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High Bridge Pottery

How Do You Take Photographs And Keep Them Consistent?

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I bought myself a portable photo studio. One of those things that has 7 sides of semi transparent fabric with a removable front panel and backdrops you can velcro in. I have taken photos of my work about 5 times but I still can't get them to stay consistent.

 

I use full manual with ISO 100, F25, neutral colour and daylight white balance. I use two 5200k light bulbs to light my work. I have a Canon EOS 600D.

 

When taking the photos, depending on the glaze, I have to adjust the shutter speed to get the right exposure. Is this the best way to do it? I really don't know much about cameras. Even though I have a tripod some come out slightly blurred (think I need to work out a delay after pressing the button or get a thing so I don't need to press the button). Even the same pot with the same shutter speed can come out different. Maybe it is my light placement as I don't really know where to place them.

 

How do you keep consistent photos? Maybe I am messing up the shutter speed somewhere or because I am doing it over multiple days the lighting is slightly changing. I don't know.

 

Having to spend a while in Photoshop changing the exposures so that they match throughout the piece for the different angles.

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I know very little about shooting with artificial light  (not something I ever use)  but I'd say f25 is way too high, I never go above f16 and that's for insect macros.

 

Full manual is going to be tricky if you don't know much about cameras - full auto will probably be better, but not best, try Av mode for starters @ f8.

 

f8 will be a much better starting point, and your 600D should go to ISO 400 without getting noisy.

 

If the camera is on a tripod you can use the inbuilt self timer to eliminate any shake.

 

What sort of shutter speeds are you getting?

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My reason for using such a high F was to have it all in focus, maybe it was a little bit over kill. I just thought the more light the better and I didn't really want any depth of field blur.

I did try the Av option and full auto but it was giving me way different looking images. I went for artificial light as I thought it would be easier to get a consistent shot. I guess the light will vary depending if I am shooting at night or in the day as more light will be around. Maybe I will have to do all the shots at night.

 

Looks like I might have to read the manual as I couldn't find the self timer just flicking through the menus. I am going to get round to installing the software on my computer so I can shoot from there with the cable going to the camera.

 

For my white glazed pots the shutter speed was 1-2 seconds and for my darker tenmoku it was up to 3-4 seconds. I turned the wheel until it was in the middle of the exposure line or whatever that little scrolly thing is. Some of my top down shots were even up to 6 seconds.

 

Should I be shooting in 300dpi ? My camera is shooting in 72dpi (or ppi as it says in the metadata) I have the standard lens 18-55mm.

 

Here is a photo of my setup

post-23281-0-08107000-1412027408_thumb.jpg

post-23281-0-08107000-1412027408_thumb.jpg

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There was an extensive post on lighting and setup a while back ,do a search.A number of the experts here contributed to the cause.

I've searched but have been unsuccessful.

J Baymore contributed a very detailed method and setup, hopefully you can find the post I am referring to.

maybe google it , the post may not have ben tagged or have an obscure heading.

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You only need f10 to f16 to capture a whole pot in focus. F25 is not necessary and is contributing to the variation in shutter exposure time. But yes generally you need a longer exposure for a dark pot compared to a light pot, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

 

Yes you should only be shooting at night, with the rest of the lights in the room off, in order to keep the lighting consistent. Also let your bulbs heat up 5 minutes or so before you start shooting so they reach full brightness.

 

I use a 2 second delay when I shoot, because your finger might wiggle the camera when pushing the shutter button.

 

If you are shooting pots of different colors, try "bracketing" each shot. Take three different exposures, the one in the middle being the one you think is correct. Once you get them large on your computer screen, you might find that the lighter or darker one is better. Hardly takes any more time to bracket while you're shooting. But if you get the photo on your computer and decide the exposure is wrong, it's a lot of wasted time to shoot the pot again.

 

It doesn't matter if your photos are 72ppi or 300ppi. It's the overall number of pixels that matter. So just take the largest photos your camera will take.

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Guest JBaymore

Try to find a course on digital imaging. You'll learn amazing things. Like how certain file types deteriorate every time you open them.

 

If you camera supports RAW files...... use them not jpgs and the like.

 

Learn to use Photoshop.

 

Remember to white balance the camera before each shooting session.

 

Let your lights "warm up" before shootiong.... the color temperature changes a bit. Let em' stabilize.

 

Learn to use the in-camera metering system...... average weighting versus spot and so on.

 

Learn to use reflector sheets to fix lighting.... (can be a simple as a sheet of white paper).

 

As Mea said... bracket exposures like you used to do for that strange stuff........ film. ;)

 

Use difusers on all light sources. Bounce the light when possible.

 

Standardize your backdrop material.

 

best,

 

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

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Looks like I might have to read the manual as I couldn't find the self timer just flicking through the menus. I am going to get round to installing the software on my computer so I can shoot from there with the cable going to the camera.

 

Should I be shooting in 300dpi ? My camera is shooting in 72dpi (or ppi as it says in the metadata) I have the standard lens 18-55mm.

 

Check out  *drive mode* for the self timer. Single shot / high speed continuous /low speed continuous / self 10 sec / self 2 sec.

 

I have no idea how many dpi I use, I just choose the largest file under "Quality"

 

SilverStuddedBlue_zpsfd5578b6.jpg

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Thank you everybody. Got a lot more research to do but I will get there in the end :D Going to have to find myself a small notepad and write down each of the steps as I will never remember all of it in one go. I think Photoshop is the only thing that I do know how to use. I have never really gone past CS3 but it suits me just fine.

