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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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  #31  
Old 2013-08-14, 9:01am
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Lot of great information here! I was disappointed to find out that the light boxes are sold out. I hope there will be more soon.
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  #32  
Old 2013-08-14, 10:29am
Doug Baldwin Doug Baldwin is offline
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The lightboxes are temporarily sold out because of the great posts like the one here by Hayley, blogs by glass artists and great Facebook posts. The response has been very gratifying.

I've placed a factory order and will have lots more lightboxes shortly. Please check back on the lightbox page every few days. I'll keep the page updated with info so you'll know when the more lightboxes arrive. Thanks for your patience.

dougbaldwinphoto.com/lightboxes.html
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  #33  
Old 2013-08-14, 11:19am
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Thanks Doug. I'll try to be patient!
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  #34  
Old 2013-08-17, 1:53am
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My lights came yesterday early in the day. It only took minutes to set them up so that was a great beginning. I only had time to play a little bit so snapped off a few pics using only a light gray (almost white) card stock sheet of paper for the back ground in this shot. Next to no editing used at all using Photoshop 10.

The background I ordered (same as Haley's) arrived late yesterday and it was so curled up, I had to straighten it so will hopefully play with that later today.

ETA: I took the second shot this morning using a black to gray gradient printed on regular paper under a sheet of plexiglass that is frosted. I did not use a 18% gray scale card in either photo. Will play with that later on. So far, I REALLY like these light boxes soooooooooo much more than my light tent. Yep, they take up a lot of room but so worth it. I have mine on a 4 foot table and they just barely fit.

Now, if someone could tell me how to get that silver in those beads to shine and sparkle, I'd be a very happy camper ! lol !



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  #35  
Old 2013-08-17, 9:09am
Mike Jordan Mike Jordan is offline
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The one problem with the way these lights set up is that your light comes from the side, which creates flat light. If you add a third light in front, you will bring out the color and liven up their appearance. Try adding some contrast to the image as well in your editing program.

Mike
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  #36  
Old 2013-08-17, 11:50am
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Mike, I'm not sure what you're talking about actually. The color you see in the pressed beads are actual. Browns, black, soft yellow and amber. The only thing I have a problem with is the sparkle of the silver or at least the shine. The first picture is flat no doubt about it. I did very little to edit it and very little to actually pose it properly. It was a quick shot just to try out the lights. I'm still waiting on the background I bought to straighten out so I can use it with the 18% gray scale card.

I'll try the light in front as well once everything else is ready to use. Thanks for the tip.
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  #37  
Old 2013-08-17, 3:17pm
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Sorry, I was using photo speak... flat lighting means you don't have any depth (it has a 2D appearance and not a simulated 3D look) or sparkle (which is what you are missing) to your object. What photographers say is that the picture is lifeless... kind of like the difference between a bar of gold and a bar of lead. One shines and the other doesn't. Not that the lighting in your example above is that bad, but with just side lighting, you aren't going to get the sparkle and shine and colors that pop as you would with some additional front lighting. You may not even no the difference until you have seen two pictures side by side, one with two side lights and one with two side lights and a front light or one side light and one front light. I've also done 5 lights before, 1 on each side, two at the front at 45 degree angles and one behind (sometimes above looking down).

You don't need everything else to practice lighting your beads. You can never practice too much.

Mike
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  #38  
Old 2013-08-18, 1:03pm
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These two shots are done with no light in front. To ME the one on the left has more definition and doesn't look flat. What do you think Mike or anyone looking in ? I played with lighting and contrast in Photoshop. Since I have PS 10, the little eye dropper won't let me click on the gray scale card so I have done what I could. PS 10 still confuses me on a lot of things. The colors in these beads are PERFECT according to my monitor. I mean, I can't get them any closer if I tried. Now, as for them looking 3D vs 2D - I don't know. They look pretty good to me. Any Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

I literally have no room for a light in front. lol ! I tried everything I could think of with what I have. Even if I put one light box on the side that would be fine but I have nothing to set one on in front and if I did, I couldn't shoot the picture. lol ! So......I do what I can. I'm not going to enter any beads for a book or anything but I do like a nice looking photo for my effort. lol !

