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Thread: Photo studio setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    2,668

    Photo studio setup

    I recently bought this portable photo studio:
    http://www.digitalfotoclub.com/produ...64703159&rf=dt

    I have a 4 megapixel sony digital camera. Nothing fancy.
    I am still not able to take good quality pictures like Steve Schlumpf or Vaughn. I think that the lights that came with the studio kit are not powerful enough.

    Do you guys take shots in the Macro mode?

    Any ideas??

    Could anyone post pictures of their photo studio setup and provide specs on the lights etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Mohammad, what model is your Sony camera? I'd like to look up the info on it to see what options you might have available.

    For lights, I'm using three 5500K compact fluorescent bulbs (I think they're about 30 watts) in cheap clamp-on aluminum reflectors. I'm also shooting with my camera on a tripod, and I use the controls on the camera to take a long exposure through a small hole (higher f-stop numbers). I'll post pics of my setup later tonight when I get home.

    As far as I know, macro mode will help if you're holding the camera real close to the subject of the picture, but I think you'll get better results with the camera a bit farther away.

    If you'd like, feel free to post a sample picture or two, and maybe among us all we can come up with some ideas to help.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Harvey, Michigan
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    687

    My Photo Setup

    Mohammad,

    Just for your info - I am using a Canon A70 3.2 meg camera. The photo of my setup shows the tent I am using: http://cgi.ebay.com/PRO-PHOTO-TENT-L...QQcmdZViewItem

    and I am using this for a graduated backdrop: http://www.phototechinc.com/graduate.htm There are a number of different backdrops at this site - I am using #39 as per Neal's recommendation. #9 looks great but is very dramatic and you have to be very selective when you use it as it will absorb the light and color of most pieces.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I use 40 watt Daylight flourescent bulbs that are 5700K temp rating. They are mounted in cheap reflectors - one located subject height and to the left and the other is ceiling level and to the right of the item being photographed. I have the white-balance set for flourescent bulbs, daylight or hot setting.

    Normally I shoot all photos in the macro mode - mainly because my camera will not go smaller than F8 -which in turn prevents me from backing up and using the telephoto to increase the focal length.

    My camera has a couple of manual options to allow for user control. I shoot everything in AV mode - allows me to select the F stop and the camera selects the shutter speed.

    I hope this helps answer some of your questions. If there is something else I can help with... please ask.

    Oh, in case you were wondering... the green level in the foreground is actually used to make sure the subject is level before I take any photos.
    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Decatur, Illinois
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    177
    here's a pdf file from bob hawks on the subject:
    http://www.woodturner.org/products/a...ks_article.pdf

    also he has a video on the woodworking channel site. go there and click on aaw, then on bob hawks:
    http://www.woodworkingchannel.com/do...eo_library.php

    he has 40 years as a professional photographer and is a juried woodturner so he's directing his instructions on how to photograph woodturnings.
    Last edited by Clark O'Neill; 04-09-2008 at 03:23 AM.
    99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name...Steven Wright.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2007
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    Thank you both for replying. I got some nice tips from your replies.

    Vaughn, I have a Sony DSC-P92 camera and it is actually 5 megapixels. I take shots at full resolution. I just use the autofocus to take the shots.

    Here are a couple of tries:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC00397.JPG   DSC00398.JPG  

  6. #6
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    Clark, thanks for the links.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    Clark has posted some good links. As promised, here's my setup...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    For the light stands, I'm using a boom microphone stand leftover from my rock and roll days, and a cheap camera tripod with a boom arm on it. (Something left behind by LOML's dad.) I still often do final lighting and contrast adjustments with Photoshop after taking the pics.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Mohammad, with a few tweaks, you pic looks not bad at all...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The monitor I'm working on, is a little dark (it is OLD) so I might have lightened you pic too much, but I think you can see that with a few tweaks in a photo editing program, your pics are fairly good, not that mine are any better

    Keep at it!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Mohammad, I'll second Stu's comments. You're already pretty darned close. The pics are not bad at all. The focus is a bit soft, but that's fairly common in digital cameras, and most photo editing software has some type of "Sharpen" adjustment. A little goes a long way, but it can help. You can also lighten the pics just a little bit with photo editing software.

    Here's my "before and after" attempt...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I lightened the shadows, bumped up the midtone contrast, rotated it 2 to the left, and increased the sharpness just a little bit. Then I cropped it a bit to center it and clean up the edges after rotating it. Some people might consider it to be cheating, but it's nothing a photographer wouldn't be doing in the darkroom. I do similar treatment to most of the pics I've shown here.

    Also, I looked at the specs on your camera, and here are a few things you might try (if you haven't already)...
    • Set the light meter to "spot" instead of "miulti-segment".
    • Increase the exposure compensation a bit. Try a series of pics starting at zero and working your way up to 1 or 2 (in 1/3 increments) and see which one gives you the best results.
    • If you are using a tripod, try also using the camera's self-timer. That'll get rid of any camera movement from pressing the shutter button.
    • Disable your flash. (I think you're already doing that, looking at the pics.)
    I hope this helps -

    BTW, very nice goblet, too.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Well, I might as well toss my latest attempts at picture taking in here.........

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    Pics taken with the new camera, I was playing with the settings, but I really need to read up on this stuff, so I can know what I'm doing, and how to do it on my camera.

    And this is my set up.........

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    Two lights, both compact fluorescents, 5000K lights. I bought one more today, it is a 6000K compact fluorescent, so we shall see how that works.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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