upcoming photo tutorial
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upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:14 pm

Hey all.

I'm going to start working on a photo tutorial for makers that will help folks take better pictures of their projects. I'd like to know from you guys: what sort of things would you like to see addressed in this tutorial? Are there any specific questions you'd like to see answered?

Let me know, and I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by franklin97355 on Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:43 pm

The two I see as needing attention are focus and flat lighting. the first is, in my case a result of not getting an even flat light (and a crappy camera, which I've remedied).
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by DarrenG on Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:23 am

I've always struggled to get decent images of devices etc using a pop-up lightbox type set-up.

How to achieve uniform lighting and remove all the shadows so the item stands out against the background (and can be cut out easily in PS perhaps?) is what I'd like to see tips on!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by freaklabs on Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:30 am

Hey, looking forward to the photo tutorial. One of my major weaknesses is doing interesting projects and taking crappy photos. Hope to do some of my projects justice one of these days. Good call, Johngineer :)
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:09 am

freaklabs wrote:One of my major weaknesses is doing interesting projects


Not something I would readily admit... ;)

Incidentally, if you guys want to post up examples of photos you're unsatisfied with, I could take a look at them. I might even use some in the tutorial (names will be changed to protect the innocent, of course) :)
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by isonno on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:15 am

I would love to see some discussion of how to take good pictures of glowing LEDs and displays, in particular those that are strobed for multiplexing and/or PWM control. In my experience with Puzzlemation, the LED displays were a major challenge to photograph and video. What looks bright, colorful and rock solid in "real life" turns into a flickering washed out mess as soon as you point a camera at it.

I found you can clean things up a bit for photos by using longer shutter times, but I found I still needed to re-saturate the colors in Photoshop to get something that looks nice. Video is an even bigger challenge, because you don't have much control over the shutter speed. It's also very difficult to set up the lighting - either the LEDs are washed out, or they over-saturate and lose all their color. I'd be tempted to rent professional video equipment if I knew it would solve those problems.

Thanks!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by Len17 on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:28 am

When photographing circuit boards, how do you make the printing on chips legible? I know it's something to do with lighting, but I've just been going by trial & error.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:56 pm

Wow, some great answers so far!

I'm probably going to have to split this thing up into sections.

Keep 'em coming!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by jmsaavedra on Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:16 pm

+1 on photographing LEDs. How can i have enough light to show the object / board but little enough light to show the LEDs glowing? It always feels like it's one or the other
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by tronixstuff on Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:33 pm

Would you please have a section about the types of lighting to use? And how each type could affect the image when taken with a digital camera? I am colourblind and what looks OK to me can look really ... weird to non-colour-challenged people. Thank you
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:26 pm

Perhaps I'll do a separate article just about shooting LED projects, since that poses unique problems (with unique solutions).
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by echoskope on Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:55 pm

Hey guys I see alot of you are concerned with lighting! Here is what I use for lighting!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30323584@N03/

I originally put this together because I needed to take a portrait shot for my website of myself, and was having a really hard time with just room lights! As you can see its pretty much those really cheap parabolic reflectors you can buy at a hardware store with CF bulbs in them, and then (heres the secret), I use Rosco R119 lighting gel (they use it in theater lighting) to diffuse the beam so I get a much more even light! I actually put 2 gels on top of each other, but its a really cheap way to make your own softbox! Another tip, before I got the gels, I used wax paper (since the CF's don't get hot).
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by echoskope on Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:56 pm

Oh and I use a Canon PowerShot A470 (which if you google it, you will see its a typical consumer grade camera, cost me about $100 when I bought it).
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by sirket on Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:17 pm

http://strobist.blogspot.com

Dave covers all aspect of photographic lighting, but with an emphasis on small, off camera flashes.

LOTS of good information in the web site, including how to control and shoot light sources (like an LED) and just a ton of other information sprinkled throughout. (Check out the "assignments" as well).

For an excellent book on the subject:
Light, Science and Magic by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua

http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Introduction-Photographic-Lighting/dp/0240808193/

John: I'm definitely looking forward to your insights here.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:53 pm

Strobist is interesting, and he does a lot of neat stuff using just shoe flash. Unfortunately, most of the stuff he does isn't practical for people who only have a point and shoot camera, though it's useful for learning about the nature of light. I'm probably going to focus more on consumer-level equipment and how to use it.

One thing I've noticed (particularly back when I used to be in camera sales) is that once you explain to folks how to use the camera, their pictures get a LOT better. This seems completely intuitive, but most people just think "a camera is a camera" and it's going to do auto-everything and you don't have to adjust it. The truth is there are lots of little things you can change, depending on what you're shooting, that can make a huge difference in the output. I'm hoping to discuss this stuff generally (since regardless of make most cameras have the same controls), to help shed some light (photographer joke, sorry) on the subject.
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