Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Kevinharr

Photography Isn't Just Pressing A Button

Recommended Posts

Its a basic but decent camera , I have lights and background material . I have recently posted a few pics in the gallery but sculptures take differently to vases . I will  post a couple of pics . Thanks 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin,

 

I just (and only) looked at the two photos you just uploaded.

 

The conventions for art photography in this day and age are typically a seamless backdrop (background).  So the black tabletop and the white wall you are using are not helping you to start with.  Plus the huge dynamic range of those two values are wreaking hell with your camera's optics / processing.

 

Get something like a large sheet of Varitone graduated backdrop to make your life easier.  It gets supported in a gently bending curve from the foreground to the background........ making it fade from white to grey/black... and from in focus to out of focus.

 

Use the f stops and aperature to get the pot in focus and the background fading out. You usually do NOT want a huge depth of field. 

 

Next... your light sources seem kinda' "harsh".  Like bulbs aimed at the work.  Are you using diffusers between the lights and the pieces?  You can also use sheets of white foamcore or the like to bounce the light off of on its way to the pieces.  Unless you have a diffuser, don't point the lights right at the pieces.  Bounce the light.  Also....... look up the terrm "light tent".

 

Generally you want one dominant light and one fill light.  That captures 3 dimensionallity and surface texture. Change light positions and take test shots.  Delete the poor ones.  Digital is great. 

 

Even with digital, bracket your exposures a bit.  Shoot the largest files that your camera allows. 

 

Also you can use smaller pieces of white foamcore to bounce a small amount of light into places that there are objectionable shodows.  They usually are positioned JUST out of frame in the final photographs.

 

Quality lenses are the key to good photos.  DSLRs are the tool to use here for pro shots, with good optics as well as high pixels.

 

Hope that stuff helps.

 

best,

 

......................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charming ! Maybe I should of said quick fixes that don't require a lot of money spent on extra equipment and even more time spent on learning how to use them . Again tho thanks for your time 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few tips for cheaper set up. Works for me in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.  Get a piece of solid, flexible plain white paper(thick). Find an area outside around the house where in morning or later afternoon you get diffused light. Place the paper so that it is attached at the top to a wall or support, let it drape to natural curve. Place the work in view and check to see that shadows are minimal or non existent. If your camera has white balance use that on the backdrop. Use a tripod or similar, and take shots from different angles. Use different setting on camera. Most have a program mode (P), an aperture mode (A), and a Shutter speed mode (S). The first two are those of most use to you here.  Take sets using these modes, and compare.

This may help, but be aware taking shots of your artwork is as much an art as the artwork itself. Trading favors with a photographer may pay off in the long run big time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There has been a lot written here on this topic-it's one thing to make  ceramic work and yet another to great shots of it

so happens I have been shooting all week-not pottery but camera  lens and dive gear

I have had this setup for a long time now and they are mainstream now-as John says get a Varitone backdrop-this is an easy cube the lights need to be color balanced-I have nice ones but you can buy them on Amazon UK

They are these ones I use 5000 kelvin

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033XJLHY/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I use 4 lights on one side and one on the other and front light it with one

Get the right light on the pots and the right backdrop-B&H photo in US or a large London camera supply house  online sells all this as well.

You can do some on the cheap but you will need the basics

 

The photos can look like this potters cactus pot (not Mine) but I shot it without care as to reflections-that takes more time.

Go look at the Member GEP s website she has a nice setup thats very cheap to set up

You can find her posts easy and she moderates (her name is Mea) this business section.

Mark

post-8914-0-71807300-1390608182_thumb.jpg

post-8914-0-71807300-1390608182_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the plug Mark!

 

Here is my blog post about my photo setup, cheap and easy:

http://www.goodelephant.com/1/post/2013/06/budget-friendly-photo-stand.html

 

 

For the record, I don't think John B. said anything condescending or arrogant. As always, he provided thorough and expert-level information.

Missy likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Pres . Much more helpful and without the condescending, arrogant  "tone" . I will give it a whirl . Much appreciated 

Think you took the clear ,objective advice in John's post in the wrong way.

He reads, he thinks, he writes, nothing personal in there.

We're all fortunate that he takes the time to do this.

Babs

JBaymore and Chilly like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin,

 

Sorry you thought anything there was said as condescending or arrogant.  It was intended as far from that as possible. You asked for some basic help.  I thought I gave you some.  You said it wasn't basic enough.  I asked what points I could clarify.  End of story.

 

best,

 

.................john

Chilly likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mark C, that does help and it is appreciated. Although GEEZER, I didn't use the word ""professional" but thanks anyway. Also I did not say it wasn't " basic enough " but you are the man John so end of story it is . Regards 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that a gray tone roll up window shade also makes a great background. You can mount it to a wall and it rolls

up safely out of the way when not being used. Be careful when selecting the material. The really cheap ones can

can crinkle... impossible to smooth them out. 

 

Ruth

Missy likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can to geat photos on the cheap but the backdrop and color balanced lights are still needed or shoot with diffused natural light.

Lights are cheap now and backdrops can be homemade.

 

Since I have done so much simipro photo work mostly underwater past 35 years (topside with ceramics) its hard for me to think about cheap with photo gear

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevinharr ...