I still love the light boxes but there is a learning curve to be sure.



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  #39  
Old 2013-08-18, 8:22pm
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You did a good job, Debbie. To me they are a little over exposed (I like to lean towards the lower middle rather than the upper middle of the exposure graph like you have them) and a little light on the front would help, but from what I would do verses what you have done would not make a very large improvement in appearance. You will get a lot of rave reviews from those that don't look at everything with photography eyes. It's the curse of a photographer that we can't look at a picture as just a picture.

If you can't put the light in front, put it above or below a bit. All you are trying to do is skim a little more light across the front. I've even used a large flashlight before with a Kleenex in front of it or a small flash (I have several they use to give away as gifts) with a coffee filter (white unused) or handkerchief over the front to diffuse the light a bit. There are ways, but for what you want, maybe not worth the trouble.

Nice job.

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  #40  
Old 2013-08-19, 10:27am
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Thanks for the help Mike. I appreciate it. My camera is a very simple, inexpensive point and shoot from about 6 -7 years ago that's not even made anymore. I'm sure that's part of my problem. lol !
I'll just keep working it with what I have.
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  #41  
Old 2013-08-21, 10:48am
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Here's a picture I took with the new set up.
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  #42  
Old 2013-08-22, 5:22pm
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I got mine today....they set up in minutes. Now I'm playing around with taking photos of metal (copper, brass, pewter) cuffs and stuff. Any tips for non-glass items? I've been more or less happy with my other photos...just the old lightbox and lights were awkward as anything in the new space I allotted to them.
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  #43  
Old 2013-08-22, 5:26pm
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Debbie - your set looks great! I am still trying to play with my set up by adding a front light source (e.g. flash light) ... it is continually a learning process, that's for sure! But at least we have a great set up to start with now!

Ellen - that's just outstanding ... LOVE the bead too!

Lisa - post some pictures taken with the new set up so we can see and perhaps Doug and/or Mike can help tweak it for even better results!
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  #44  
Old 2013-08-22, 5:48pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayley View Post
Debbie - your set looks great! I am still trying to play with my set up by adding a front light source (e.g. flash light) ... it is continually a learning process, that's for sure! But at least we have a great set up to start with now!

Ellen - that's just outstanding ... LOVE the bead too!

Lisa - post some pictures taken with the new set up so we can see and perhaps Doug and/or Mike can help tweak it for even better results!
That's my plan....I'll wait til morning and retake a few that I took this morning so the photos will be in the same daylight.
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  #45  
Old 2013-08-22, 9:40pm
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Here's one of my first bead photos with the new lights. So much better than my prior attempt at photographing this same set. I finally figured out how to increase my shutter speed yesterday and that's helping me a lot, too.

Still need to get a gray card. This photo is unedited and the background is a bit dark.

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  #46  
Old 2013-08-23, 12:32pm
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So here are some photos using the new light tent. I didn't adjust anything on my camera (a very old but trusty Sony DSC F-717) other than to use the gray sheet and set the white balance. I didn't exactly understand if you do that AND the 18% gray in a corner or if that is an EITHER/OR situation...

I use a stone floor tile for the background because it works with my jewelry and metals shots for Etsy. That's what you see in all three (the same tile).

I used the eye dropper/Levels setting on the 18% gray corner in all three and you can see the black cuff isn't cooperating. I have always had trouble photographing black jewelry...this one is compounded because it has a matte finish on it. The purple cuff is actually showing the glossy finish much better than I've seen it with the old light setup. The duo is also a matte finish lacquer and the photo is looking kind of flat to me (over and above the "flat matte finish")

Suggestions?
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  #47  
Old 2013-08-26, 3:52pm
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Mike or Doug? Any input on my photos?
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  #48  
Old 2013-08-26, 4:53pm
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I think you did an outstanding, job Lisa. They came out really well and show the detail. The only minor nit is on the last one, the background and bracelets (especially the one on the right) come pretty close to matching so they don't stand out as well as they could. I would have gone with a darker background, maybe a dark brown sandstone rather than light colored. Still a good job though.

