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Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by SharpByCoop, Jan 10, 2005.
Merci Jim, :thumbup: I see what you mean...
For the record, I think that's a very good photo and much better than mine. I don't have the eyes of Coop, who has photographed thousands of knives, but I still have a couple of comments based on my aesthetic preferences.
The handle lighting and exposure is outstanding - the color, the texture.
The shadow beneath the knife could be improved I think. It's very dark for one thing. And it doesn't seem quite even: it has a sharp fine edge under the blade, but is faded and 'soft' around the handle.
Although the blade face is lighted very well, the final edge bevel appears totally black.
But that's all a bit of nit-picking perhaps?
"Merci" for your opinion Bob, your comments are constructive and it is the most important...:thumbup:
It was the first time I was photographing as many knives, more than a dozen in not terrible conditions..
I would be more careful the next time to "small details". Remains to be seen if I could fix all this...
I know what you mean. I was photographing nearly 50 knives for a local scouting museum, and if I had kept re-shooting to get every knife perfect I'd still be taking pictures a year later. In fact by the end I wasn't being very particular at all.
Sure, anyone can pick out minute imperfections in a photo or other piece of artwork. But does that mean I could do any better? Of course not. Maybe I could address some of the issues I noticed, but then I'd be screwing up something else.
I agree. My preference is for a little more backlighting so the shadow isn't so deep or harsh, too.
The crisp sharpness to the faded softer: For me? Perfecto. That's a function of distance. That's MY style.
Funny, I sometimes, but not too often, have to reshoot a knife (I found it blurry, or my client doesn't like my chosen background, etc.)
More times than not, I'll improve it ever so slightly.
There is always room for improvement, just the nit picking gets finer and finer.
At some point you have to throw in the towel and accept it and move along. Take your lumps or your bows.
I've done a considerable amount of macro watch (and some knife) photography both online and in print. Here's my current set up:
I find I get my best results when I tether to an old Windows laptop I have when I do product shoots. I do all my post processing on a Mac since switching a couple of years ago. Here's a few examples of my work:
Here's one I did today that I'm rather proud of:
^^^ Now THAT is some clear photography. Love the homebuilt light 'box'. Surrounded with cheapo clamp bulbs.
I'm sufficiently impressed. (Jealous? Yeah.)
BRAVO! Stunning examples.
If I may, I've done a bit of watch photography, also. VERY difficult, indeed.
(BTW: I collect mechanical stopwatches. I have over 60, and I repair them now to get them working again. This one (Heuer Mikrograph) is considered one of the 'Holy Grail's' in this genre.)
As you know its all about the lighting. I only use two lights, but with a bevy of mirrors tossing light back in.
Thanks for the wake up!
THANKS! I'll spend money where and when I need to, but I've had work published in several publications (including DIGITAL PHOTO PRO) using that light box which I'm sure all totaled is less than $100.00 not including the bulbs.
That's high praise indeed.
To any reading this thread let me make something abundantly clear - Coop is a much better photographer than I am and will likely always be for one simple reason: You can't teach creativity. The technical aspects of photography can be learned if you have the technical aptitude. But there is both a technical and an artistic element to photography and you simply can't teach artistic creativity - either you have it or you don't. To whatever degree I have mastered the technical aspects of the photography that I do (and I think Coop could teach me a lot) I have almost no artistic or creative ability. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Ask me to do a simple white or black background product shot, and I can do it well - but there's not a lot of creativity there. But any shot you see from me that has a more complicated composition than that was likely inspired by someone else. And that by the way is what separates a good photographer (who might have one be not both of the necessary elements) from a great one, and why there are so few great photographers in a world where everyone is a photographer. Of course, being a commercially successful (i.e. getting paid) requires a third element which is even more rare among those who have both the artistic creativity and the technical capability to be a great photographer - salesmanship. There's a ton of people out there who are better photographers that I am, but I've made one heckuva living at it because I know how to sell. Most photographers can't or won't sell, and therefore never reap the financial rewards they deserve for their talents and gifts.