 

Today the impact of images is incredibly important, so your attention to the images you choose to show is crucial. Every image you present is telling everyone who sees it more about you and your work than you might imagine.

 

You might think some advice is too harsh, but not nearly as harsh as a juror or gallery owner making choices on what to select for a show or for purchase ... Trust me on that. Most of the time you only have a couple seconds before they go on to the next image.

 

A potters images ... NOTE* I said images not the actual artwork ... have to reflect not just talent, but the ability to present your work to the public. A lot of galleries and shows do not want to have to re-shoot ... They want to use your images so they will gravitate to artists who have great photos.

 

Now you can spend time learning photography or maybe you have a young photographer nearby who is just starting out and might barter with you ... Pots for shots?

 

A simple investment in a light tent with matching lights and a graded background will get you through your whole career. You learn your settings and get a run of photos done in as long as it takes you to move them in and out of the tent. The photos always look the same so you can mix and match over the years with ease. You have the perfect images to send to shows, galleries and publications. I highly recommend the EZ Cube system ... Their people will advise you over the phone and they are very friendly and knowledgeable.

 

Photos of your work are just as important as the work itself if you want to sell through others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(A simple investment in a light tent with matching lights and a graded background will get you through your whole career. You learn your settings and get a run of photos done in as long as it takes you to move them in and out of the tent. The photos always look the same so you can mix and match over the years with ease. You have the perfect images to send to shows, galleries and publications. I highly recommend the EZ Cube system ... Their people will advise you over the phone and they are very friendly and knowledgeable.

Photos of your work are just as important as the work itself if you want to sell through others.)

 

Spot on Chris-I got mine years ago from E-Z cube tabletop studios long ago-they now sell on amazon

The owner is pro photographer who does photo work for artists in Cal and elsewhere.

You can by these at many outlets-B%H photo has them

EZ cube can sell you the whole kit with great light stands-

The thing Chris said is if you always shoot your work with the same backdrop its always the same over the years-this will make a huge difference as she said you can mix or match as time goes buy.

I leaned this the hard way myself as I'm from a pre cube era. (maybe caveman fits)

So when I share my early cave drawings with fellow nethanderals the backgrounds are all different- and in the fire light my fellow cavers get upset.

but for the past 15 years they are the same thanks to this system (I started off with just a varitone backdrop)

Mark

Chris Campbell likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mea, John, Mark and Chris. I used a large Thunder Gray back drop for large pieces. The roll lasted a very long time. Then I went with the easy cube for table top sizes. That also has lasted years. I have two Varitone backdrops. One is large for large work. The other fits inside the easy cube.It is worth the investment and it lasts a long time.

 

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I invested quite a bit in lights and background but never got results that really showed off the work. Then I started shooting with natural light from a north facing window, which I slightly diffused with a silk-ish white curtain and a piece of white foam core on the other side of the ware to reflect the light. Now the photos show off my whites better. Also figured out how to properly use the white balance on my camera which was key of course. Wish I could get a refund on all the other equipment but maybe I'll use it someday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like I simplified things too much. Photography is not about just pushing a button, and understanding it takes quite a bit of understanding of lens apertures or F stops, understanding of how these relate to depth of field and Shutter speed. Slower shutter higher F stop, more depth of field and vise versa. Working with a backdrop requires decisions on whether to include the backdrop in the depth of field or outside of it thus blurring the depth of field. Other considerations other than lighting would include gradated backdrops which may be helpful especially if the piece has darker areas and lighter areas. Then comes the lighting. I have worked with pro lighting and with nat lighting, In the end I find that I am satisfied the most with the natural lighting as the shadows are more natural for me. Diffusion or bounced light works well for shadows from pro lighting, but I have not had the same feeling from it as sunlight.  I am just an amateur, and know there are problems with my own photos so this is all opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Wish I could get a refund on all the other equipment but maybe I'll use it someday. )

I could retire  year ago if this came true!

I can answer this question for you-you will not use it sell it now for whatever you can get and move on.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, once again, this boils down to "it all depends ..."

 

If you are just starting the process, and time is not an issue, then try all kinds of set ups to see where your work looks best. Time to learn what happens if you do x, y or z. Time to take a course on photography at night or read up on it at the library. Try a roll down shade and stand lighting. A presenter at NCECA last year did all his photography with a large white backdrop, stand lighting and a camera on a tripod. Just worked with exposure times to get depth of field and shadowing. Also knew his Photoshop program very well.

 

But things could get serious before you have time to do all the learning you need to do in photography.

You need your images right away ... need them taken while you have an hour between other things ... you have limited access to using sunlight. e.g. It could be eight o'clock at night or 8 degrees outside. That's when a fast and easy set up comes in very handy.

 

So, there's no one size that fits all. Once again you just have to do what suits you and your work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris wraped it up well again-I have shot over the years with natural light-strobes color balanced whatever-find what works for you.

What I have found is with the EZ ccube it does not matter time of day or weather and the resultd are always the same. Thats what appeals most to me about this setup. Mea's setup is cheaper and works the same day or night-so find what works for you and go with that.For me meassing with photoshop is a pain so I like to shoot it once and not edit much if at all.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×