's the best I can do. Give it a try and if it doesn't work get back with us. Maybe someone can help.
     
  8. Dave Roller

    Dave Roller

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    OK. Here's are my pictures of two maple bowls and a cherry bowl. Thanks to Ed Davidson and John Lucas for their help with the picture upload.
     

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  9. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Dave What kind of lights and diffusers are you using. could you post a photo of your set up. I can see that you are trying to change the intensity of the lights so they aren't really flat looking. That's a good thing but you could go a little further.
    Mostly it's a problem of the main (or brightest light) being too low. That produces the glare on the back left. If you move the light up the glare will go down and eventually far enough down to be hidden by the front lip of the bowl. This could cause the front of the bowl to be darker which may be good or bad. It would be bad if the details you want to see are in the front. Good if the details are inside. Having the inside either darker or lighter than the outside creates the illusion of depth and that's what we are after.
    I would fill the frame more so the bowls are larger and if possible figure out a way to make the files larger so we can see more detail.
    The black velour background eliminates the problems of shadows but I've never been a fan of the wrinkled look. That however is a personal choice so do as you please. Even as dark as it is your eyes still glance at the wrinkles and the idea is to keep your eyes on the bowl. A smooth background does this better than a wrinkled. Yours doesn't look bad and if you can't get the wrinkles out then I'd go with it.
    Your exposure and color look correct. Over all a good photograph. Minor improvements would take it to the next level.
    I may have time to shoot a bowl on Monday. I'll do it on our black velour and try to show the differences I'm talking about.
     
  10. Dave Roller

    Dave Roller

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    John, I have no idea the set up used to do the photographs I posted. My wife did them where she used to work when I was selecting something to put on my calling card.

    I had to find a spot online to reduce the size down to the acceptable level for this forum and almost did not post them after going through that process--I don't think they look nearly as good as the originals. The originals were @ 1.5 mb and you can see how much I had to cut them down. I'll look to see if you have a public email and if so, I'll send the originals to you for your comments.

    I'm just happy that I can now upload photos. I may try putting these on the forum photograph site. Thanks for your help and suggestions.
     
  11. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Dave Here are some examples of what I am talking about. The first shot is a bowl with one light coming from my right and higher than the bowl. It is a soft box about 1x 1 1/2 feet. Not a bad photo but the piece is kind of flat looking and there is an obnoxious highlight.

    In the second photo I move the light above and slightly behind the bowl. This lights the interior and moves the reflection down into the bottom below the rim so you can't see it. Obviously this doesn't do justice to the front of the bowl.

    In the 3rd photo I added a white board to the left just out of the frame. I angled it to pick up the light and bounce it back into the front. Then I took an 8x10 mirror and bounced light back into the right side of the bowl. This leave the front slightly darker than the inside and creates a more 3 dimensional look.

    I am using a large piece of Velour background material and smoothed it out so there aren't any wrinkles. The background was spread out so it's quite far from the bowl consequently it goes completely black. The downside of the velour is that the bowl kind of floats in space.

    What I intended to show in this set up is that you should try to make it easy to move your lights. You can often eliminate or at least decrease some of the problems by simply moving the light around. Think of it like shooting billiards. In the first shot the light bounces off the back of the bowls right back at the camera. In the second shot I move the light so it would bounce up but also the reflection is now down below the rim so the camera doesn't see it. By moving the lights you move where the reflection is. The size of the lights affects the size of the reflection. Small lights create hard edge very bright hot spots and large lights, like umbrellas and soft boxes create soft edge less harsh highlights.
     

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  12. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Galen Vetterick's Images

    Galen sent me an image of this bowl and we discussed improvements that might help. The first most obvious was the color shift. He was using tungsten lights. The camera's auto setting did not fully correct for the lighting and the image is very orange. I suggested he set the White Balance to the tungsten setting.
    What we found out is his camera can be set to tungsten lighting but when you turn it off it reverts back to Auto which in this case was incorrect. My little camera does the same thing and it's a hassle to set it to tungsten each time I need that feature. That's where the SLR cameras shine because they will usually let you set the white balance and it will stay there.
    The other 2 suggestions were to move in closer to better fill the frame and to set the image quality higher. I also suggested setting up the background differently to get rid of the various lines that cut through the photo. As a further suggestion to get rid of the horizon line in the background I suggested using a white window shade or possibly a piece of poster board that is taped and curved. Of course seamless paper is a good choice as well. The whole idea is to take away anything that pulls your eye away from the piece. A good clean background does this.

    As you can see in the second photo the differences make it much easier for us to enjoy his work. I didn't change any settings in photoshop I only changed the sizes to fit in the new frame.
    Great job Galen, on the photo and the bowl
     

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