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The Dark Room -- Photo Editing and Picture Taking. Advice, tutorials, questions on all things photoshop, photo editing, and taking pictures of beads or glass.

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  #1  
Old 2005-12-05, 8:54pm
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Default What's wrong with this picture?!

I need some help with photos - I've been struggling with getting good quality pictures for a long, long time now, and this is the closest I've come, but I still think something in the lighting is "off". Can anyone tell what it might be, by looking at the pictures? I am using an EZ Cube with a lights on stands, one on each side, I've set the White Balance on my camera (Nikon Coolpix 4500) to Incandescent, and pulled the image into Adobe Photoshop, where I changed the level of the background (just hit Control L, then the far left "dropper").

I would appreciate any suggestions! (Besides maybe taking the beads off of the mandrels before taking photos!!)





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Old 2005-12-06, 6:57am
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The only real "problem" I see is the shadows. I would try moving your lights farther away from the tent and turn off all the other lights in the room. The third photo especially. The big highlight in the center of the bead is caused from lights either being too close, or not being diffused. You may also want to try different white balance settings on your camera. Since you are photographing such a large area of white, your camera doesn't always "see" it correctly.

You aren't using any flash, are you?
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  #3  
Old 2005-12-06, 9:29am
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I agree with Cosmo on lighting not being defused enough.... You may also what to try something different for background.... Light grey backgrounds seem to be more camera friendly than pure white....

Dale
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Old 2005-12-06, 11:05am
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What sort of light are you using? flourescent, regular incandescent, daylight incandescent? I got my best colors using "natural light" daylight type incandescents.
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Old 2005-12-06, 8:44pm
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Thanks for all of the suggestions - I'm going to try them out right now. I had the lights set up so they were partly shining into the cube, I will try moving them completely over to the sides so the light is more diffused. I'm not using any flash, the flash did go off once, and that picture was completely washed out.

I'm not exactly sure what the bulbs are, I bought them a few years ago. All they say on them is "Reveal Reader", 150w. The bulbs are made of glass that has a purple tint - I don't know if that tells you anything! I have them set up in very inexpensice clip on fixtures - I think they are aluminum, and they are dome shaped....
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Old 2005-12-06, 9:59pm
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Woohoo! First try at some different set up options and I like it! I'll have to play with it some more tomorrow - thanks so much for the suggestions!!! Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! The 3rd beaded bracelet picture and the second wire bracelet were taken on a really pale pinkish fabric. It turned much darker in the photo - I'll look for a gray background to try next time.









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Old 2005-12-06, 10:04pm
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Do you have photoshop? You can print a gradient gray or any other color background. I did a gray one and a gradient light pink and a blue. Sometimes they are really interesting to shoot beads and jewelry on. Depending on the color, it can really make your beads and jewelry "Pop".
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Old 2005-12-06, 10:08pm
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I'll have to try that! I think I just saw a bunch of gradient backgrounds on Evan's website. Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 2005-12-07, 9:23am
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If you are looking for different color backgrounds go to a art supply store and look over selections of colored poster papers.... Usually run about $1 to $1.50 a sheet....

Dale
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Old 2005-12-08, 1:36pm
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The only other thing I would suggest is using a tripod if you aren't already using one. A few of the pictures look a little fuzzy, but that could just be my monitor. If you want to take close up photos of the object, you should use a tripod whenever possible to ensure crisp photos.
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Old 2005-12-08, 1:56pm
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Hi - these are the first pictures that I have taken, using a tripod - much steadier! The pictures look fuzzier on my monitor at work than they do at home - amazing the difference! I thought it also could be the background, using paper will probably be better than the fuzzy fabric stuff! I'm going to experiment again tonight!
Thanks!
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Old 2005-12-08, 2:33pm
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Yeah, I'm at work too, and we use those flat panel monitors. So maybe it's just that. Good luck with experimenting!
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Old 2005-12-08, 11:31pm
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I found that with a tripod I still got the fuzzys, the slightest pressure when pushing the button can take the photo out of wack. I learned to set the timer on my camera and that solved that problem. I get clear photos every time now...not always good but they are clear.
Ruth
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  #14  
Old 2005-12-18, 8:17am
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Default Thanks for all of the tips!!

I've been working on this all week, I've replaced all of my bracelet photos on my website now. I am so much happier with the photos now (couple of samples below)! I'm going to keep trying to improve on it, but at least I think I have pictures that I can use! Any more suggestions are really welcome!

I'd love some feedback on my site (photos, layout, etc), I'm just beginning to fill in the Product Items again, so far bracelets and a couple of pendants are up...I'd love to hear any ideas to make it better or easier to navigate...



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Old 2005-12-18, 9:21am
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No helpful hints......just here to say I love your stuff!!! And the gray paper should help a lot.....a lighter than medium tone I think. Have to admit I've only used this a few times and it helped a lot.

pat
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  #16  
Old 2005-12-18, 9:35am
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Those look great to me.
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Old 2005-12-18, 10:07am
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One trick I have used to get rid of the shadows under the piece is to lay it on a clear piece of glass which is raised 3-4" off of the background paper. I use short water glasses as supports. And when you finally get it perfect, take a picture of the way everthing is set up. I have had to "re-invent the wheel" more times than I care to admit because I was sure that I would remember the setup correctly.

I also find the spot metering capability of the digital cameras useful. That way you can meter off of the bead, and not the background. Digitial cameras tend to want to balance the exposure which usually means that your piece will end up too dark.

Eric
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Old 2005-12-18, 10:36am
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Thansk Pat and Chad!

Eric - That's a great idea, to take a picture of the setup! I was thinking that earlier, if I don't take more pictures for a while I might have to start over figuring it out!

I'm going to try the glass idea, I would love to get rid of the shadows. I am using a sheet of white paper as the background now - would gray make a difference? I'll have to read up on the spot metering, I didn't know about that - thanks for the ideas!
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Old 2005-12-18, 11:47am
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OK, I just tried some shots with backlighting to see what it does for the shadows and background effect - here's a side by side with/without, I'm happy!! I love how the light shines through the beads on the charm bracelet!





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