Monday, June 23, 2014

Digital photography... "You don't take a photograph, you make it" Ansel Adams

Making a product photograph involves using your eyes, heart, mind and finally the photography equipment to create an image that will represent the art object in an appealing way... with colors as accurate as you can get them and lots of sharp details...and the object arranged in a way that is interesting and eye catching without being distracting.

I like to get as close to the finished image that i can with adjustments to the lighting and the camera even though some editing is certain to take place after the shoot.
I'm using a small camera, Canon SX510HS, which is more than a point and shoot but not an SLR with interchangeable lenses. There are lots of controls in the camera to adjust things like the density, vividness and color balance.
I use these in camera adjustments to create an image on the screen on the back of the camera that is as close to accurate. I look carefully at the object and then at the screen to see how closely the images are matched up.

the art object is placed on the table where the white to black turns to grey. i like the foreground to be white so the object goes right where the grey begins.
I look through the camera to create an appealing arrangement of the image showing all the details that i want. This always take some moving up and down with the camera, looking at the object with my eyes until i find the best angle and then looking at the camera image to see if i can get that same thing in the camera. When that's done sometimes i use a tripod.

I have my single light attached to a light stand. I turn it on and then turn off all the other lights in the room. This just takes care of most color balance problems. I was shooting in another room in my house with green walls. This really created all kinds of color balance problems. But then that was before i made this foam board set up.
The light shines down through the the diffusion screen on top of the set up. But not straight down onto the object. I like to bathe the front of the object with light (not just the top) the light is like a paint brush that i move around to "paint light" onto the object. I look at the image in the camera and move the light around until everything is illuminated nicely. I hold the light there with one hand and take the shot. Pretty simple really.

"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" Matt Hardy

new pieces...

new pieces just out of the kiln and photographed using the set up described earlier.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Digital photography....Lighting Set up

Ok, my many followers are asking about this. Well, at least one of you are, so here it is! Thanks for asking, Deborah. It's nice to know someone is actually reading my blog!

#1- Backdrop is graduated vinyl sheet available from

#2 - Backdrop is attached to wooden dowel with duct tape.

#3- Foam board used for house insulation. This is the kind with a silver reflective at Home Depot or any building supply. it comes is 4' x 8' sheets. cut it into 2 - 24" x 24" pieces for the sides. The back piece needs to be 24" tall and as wide as your backdrop plus an inch. Duck tape it together.
Make a notch about an inch from the back upper corners so that you can rest the dowel there.

#4- collapsable disk made of translucent fabric to diffuse the light. (The is a photo equipment item) This rests on top of the set up. Also available from Amazon.

#5- And last, but very important, a light source that is color corrected. I use a high wattage CFL like this one also at Amazon.

KAEZI 85 Watt Studio Light Bulb 5500K CFL Day Light.
This keeps the colors true in the picture. Turn off all the other lights in the room while shooting. Daylight coming in windows is OK to mix with this light. It is good to put this on a light stand. 

Ok , that's my set up. It is easy to take down and move out of the way. The foam board just folds up. The dowel i keep attached to the backdrop and just unroll it to use it. 

Next I'll post some tips about how to use this set up. Have fun ; )