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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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Old 2013-07-10, 9:42am
AVTrout's Avatar
AVTrout AVTrout is offline
Bohemian Bead Peddler
Join Date: Feb 12, 2007
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 1,193
Default "Cold" Photos (but a warm heart!)

These are my most recent beadwork photos, and they all look so "cold". I use Photoshop Lightroom, and although there are a ton of settings I can use to change the pics, I don't want to do too much, because then it changes the coloring of the actual bead in the photo. I used to have an elaborate set-up for taking pics, and when I say "elaborate", I mean lots of funky objects placed strategically around the bead to capture the best lighting.....but I'm looking to make the whole darn process easier these days!

For the pics below I used my "New And Improved Easy Setting" which is a cardboard box painted creme inside, sitting on it's side, with a piece of printed paper inside and a clamp on light to the right. I used the flash on my camera. I edited the pics in Lightroom.

For the next pic below, it was using my "Older And Not So Easy To Duplicate Convoluted Whatchamacallit Photo Setup" which was an Ott light (now broken) with a papertowel clipped over the bulb, natural window lighting, a candle with a toothpick sticking in it and a piece of folded printed paper over top of that, all on top of a tupperware bowl turned upside down. Lightroom also used for editing. And somehow, I just think this turned out better. And I can't duplicate the setup, because I don't have the Ott light in working condition any longer.

Can anyone share any tips that'll help make the whole photog process easier for me? It's the most hated part of my experience!!!
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Old 2013-07-10, 5:10pm
Mike Jordan Mike Jordan is offline
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Join Date: Mar 18, 2008
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Posts: 674

Sounds like you answered your own question about what looks better and why. It's obviously the missing toothpick.

They don't look cold to me... the light makes them look dead. You don't have any sparkle or light hitting the interior of the glass to liven it up. They also look a bit under exposed and the color balance is off a little. The flash is going to over power the light and basically make it as it wasn't there... unless you slow down your shutter speed to allow the light to register along with the flash. You will have to diffuse the flash though so it does not over expose the beads. this isn't bad though because by diffusing the flash you get a softer light. I think if you can increase your exposure a little, that will help but getting some light from the side, either reflected or another flash would help. You can get decent pictures from a single flash, you just have to work at it a bit.

Also, nice beads.

It's said that there is an artist inside each of us...unfortunately, mine left years ago and I've not seen him since.
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Old 2013-07-10, 11:36pm
Ravenesque Ravenesque is offline
Join Date: Sep 22, 2009
Posts: 1,202

I would go in and use levels, even brightness and contrast.

Here I'll do one quick...

I just changed the brightness/contrast, I use photoshop CS3 but I'm sure lightroom has this also.
ETA, I sharpened it too but it wasn't all that necessary here
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Last edited by Ravenesque; 2013-07-10 at 11:40pm.
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Old 2013-07-11, 8:49am
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AVTrout AVTrout is offline
Bohemian Bead Peddler
Join Date: Feb 12, 2007
Location: Lancaster, PA
Posts: 1,193

Thanks for the tips! I went into Lightroom and yes, there are levels. I've been working with them for the past few hours, and I think I've had a major photography breakthrough! I should really take a class on my software.... I'm sure I could use it much more fully and efficiently.
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Old 2013-08-08, 10:38pm
Doug Baldwin Doug Baldwin is offline
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Join Date: Apr 26, 2013
Posts: 49

Good final images start with good lighting in the studio. The key to good lighting is large soft, diffused light sources, as close to the subject as you can get them. Go to this forum post to read more and see example images:

The hot spots you're experiencing are from a light source that's too small or too far away from the subject. As a light gets farther from an object, the reflection gets smaller and the shadows get harder. This is what we see in full hard sunlight. Instead we want the effect of a fog bank surrounding the glass bead to diffuse the light as much as possible.

Good Exposures: It's best to learn how to get correct exposures at the camera stage by using manual exposure, not auto exposure, aperture priority or shutter priority exposure modes. By using a correct manual exposure, you'll get consistent exposures over time as long as the lights don't move more than an inch or two once they're set in place. Also, Photoshop can only correct a certain amount of under or overexposure. If the photo is severely under exposed and we try to fix that in Photoshop, we get strange colors and too much contrast. If the photo is severely overexposed, the highlights will blow out to white and Photoshop cannot bring back the detail in those areas.

Color Correction: Use a tiny piece/corner (1/4") of a 18% gray card and set it in a corner of the photo. When the photo is opened in Photoshop or Elements, go the Levels Command (PS: Image > Image Adjustments > Levels). Click on the middle gray eyedropper to activate. Click on the gray card in the photo with the Eye Dropper and the photo is globally color corrected to neutral. Crop out the gray card after color correcting the photo.

Exposure Correction: If the photo is under or overexposed, the histogram will be missing parts on either the right or left sides, and tells you the image needs a little help. With the Levels command window still open, move either the black upward pointing arrow on the left side of the upper area to the right to darken the darker tones in the image and/or move the white upward pointing arrow on the right side of the upper area to the left to lighten the lighter tones in the image. Use the middle upward pointing arrow to lighten or darken the middle tones in the photo by sliding it left or right until the image looks right. The Brightness/Contrast command sliders do not give you any histogram feedback and should not be used for lightening or darkening an image.

If you're interested in taking a class in photography or photoshop for beads, jewelry or glass, go here:
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