 

Ah so it was hidden away there, I thought that was just for single shots or multiple shots...

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I have moved to setting the backdrop up outside. I like the colors I get with natural lighting and the lack of a truly awesome electric light set up left me with hotspots. I've been happy since making that move. I used to have to take dozens of shots under the electric lighting to get it right. now, I can set up the backdrop and bang out pieces for the web in short order.

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I have moved to setting the backdrop up outside. I like the colors I get with natural lighting and the lack of a truly awesome electric light set up left me with hotspots. I've been happy since making that move. I used to have to take dozens of shots under the electric lighting to get it right. now, I can set up the backdrop and bang out pieces for the web in short order.

 

Up in the north of England we have grey skies. Not good light for photographing pots. I would love to be able to rely on beautiful sunlight but it is just not something that happens regularly.

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post-1954-0-27670300-1412120341_thumb.jpgpost-1954-0-43813200-1412119100_thumb.jpgThis is my setup. I use an old lamp stand and an old tripod with clip on reflectors with daytime blue bulbs, the varitone backdrop inside the cube.I can raise the backdrop for taller pieces or use a large piece directly on the wall/floor for large pieces.

 

I have been using this setup for several years.

post-1954-0-43813200-1412119100_thumb.jpg

post-1954-0-27670300-1412120341_thumb.jpg

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Actually cloudy days are the best for taking photos outdoors. I use my east facing covered front porch and take photo after 4:30pm after the sun has dipped below my roofline on days that aren't cloudy. I usually have to do a little adjustment in photoshop but not much.

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I use overcast days also, use f16 for most shots, have a point and shoot small sensor, but for most stuff is fine. Don't worry much about pixel count. Store all my shots in TIFF as it transfers to almost all and does not degrade on saves and edits as JPEGs do. I have purchased a gradated background that I am anxious to try for larger pots. May get a tent for small things. Can take the time to do a great amount of editing with Photoshop, GIMP, or others, but would prefer not to.

 

Over the years of taking pictures of student work I have certainly found a number of things out about light. Fluorescent lighting in the classroom would make jewelry shots look golden when made of silver, back then make sure to get film that works with them. Nowadays white balance every time you set up. Just learning the differences in sensor size, and pixel count, so will probably move up to at least a 1" sensor. I really do not look forward to carrying around a bag of lenses and other equipment when traveling so I will still stay with a more advanced bridge point and shoot.

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Up in the north of England we have grey skies. Not good light for photographing pots. I would love to be able to rely on beautiful sunlight but it is just not something that happens regularly.

 

 

Ha, living in Sheffield that's the exact reason I decided to move indoors.

 

Actually cloudy days are the best for taking photos outdoors.

 

..Not much fun when it's raining though.

 

I'm still using my phone camera but was surprised what an improvement adding some LEDs with paper over them made to my shots. Can't see me affording a fancy camera any time soon :(

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Actually cloudy days are the best for taking photos outdoors. I use my east facing covered front porch and take photo after 4:30pm after the sun has dipped below my roofline on days that aren't cloudy.

PSC's exactly right... for the same reason all these photo setups involve "tents" with lights outside: to avoid harsh shadows and create a more diffuse light source.  A bright but cloudy day is ideal for outdoor photography.  If you do have bright sun without clouds, hanging a bed sheet to soften the sunlight can help a lot, and don't shoot when the sun is high in the sky.  (Alternately, you can set up reflectors to fill in the shadows... white foam-core board works here.)

 

Photography is an art in itself, and composition aside, it's all about controlling the light.  That's why product photographers tend to work indoors where they have complete control over the lighting. Watch some YouTube videos about professional shoots... you'll be amazed at how much work goes into diffusers and reflectors to manage the light "just so".

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Like Highbridge, I bought a photo tent with a couple of 5200 Kelvin lights. Tried a couple of different digital cameras. My reds are just not coming out very bright.  I'm actually getting better colors shooting on our breakfast table underneath a full spectrum light. This  even works better than our current gray days sunlight in Spokane  This is a little bewildering to me because in the winter, we should have significant red shift in the natural light.  I fiddled with the white balancing etc. and it does not make a net improvement under the photo lights. It just moves the problem to another color band. I think I need to supplement the photo lights with something like ones in the 2800 to 3000 Kelvin to pick up the Reds.

 

What temperature lights do folks find works best for bright colored pottery?

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It's probably only a matter of personal taste, but Lightroom is awesome for post-processing. You can switch very easily from a picture to another and you have direct access to exposure, contrast, warmth, etc. You can set some presets to re-use on your pictures later, or just copy and past your post processing parameters to other images.
When you're shooting, just make sure to set up a specific White balance (usually basic daylight) and not (never ever) automatic white balance. It will screw the colours on every single pictures.

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Like Highbridge, I bought a photo tent with a couple of 5200 Kelvin lights. Tried a couple of different digital cameras. My reds are just not coming out very bright. I'm actually getting better colors shooting on our breakfast table underneath a full spectrum light. This even works better than our current gray days sunlight in Spokane This is a little bewildering to me because in the winter, we should have significant red shift in the natural light. I fiddled with the white balancing etc. and it does not make a net improvement under the photo lights. It just moves the problem to another color band. I think I need to supplement the photo lights with something like ones in the 2800 to 3000 Kelvin to pick up the Reds.

 

What temperature lights do folks find works best for bright colored pottery?

If you call the photo light suppliers they can tell you exactly what lights you need. That's how I got a good balance for my brightly colored work. I use the EZ Cube and three lights.

I am currently learning Lightroom and yes, it is a chore right now.

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