upcoming photo tutorial
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by sirket on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:43 pm

johngineer wrote: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.

The blog actually covers a LOT of other lighting techniques. It definitely started with small off camera flashes, but he has also covered lightboxes/softboxes, dealing with reflective surfaces, using ambient and natural light sources, and a hundred other topics. It's definitely worth reading.

johngineer wrote: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.

I'm definitely looking forward to your posts. There's always tips and tricks you can learn.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:12 am

sirket wrote:The blog actually covers a LOT of other lighting techniques. It definitely started with small off camera flashes, but he has also covered lightboxes/softboxes, dealing with reflective surfaces, using ambient and natural light sources, and a hundred other topics. It's definitely worth reading.


Oh no doubt. I read it regularly, and I'm often impressed by his clever innovations. I just decided I wanted to write something specifically for makers, geared to their projects and goals. Since I'm a maker too, and I know a lot about photography, I figured I'd share it with y'all. :)

sirket wrote:I'm definitely looking forward to your posts. There's always tips and tricks you can learn.


Thanks! I'll be looking forward to your feedback too!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by Entropy on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:01 am

jmsaavedra wrote:+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

You need to "bring up" the background exposure using another light source, either by using a flash, or by using a powerful continuous light.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by sirket on Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:01 pm

Entropy wrote:
jmsaavedra wrote:+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

You need to "bring up" the background exposure using another light source, either by using a flash, or by using a powerful continuous light.

This is easily done with an SLR, or a reasonably adjustable camera with an adjustable or off camera flash.

Start by photographing the light source without any flash. Set your speed and aperture so that the LED looks properly exposed. The rest of the shot should be far too dark. Once that's set correctly, add a flash (preferably off axis) through a softbox, lightbox or umbrella (or off a ceiling) and adjust the flash output until it fills in the non-LED details correctly. There is a lot of flexibility here- experiment until you get something that looks good.

If you can't use a flash, then you need to supply enough light to the subject so that the reflected light is strong enough to balance the light from the LED. Balancing light is more difficult without a flash, but still very doable. With a light box, you should get excellent results.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by Entropy on Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 pm

Yup, pretty much. (Nearly all of that is covered in the aforementioned Strobist blogs.)

Lighting 101 is a great read, and should give someone enough info to figure out a solution that works with their particular camera.

(Exception: If the camera does not have any manual exposure modes, you're probably out of luck except for possibly balancing the background lighting with the LED so that the AE doesn't go wacko due to excessive contrast.)

If you want to balance using continuous light, you're going to need a LOT of light, and dimmable CFLs are hard to find. (Halogens go reddish-orange when they dim, hog power, and generate lots of heat.) This is why controlling illumination with a strobe is a lot easier.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:30 pm

Yup, Entropy and sirket pretty much summed it up.

Feel free to post-up any further questions you might have, folks.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by george graves on Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:09 am

Here what I've been working on. Johngeneer - hope I'm not stepping on your toes...I'm sure my skills are no where near yours. I'm really looking forward to what you have to say about LED's. I could use the help.

Anyways, here is what I built: It's refereed to as a light tent - someone people call it a light box. Please excuse the mess.

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½” PVC plastic conduit. You can use PVC plumbing pipe as well, it’s just the conduit is cheaper. I bought 40 feet – but only used 30. (I’ll buy another 10 feet and make a smaller box later.)

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The key to this thing is the corner pieces. They are referred to in the plumbing trade as “side out 90’s” – and one look at them you can see why. My local ACE Hardware had these. The “side out” part was threaded. I needed an adapter.

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miter box

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Clean up the edges with sand paper.

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It's just that simple. I'm making this one 3" cubed. But that's because I wanted to be able to take pictures of car's instrument clusters. I wanted the room to work.

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Set up up. Add lights. 2 - 200watt bulbs.

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and one used bed sheet. This one was really warn - and that was great, 'cause it let a ton more light in. 200 watts is not that much light when working with so much space. The smaller the light box - the less light you'll need.

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Turns boring photos like this....(same set up, no bed sheet)

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Into this! Well, that's just with a little cannon $120 point and shoot. It's really hard to adjust the exposure levels - I need to work on that. Anyways, not bad for $40 in parts and a bed sheet. Next I want to make or buy a little tri-pod, that will help a lot. You're often shooting at a low shutter speed. Slower than 1/60 of a second, and it's very easy to get blurs into the picture. I could really see jumping right up to a Nikon d80/d90. They are not *that* expensive. But for now, it's good to know you can get some decent pictures from a camera you bought at Walmart.

Here's some more samples of pictures I've taken with the light box/tent - it's really fun - hope you give it a try!

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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:05 am

george graves wrote:Here what I've been working on. Johngeneer - hope I'm not stepping on your toes...I'm sure my skills are no where near yours. I'm really looking forward to what you have to say about LED's. I could use the help.


Are you kidding George!? This is outstanding! :)

+1 georgegraves!

Incidentally, if you don't need a shooting tent as large as the one George built, or you don't want to build one, you can use a foldable laundry basket. Just make sure you get a white one.
Last edited by johngineer on Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by FazJaxton on Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:22 pm

+2 georgegraves! Those pictures look great!
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by enorcrove on Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:33 pm

When i saw your setup it reminded me of an article from strobist.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

I did it a little different by making all the paper on the sides removable so that you can shoot from any angle.

I know the whole idea is to be something that people can do with a point and shoot camera but i tried it with just one off camera flash. The setup could easily be done the same way with some incandescent lights.

The results:

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-Mike
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by george graves on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:30 pm

Cool beans! It's interesting that enorcrove picture's are taken from further away, and he is zoomed in - Well I would assume that anyways because the lines of the edges of the board are very parallel. Where I needed to get close to my subject because of the lens. Two very different looks.

Enorcrove, what kind of camera/lenses is that?

(oh John, fell free to use the pictures in your tutorial if you want - just credit me)

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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by enorcrove on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:45 pm

Well done George graves! You are correct the photos were taken from further away due to the same constraint you have. But the difference is that i need to be far away because my closest lens is a telephoto.

My setup specs. are:

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR
Nikon SB600 Flash

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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:16 pm

george graves wrote:(oh John, fell free to use the pictures in your tutorial if you want - just credit me)


Thanks, George. To be honest, I'm going in a completely different direction with my tutorial, but I'll probably post a link (with credit) to your shooting tent, as well as the strobist article, and a few other things.

And yes, focal length makes a big difference, especially when you're working with small items. Most product photographers (myself included) use longer focal lengths when shooting small stuff because it doesn't distort or exaggerate scale, and the increased distance from the product means you have more room to work (i.e. you're not right under those hot, hot lights) and you get slightly increased depth-of-field.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by itstemo1 on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:36 pm

How to do your tutorial with a CHEAP camera (4mp and only digital zoom).

Also how to remove the UGLY orange glow that i get from light bulbs.
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Re: upcoming photo tutorial

by johngineer on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:42 pm

itstemo1 wrote:How to do your tutorial with a CHEAP camera (4mp and only digital zoom).

Also how to remove the UGLY orange glow that i get from light bulbs.


I'm guessing those are things you'd like to see in the tutorial?

Well, I'm going to be using a 10-year-old camera with 3 megapixels and SmartMedia storage. I sincerely hope that's crappy enough for you. :)
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