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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 2017-02-22, 9:58am
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Question struggling with focals!

I'm after some help guys! I am happy with my photos of sets but struggle with pictures of focal beads, to the extent I rarely list them now. Can you offer some helpful tips? I use tacky wax to stand them up, I have a light box mini studio, an additional daylight bulb, solid white photo background. I take pics with my Sony cybershot 16.1 mega pixels and edit using photo shop. I usually simply adjust levels and crop and resize?

straight from camera

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after editing

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this is kind of what i wanted to end up with, you can see all the detail, crisp background, every col.our change clear.

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  #2  
Old 2017-02-22, 10:23am
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I haven't done photo work in way too long but the first thing I see is a need for a second light source, either another lamp or simply a couple of white reflection boards near both sides of the camera lens.

Most of the home made light boxes I have seen were big translucent white plastic containers with a hole cut in the bottom for the camera lens to poke through and they had two bright light sources on either side.


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Old 2017-02-27, 11:22am
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Would a black or other solid colored background work better with those beads? I've noticed that some colors just don't like white all that much and look more dramatic against black. I'm rubbish at photography though, so I'm sure a pro could find a workaround with white.
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Old 2017-02-27, 3:58pm
rnmcginnis rnmcginnis is offline
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The photos appear to be slightly underexposed, even after editing. The built-in camera light meter assumes the overall average composition is neutral gray. Therefore, for cameras used in automatic mode, photos taken with a white background will be under exposed and those taken against a black background will be over exposed. I purchased two of Doug Baldwin's light systems about two years ago. They make all the difference in the world. The light is diffused and even and, once the proper exposure settings are determined, photos require little or no editing.
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Old 2017-02-27, 11:18pm
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I have ordered more lights to see if that fixes the problem, I plan to try alternative backgrounds as well. Thanks for the advice.
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  #6  
Old 2017-02-28, 12:42am
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White card board reflectors should give you a good idea if more lighting is going to the main fix.

Of course, as with everything, the final answer is always going to be mostly one thing but added in with lots of little small other things.

I have heard of major differences with using a graduated gray scale background and as well as having something referred to as a "white balance card" to tell the camera what to use as a reference but it has been too many years for my addled brain to dreg up the details anymore.
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Old 2017-03-01, 3:10pm
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Here is one of your images after a trip through PhotoShop. PhotoShop will help, but starting with a quality image is a major requirement.

Depending on the object, consider backlighting. i.e. Hang the object with black thread away from the white background, so that light can penetrate. Then remove the thread in your photo editor.

And if glare is an issue, use a polarized light source plus a polarizing filter on the camera. Plus make the object full frame which may require the use of extension rings or a close up lens.
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Old 2017-03-07, 3:52pm
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You can see by the darkness of the original image that it's underexposed (most likely due to the stark white background). To bring the images to the correct brightness, they will always look overexposed (and most likely lose fine detail).

I recommend shooting on a gray background.

Second to that I'd try to get more light on the beads (angled white cards are great for that).

I almost never shoot on a white background for this exact reason.
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Old 2017-06-20, 3:59am
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Try photographing only one at a time and get much closer to bead to get a higher quality image to start with.
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