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  #49  
Old 2013-08-26, 5:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jordan View Post
I think you did an outstanding, job Lisa. They came out really well and show the detail. The only minor nit is on the last one, the background and bracelets (especially the one on the right) come pretty close to matching so they don't stand out as well as they could. I would have gone with a darker background, maybe a dark brown sandstone rather than light colored. Still a good job though.

Mike
Thanks, Mike! I rarely do all white so that jumped out at me as well. I'll find a backup background for those so it does stand out better.

And the matte black one? I have such issues photographing the black items. This looked pretty good to me, which I can only attribute to the new lights.
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  #50  
Old 2013-08-26, 6:43pm
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I think you do good on the black one. You can see the details just fine, which is what you want. Black objects photograph a bit differently and can be a challenge at times. Especially if you have both black and light colored items in the same picture. I had to spend a lot of time practicing when I started shooting black dogs as I kept ending up with black blobs at first. So I shot a lot as I learned how to light them. Luckily I had a lot of willing subjects that loved to model for food.

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  #51  
Old 2013-08-26, 7:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jordan View Post
I think you do good on the black one. You can see the details just fine, which is what you want. Black objects photograph a bit differently and can be a challenge at times. Especially if you have both black and light colored items in the same picture. I had to spend a lot of time practicing when I started shooting black dogs as I kept ending up with black blobs at first. So I shot a lot as I learned how to light them. Luckily I had a lot of willing subjects that loved to model for food.

Mike
I need to try a black glossy finished item to really tell. I'm very happy with the purple glossy one.
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  #52  
Old 2013-08-28, 1:40pm
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Thanks for the 18% gray card info guys, I'm going to purchase one right now. I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and I love them both, although I use only the very basic stuff in them because I'm no software whiz. I need to take a class at the local community college.
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  #53  
Old 2013-08-28, 1:43pm
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Here's an 18% gray card, $12.95. Please excuse me if this link was already mentioned.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...nce_Cards.html
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  #54  
Old 2013-08-28, 1:44pm
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Here's one for FREE! Print n go! https://picasaweb.google.com/Verizzo...99060338827506
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  #55  
Old 2013-08-28, 2:29pm
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Alexis, personally I wouldn't use the print and go one since most printers are not true to color or tonal range unless they are calibrated properly.
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  #56  
Old 2013-09-08, 5:23pm
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I got my light boxes and got them set up and took some sample photos. I have to say, I think these would work better for matt, non-reflective beads.

Here's a photo using my light cube,

And here's the photo using the light boxes, showing the reflection of the light boxes,
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  #57  
Old 2013-09-09, 5:35pm
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First picture with new light boxes. I really like them!
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  #58  
Old 2013-09-09, 11:20pm
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Default Lightbox Setup

A couple of notes regarding how to setup the lightboxes:
1. Set them as close together as possible on your shooting table. You're trying to replicate a fog bank with soft all encompassing light. You want the lightboxes just out of the camera frame. The beauty of these lightboxes is that you can adjust the size of the set according to what you're shooting. If it's a small bead, move the lightboxes in close. If it's a larger necklace, move the lightboxes out accordingly so they are just outside the camera frame.
2. Fill in all the areas around the lightboxes, including the front, back and top gaps with white reflector cards. I use 11x17" white card stock for the larger gaps and 8.5 x 11" for the smaller gaps. I get the card stock from the paper store. You can also use foamcore, gatorfoam, white mount or mat boards. The idea is to completely surround the piece being photographed with the lightboxes and reflectors.

Here are two photos showing the effect of shooting with and without reflector cards. I've included a shot of the set to show how the reflector cards are sitting on the top of the lightboxes and in front of the tripod. They're also at the back, they just don't show in the setup shot. I've left a small opening for the lens to look through to the shooting surface.

Marble by Mike Hurst, https://www.facebook.com/mike.hurst.125?fref=ts

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Old 2013-09-09, 11:27pm
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Thanks, Doug!
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Old 2013-09-10, 6:26am
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That makes sense!
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