Learning each and every day

My quest to edify myself a bit every day

Archive for the category “photography”

Day 29 – January 29

Photography was the name of today’s game. I spent the better part of the day fiddling around with lighting to get the best possible picture. I also was able to use a better camera today and I was amazed at the absolute difference! My mom’s camera is still a point and shoot, but it’s much nicer than mine (apparently) as it takes much better pictures, they are brighter.

I took a bunch of pictures with natural light and of course ended up racing against the sun. I did manage to get pretty decent shots of everything before the sun disappeared completely. Once the sun was down, I decided to try to get some good shots using indoor lights. This proved to be a MUCH trickier proposition.

My equipment list:
1 clamp light with 1 CFL flood light, soft, 120w equivalent
1 halogen work light with 1 250w halogen bulb
1 lamp that I took apart and added a reflector with 1 CFL, daylight, 100w equivalent
several sheets to function as diffusers

I started out with my usual background setup, and placed the clamp and halogen lights behind it. I was hoping for something like this . . .. clearly I did something wrong. I tried many other configurations, and was surprised at how vastly different the results were.

1. Here I was playing around with diffusing the pop-up flash. I had the two lights behind the backdrop, and a rectangular piece of cardstock in front of the pop-up flash. You can see the shape of the diffuser in the pic.
2. Two lights behind the backdrop, no flash
3. One backlight, the clamp light, no flash
4. The clamp light behind the backdrop, the halogen light to the left, about 3 feet away. Notice the giant shadow behind the chair.
5. No back light, halogen light to the left with a sheet in front to act as a diffuser. The shadow is still there, but much less harsh.

Once I’d fiddled around photographing the chair (I think I must’ve taken around 50 shots), I moved on to the pants. I learned from my chair photographing experience, and tried some other things with the pants.

1. Halogen light to the left, clamp light to the right, both diffused with white cloths.
2. Same as number one, plus the extra lamp with the daylight bulb to the left of the camera directed towards the pants. Notice how much more blue the color is. And also how the pants seem to be a different shade of blue.
3. Same as number two, with the extra lamp moved to directly behind and the camera. The whole picture is cooler with just a bit of the warmer color behind the mannekin.

And a quick shot of my setup.

Again, none of these pictures are stellar, but I consider a beginner, so I’m gonna go ahead and cut myself a giant amount of slack=)

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Day 19 – January 19

Today I learned that being a photographer that exclusively uses natural light is like being a singer . . . both are captive to things over which they have no control. In the case of photography, you never know when a cloud is going to come and obscure the sun, or when it’s going to be rainy or windy or any other condition that could change your photography plans. In the case of singing, it’s the only instrument that can be totally derailed by a simple cold. Sure, a pianist will feel miserable, and maybe have less stamina with a cold. But technically, they are still physically capable to playing the piano. A vocalist, on the other hand, may completely lose their voice, or their cords might be so thickened that they fail to approximate properly, thus making it nigh unto impossible to get a good, focused sound.

This was a surprising discovery for me as I never imagined that singing and photography had much in common, aside from being professions that require creativity. How did I stumble upon this, you ask? I’ve been working on getting photos put together so that I can list my wares in my etsy shop. The pants I’ve made are well-tailored, and as such, it makes sense to have good, quality photographs. I knew enough about photography to know that natural light produces better images, to not take photos directly into the light source, and to use a tripod. After snapping 40+ pictures and coming up with nothing, I realized that I still lacked alot of knowledge. These are the first round of photos.

See the shadows, and the lack of detail, especially on the blue pants? Not good at all! (Click on the pics to see them better.)

So I spent about an hour or so looking through Pinterest to find photography lighting tips. I came away with all sorts of ideas, and chose to implement just a few.
First, I took the pics in front of our giant east-facing picture window, but instead of shooting into the window or away from the window, I shot the photos parallel to the window. I also found a way to drape fabric behind the pants and I used a reflecting board, AKA, metallic car sun shade.

The results?

I wouldn’t say that they are stellar, but certainly much better than before. And really, not bad for my junkola point and shoot camera! Next, I plan on fiddling with the compression settings to get higher quality photos, and then hope for a day that isn’t quite as dark and overcast.

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