Those are some great shots and again they demonstrate your natural gift for creative composition.
Wow...pocket watches. A true horologist....not like us fans of those new fangled girly watches worn on the wrist with a women's bracelet or purse strap. Fantastic Heuer!
Thanks for sharing.
Here are two pictures I took with the new lightbox. Feedback is welcome
The second picture, I think you nailed it.
The first picture, I wish the far end of the handle was better lighted, especially to show the interesting design on the clip.
Rolex John: To your point, I am VERY 'left-brained' and don't have quite as much artistic creativity as I'd like. That said, I make no apologies for my perception of what appears correct to my 'left' brain. Maybe that's why I'm so popular. I appeal to the masses. LOL!
Balislinger: Your images are VERY clear and the work is showing well. More in a moment...
Bob W: Correctomundo.
Balislinger (Steve?): This is a great example of why at least a pair of lights are needed for better knife photography. And you have them.
In the top example the handle needs about twice the lighting than the blade. (Exaggeration, but you understand). If you can't change the intensity, then change the distance. Draw the blade bulb away and bring in the handle light.
Sheaths, handles, and damascus suck up the light, and the brightly polished areas are always reflecting too much. It's a constant piece by piece adjustment.
Notice how the same lighting on the bottom folder gives near-perfect results. (Only 'near perfect' because you lost the highlight on the edge out at the business end, where it counts.) That needed a smaller mirror angled differently to run it around.
I found a recent example of mine where I deliberately pulled away intensity on the shiny blade because I needed a lot of light on the handle.
If anything the blade may be too subtle, but I'd rather err on that side.
Thanks for these examples. We're/I'm always learning. Keep them coming.
Who's got more?
You guys amaze me! I might get flogged for asking buy do you guys ever take any outdoor shots? While I love and actually prefer clear crisp shots for sales, Id like to see what you guys can do outside! The creativity Im sure would be killer.
I also like how everyone is willing to give constructive feedback and receive it as well. Its oddly similar to knifemaking in that way.
Thank you very much for the feedback, Coop. I bought some mirrors and will start using them. Is there anything I can put on a compact flourescent bulb that will reduce its intensity without burning the diffusing material? My reflectors are pretty small and the bulbs portrude out of the lamps. I could hang something in front of the lamp, but worry about burning something. I noticed in one of your pictures you seemed to have a diffusing material on two of your lamps. -George
My strobes have a high point of intensity. The original reflectors I got were about 5" in dia. and aimed the beam at a narrow area.
I then purchased some 11" larger reflectors and that really spread the beam out to a larger area.
To go the step further, I surround ONE of my beams with a softbox, which is the large reflector inside another diffuser. That's the one I use in my blade area, and it's an overall lighting fill.
I consistently place the two lights in differing spots, depending on what I see in my monitor. I shoot, adjust, shoot, adjust, shoot, leave that one alone, adjust the other, etc. Then I work the mirrors for final highlights. All in stages.
That shot above probably took me 15 passes until I said: "Got it!" It ain't point and shoot = done.
Take a piece of some diffuser material and get it in front of the bulb on the shiny end. Make something. That's the key to much of my success. Nothing was made exact for photography, I observed and created all my tools. (From existing photographer's setups.) I didn't invent the wheel, but I modified it.
Here's another "EDC" type photo I recently did to test a new background.
These aren't great photos but they were taken outside at my local range:
My homage to Coop - thanks for the advice!
This is a great thread! I wanted to take better, more civilized pix of my knives, besides just putting them out on the deck on an overcast day. What got me really interested now, though, were two things: 1. A new Nikon DSLR I got from my wife for Christmas, and 2. my wife makes her own jewelry and wants some good pix for her marketing efforts. I've seen Coop's website and have been very impressed with his production. Once I get to the home improvement superstore, I'll assemble my lightbox and start playing! Thanks for this thread, Coop.