Thread: Photographing woodwork.
1st Aug 2006, 11:13 PM #1
A professional photographer saw some of my earlier woodwork photos and had a coronary. I had "props" in the photo to make them look good. Apparantly this detracts from the subject and needs a "nothing" background. He showed me how to set up a "studio". It consisted of two sheets of ply and a sheet of black card. The photo below shows how I set it up. He recommended setting up on the verandah with as bright a day as possible. When this photo was taken I was still using a SLR camera at 1/30th second with a shutter release cable. My recent photos use the same set up but with a digital camera. He went on to explain the use of filters and artificial lighting, but I am a woodworker not a photographer. The second photo was taken with the same setup but with the digital. I am not a pro photographer, maybe some more proficient photographers can fill us in on filters, lights etc.
JimSometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important...
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1st Aug 2006, 11:38 PM #2
Very good point Jim. Too often is a great item ruined by a bad photo. If the viewer doesn't get to handle the item in person then the photo needs to show the piece in the best light, otherwise all the hard work is in vain.
I use a similar technique, a white length on material purchased from spotlight for a few dollars. This is draped so it hangs down and then spreads out in front. The item is placed in the middle and illuminated with three desk lamps. I also have black but there is too much texture in the cloth and the camera picks up the detail, I need another.
The camera I use is an old 2mp Canon digital which I purchased for a huge price 6 or so years ago, still works a treat. I use a tripod where possible to reduce movement and the timer function also assists in this. I take 5-6 photos with lights in different positions and then crop and sometimes touch up with photoshop.
The total cost was the material from spotlight, and the lights which are used throughout the house. Daylight also works but this time of year I don't get to see much natural light
Here is one from yesterday as part of the mystery pen blank thread:
Ohh I forgot to add ..... I use the "props" for the pens as it elevates them slightly and adds depth, if it were a larger item such as a box it would be by itself.Are you on email?
1st Aug 2006, 11:41 PM #3.
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Great stuff Jim (and Stinky ) your bowl (and pens) looks fantastic and great tip. Its always been a curse of mine. You spend so long creating your aledged masterpeice and all thats left when its gone is crappy photos. It would be great if others could share their tips on taking 'woodwork" pics with both SLR and Digital. That last Sassafrass cab i done had masonite as a background with those cheap halogen lights from bunnies and a cloth over them to diffuse the light (nearly went up in flames:eek: ) but it turned out ok (great for my standards)
1st Aug 2006, 11:50 PM #4
Er, Stinky, didja find that prop behind a bin at a certain secondhand shop...
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
2nd Aug 2006, 02:22 AM #5
If my 20yo SLR was digital, instead of film, then I'd be more than happy to take my time creating photographic masterpieces.
Instead, alas, I have to use a $^&*# bloody digital beast that refuses point-blank to give me any manual control and takes half-an-hour and several hundred keypresses to switch to macro mode. Paid an arm 'na leg for it and I hate the bloody thing with a passion. :mad:
Be thankful ya get to see any pix from me at all...
- Andy Mc (AKA "Ghost who posts." )
2nd Aug 2006, 02:54 AM #6
That's why I love my little beastie, and my macro lens
(although I nicked this photo from the web!)"Clear, Ease Springs"
2nd Aug 2006, 08:46 AM #7
If you got a spare 1/2 an hour and want to learn a bit of DIY studio photography try this page.
Goes into the hows and whys of lighting, using some 500w workshop floods directed off the ceiling to get that nice bright diffuse lighting.
Dan photographs computer gadgets for his web page, but the theory works the same for woodwork projects as well.
A cool camera will help, but it only records what it sees, so setting up the 'stage' and lighting is important no matter what camera you have. Even a cheapo digital will take much better pictures if it's on a tripod pointing at a well light and staged subject.
2nd Aug 2006, 10:01 AM #8
The current issue of Australian Woodworker has an article on building a mini-studio and photographing small items like these."I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."
2nd Aug 2006, 10:47 AM #9.
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My studio consists of a number of 1 x 1 m pieces of fabric (fake velvet, canvas, calico and even an old blanket) that SWMBO bought from spotlight as offcuts, and the kitchen table. I usually make a backing screen from whatever's handy eg cardboard boxes or my laptop and then drape the velvet on the table and across the backing.
Although I am fortunate to have a sweet canon digital SLR (with lotsa noice manual controls) and a pro tripod, etc, photography has been a 30+ year passion/interest, including teaching, so I do not normally need all of this to take a reasonable photo. The one thing us older codgers have to get into the swing of, is to take a lot of photos and then pick the best ones. In the days of film this was expensive but we have no excuse with digital.
2nd Aug 2006, 11:32 AM #10
If you are looking for a great imaging editing software package, try
http://www.irfanview.com/ the good thing about it is it is free to download. I use it extensively to resize images for my web page. There are other programmes that are better at using filters and cropping, but this is great for re-sizing.Tony Ward
Bandsawn Box Plans
2nd Aug 2006, 02:13 PM #11
I use an old roll from a window blind (neutral beige colour), and cut off a 600mm wide strip, leaving about a 2000mm strip (the original was quite wide). I use whichever of these is appropriate as the backdrop, depending on the size of the project, draped over a piece of ply held upright with a handscrew. I use a basic digital camera, sometimes macro mode, preferably with sunlight coming through the shed skylights. Tripod and delayed shutter to minimise camera shake. The only thing that bugs me about the basic camera I have is its lack of manual exposure control, but the convenience of digital overrides this. I feed the camera straight into iPhoto, which is great for cropping, basic 'enhancement', and saving at whatever size is needed. I use SmallImage to compress further for posting to the forum.Those are my principles, and if you don't like them . . . well, I have others.
2nd Aug 2006, 02:33 PM #12Originally Posted by stuart_lees
Here is a link to a site that has some useful tips on lighting and photographing small objects including the construction of a Macro Studio.I wanted to become a brickie but my old man said "No son, learn a trade."
2nd Aug 2006, 02:46 PM #13Diamond Member
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Macro lens is a lens that allows close focussing. With the lens alone, you can get images on the film plane at 1:1 or 1:2 - ie lifesize on the negative. This allows large enlargements with extraordinary detail.
Downside is: extraordinary shallow depth of field at high magnification.
There's a fancy canon macro zoom that does up to 5x magnification, but it also costs more than most cameras...
2nd Aug 2006, 02:58 PM #14Diamond Member
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Oh, and the difference between a wide angle and macro lens...
Wide angle lenses are just that - anything from a 35mm lens on a 35mm format camera at 54 degrees angle of view, and a 15mm fisheye at 180 degrees on the same format. A canon 35mm lens has a maximum magnification of 0.18
Macro lenses are usually between 50 and 200mm focal length. This gives them flat planes of focus which is important given the shallow depth of field at high magnification. A canon 180mm Macro has a maximum magnification of 1, and an angle of view of about 11 degrees.
2nd Aug 2006, 03:00 PM #15Originally Posted by woodbeI wanted to become a brickie but my old man said "No son, learn a trade."
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