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6 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

@Min @Callie Beller Diesel @Mark C. @GEP So are all of you still using traditional fade-to-black backgrounds for show entries, or are you using the  photos you use on your web sites?

I used the black-to-white fade backdrop for show applications up until this year. This year I used my solid gray fabric / natural light photo stand for my show entries, and the juries seemed to like it (got into the Smithsonian show with these photos).

More examples of this photostand's results: http://www.goodelephant.com/recent-work.html

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8 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

@Min @Callie Beller Diesel @Mark C. @GEP So are all of you still using traditional fade-to-black backgrounds for show entries, or are you using the  photos you use on your web sites?

Neither-I rarely shoot good  pottery photos these days.But if I did it is with the graduated background

These days I just use my phone and take a shot of some pots for distant return customers . The other day it was a bunch of colors of soup mugs that day before it was 8 mugs-then the customer picks out of the photo what they want and I ship it out.

I have a package of 5 mugs to Ohio and and one with 4 soup mugs to so-cal now waiting until Dec 26th to go out(UPS is brutal on stuff right now)

Edited by Mark C.

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1 hour ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

Min, do you live near a good camera store? There are places here in Calgary that will let you rent the fancy equipment for a few days to test it out for a reasonable cost (think $35 CAD/day for a fancy boom light plus all chargers and cords). It can be a good option for those who only need to use those items on occasion. I tried renting soft boxes similar  the ones in your link, and I found I had trouble with the footprint they required to set up.  I needed to clear out the guest room to have enough room to set up, which wasn't practical. When I asked one of the tech guys at The Camera Store, he also recommended a colour correct bulb in a cheap metal clamp light. He said as long as the light is diffused somehow, the housing won't make a lot of difference.

Local camera stores are getting hard to find around me. But if you have one, most of them offer workshops on how to use a DSLR, for anyone who is interested in learning. If you tell an instructor that you are shooting pottery on a photo stand, they can probably give you some targeted good advice. 

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@neilestrick, I was but want the option to go in another direction. 

Think my problem was I was looking for one setup for taking all shots and some of my pieces can be too big for my current cube tent. For bigger pieces I think I'm going to try make up some diffusion panels to go in front of the lights from parchment paper or something. Thanks for the suggestion of renting lighting Callie but I went ahead and ordered better bulbs and reflectors from Amazon Canada. My last lights came with tripod stands, bulbs and reflectors. One of the bulbs actually separated into 2 pieces and the reflectors don't stay attached to the tripods. 

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Just now, Min said:

@neilestrick, I was but want the option to go in another direction. 

Think my problem was I was looking for one setup for taking all shots and some of my pieces can be too big for my current cube tent. For bigger pieces I think I'm going to try make up some diffusion panels to go in front of the lights from parchment paper or something. Thanks for the suggestion of renting lighting Callie but I went ahead and ordered better bulbs and reflectors from Amazon Canada. My last lights came with tripod stands, bulbs and reflectors. One of the bulbs actually separated into 2 pieces and the reflectors don't stay attached to the tripods. 

Many papers, especially parchment, will not give good color accuracy with the lights. They tend to be too yellow. Try something like a white butcher paper. Anything that's a good bleached pure white. I bought a roll of diffusion plastic years ago that works great, but I can't remember what brand it is. There are a lot out there on the market.

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6 hours ago, neilestrick said:

@Min @Callie Beller Diesel @Mark C. @GEP So are all of you still using traditional fade-to-black backgrounds for show entries, or are you using the  photos you use on your web sites?

The show culture in Canada is a bit different than in the US.  Most notably, no one charges a fee just to apply.  The organizers typically want to see images on a plain white background, a very minimally styled one, or will simply ask you for your website and social media handles and jury you from your images there. The logic on that last one is that they want to see if you're comporting yourself with a certain level of professionalism in your day to day operations, as evidenced by your ability to make new work and post (market yourself) regularly. If they want images with a higher, print friendly resolution, they'll typically ask for them after you've been accepted. That said, if you want to be one of the artists they feature, if you give them good material to work with, it ups your chances. 

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1 minute ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

The show culture in Canada is a bit different than in the US.  Most notably, no one charges a fee just to apply.  The organizers typically want to see images on a plain white background, a very minimally styled one, or will simply ask you for your website and social media handles and jury you from your images there. The logic on that last one is that they want to see if you're comporting yourself with a certain level of professionalism in your day to day operations, as evidenced by your ability to make new work and post (market yourself) regularly. If they want images with a higher, print friendly resolution, they'll typically ask for them after you've been accepted. That said, if you want to be one of the artists they feature, if you give them good material to work with, it ups your chances. 

I wish it was like that here. I'll spend at least $800 just on application fees this year. It's a ripoff, for sure. Large shows will charge $40 for the jury fee, and get 1,000+ applications. There's no way they're spending all that money on the jury process. 

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We also don't really have an analogous level of fine art shows, to say, the one Mea does at the Smithsonian, and certainly not in the same numbers across the country that you do.

Some of that is our population difference, and some of that is the fact that Canadians can be quite conservative as a group when it comes to art funding. Craft show organizers are expected to make their money from booth fees, and most will charge shoppers an entry fee so that the booth fees don't get out of reach for emerging artists. It also gives them an opportunity to collect names for a mailing list and do a head count to see if their marketing efforts are effective. 

Also, outdoor shows are mostly a summertime novelty, with a few notable exceptions. The only reason I own a tent is because I do a particular farmer's market that's helped me build a following in a lucrative area.

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7 hours ago, GEP said:

This year I used my solid gray fabric / natural light photo stand

I love the look, and that the ground is fabric. It's a tidge dark for my personal taste, but I think the gray-on-gray is quite effective and pleasing. I am beginning to "get it"  that "less is more", in terms of distilling and simplifying my form and color decisions.  I just bought a very servicable camera (Sony alpha6000) w/ 2 lenses-normal & long). Now I have to learn it's features & settings, which is hard for me---I forget how to get to the settings I want (minior brain issues-just have to be patient w/myself, but it is a PITA).  Anyway, the point is that by taking a page from Mea's book on  simplicity (which is paradoxicaly a bit complex at the same time) I can probably come up with a lighting & background set-up that doesn't need much fiddling with to get consistency in my product shots. 

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Using an iPhone is fine in some ways. But the thing is it distorts the actual shape of the piece,  giving a misinterpretation of what it actually looks like.

Kind of important if you're using the photo to sell a piece.

For instance, this cylinder has absolutely straight up and down parallel walls. It does not taper bottom to top.  Hard to capture this with the iPhone lens...

IMG_6989-XL.jpgIMG_6987-XL.jpg

Edited by Rex Johnson

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