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Hello, I would like to have a web site but am scared of the photography part. Can I take nice photos without using Photo Shop? Do I have to have expensive software? I have read so many old posts on how to set up a photo studio that my head is spinning. I feel like I a have good camera, a Sony Cybershot steady shot DSC-T9. I hope my question is not too general for you experts! Thanks for your time. Rita
You don't need expensive software OR an expensive camera setup
to take decent pictures. The CHEAPEST setup I ever made, involved
a lampshade ($6 at kmart) two cheap lights (don't know how much, I
got them at a garage sale) and some gray paper. Here's my picaso-like
rendering of the setup.
It's better if you do it outdoors during daylight, but indoors with the
cheap lights works just fine. Turn your flash OFF, turn your macro setting
ON. You can use a tripod or just balance the camera on top of the lampshade.
PM me with any questions.
Oh, and a big P.S.
The beauty about digital cameras is that you can take
THOUSANDS of pictures and it won't cost you one dime.
So do that. Take tons of pics and keep notes on what settings
you used. When I bought my first digital camera, I took
a $25 class at the parks and rec department in my city
called "using your digital camera". I walked up to the teacher
afterwards and told him what I was planning on doing. He
told me what settings to use to get the best results for my camera
and it worked like a charm. See if you have a class offered for beginners
at either your local parks and rec dept or perhaps a local camera store?
Rita, Yes you will need photo editing software. But Photoshop Elements is inexpensive. Around $60.00 Although it doesn't Have all the tools the full version of photoshop has, It has what you need. Their are a lot of tuts here to get you started. So don't be scared, Jump on in. The waters fine.
Another option for photoediting is irfanview ( http://irfanview.com/ ). Its free, and does quite a bit. I use it sometimes, but I usually use Paint Shop Pro, which I kind of consider to be the poor mans photoshop. The main reason I use PSP more is because I've memorized all the commands I like to use and I'm too old to remember 2 progams commands. I think irfanfview would do most of you need to do if budget is an issue. PSP is actually a pretty decent graphics program for the price... if you can figure it all out. (Although from what I can tell photoshop has a steep learning curve too.... if you're like me and know zilch about computer graphics either might take a while to learn)
I have found that I rarely make adjustments to bead pictures. I usually crop, resize, and sharpen. That's it. Once in a while for a pesky bead I adjust brightness or contrast, but that is rare. Not that my photos are super-duper stellar, but they aren't awful either. I think some sort of light tent is a great idea. Mine is homemade.
Make sure you understand your camera settings. Reading the manual proved very helpful to me. The ones I adjust :
Chose macro or supermacro if you have it.
Choose the "tungsten" (lightbulb) setting for your white balance.
Low ISO helps increase quality. It also means you need bright lights.
If you can choose, have your camera spot meter in the middle of the screen (Assuming the bead is centered in your viewfinder), so you meter off the bead and not the background.
Take shots at a bunch of different exposure compensations.
Use a tripod and the timer to reduce camera shaking.
My camera has a "user mode" that I set with all my bead settings. That way I don't have to constantly reprogram my camera. Here's a photo taken with my pentax optio S (the tiny camera that fits in an altoids tin... not a high falutin' professional camera by any means). Cropped, resized and sharpened, that's it. Not horrible for a hacker! (excuse the black stripes, they are just there to fit the picture into a square box , on a black background, on my web page.)
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