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Tutorial - Common Knife Photography Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Daniel Koster, Sep 13, 2002.

  1. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    Now all I need is a new DC and a new computer.
  2. Berkley


    May 5, 1999
    from John Powell's collection:

    Attached Files:

  3. AroKiem

    AroKiem Banned by Moderators Banned

    Feb 8, 2002
    Just wanted to add this one,..comments welcome good or bad.

  4. Daniel Koster

    Daniel Koster www.kosterknives.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2001
    I'm going to comment on the 2 pics above because I think that they have similar qualities/shortcomings in terms of background/backdrop.

    From JP's collection:

    I agree with adding stylistic elements to "bring it to life", however the orange background is too strong and overpowers the knife. It's like when you tried to read blue letters against a red background. I have a hard time seeing the detail in the khukuri. I would have used a light/medium-but-rich blue backdrop to bring out the royal blue scabbard. Also, the "subject" of this photo is not the khukuri, but rather the "way of life of the khukuri owner". (but I think this was intended...)

    AroKiem's Balisong:

    Knife looks cool, reflection is a good idea, but the rest of the pic is the pits. I spent more time trying to figure out the background than looking at the knife...which are you trying to sell?

    The background/backdrop should fade into the background and not draw my attention to it. You know what it is, but you don't spend too much time looking at it or thinking about it.

    Basically, everything in the background should "point" to the knife.

    Consider these 2 photographs:
    (Taken at the same time, same subject)


    The subject of the Top one is "Flowers-In-General"

    The subject of the Bottom picture is about "One Flower Specifically"

    Can you see the difference?
    (if not, keep looking...;) )

    The difference is the Depth Of Field. But, "I can't control depth of field with a Point-n-Shoot!"

    Yes you can!

    All you need to do is make sure that your background is far enough away, and your subject is very close to you. (Check your camera manual for how close you can get)

    That will do it and will put the focus on the knife, not the setting.
  5. AroKiem

    AroKiem Banned by Moderators Banned

    Feb 8, 2002
    Thanks for the comment it was a long shot,....best one out of all of them.Got lots of detail out of that shot.Yes, the backround isn't good at all.

    poeple can get lost at these forums
  6. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    I still need a new camera and computer.
  7. Clydetz


    Dec 1, 2001
    Still interesting!
  8. Daniel Koster

    Daniel Koster www.kosterknives.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 18, 2001
    Here's a picture I sent to Bill for photographing indoors, but later realized it could go here for everyone to enjoy.

    The biggest problem with novice/amateur level photography is the lack of adequate lighting. There seems to be a great divide between them and the pros in term of lighting packages.

    Well, I found a page online that gives what could be called "The Poor Man's Lighting Setup".

    I bet that everybody here has these 2 items:

    Flood light

    And that's all you need to get good lighting for photographing knives.

    Here's the pic:


    Here's a link to how this guy came up with his "poor man's" setup.


    You could actually create this same effect in many different ways with different lights and materials. Just stay true to these 3 rules:

    • 1 - don't point the light directly at the knife - point it directly away from it
      [*]2 - use a brightly colored (white prefered) object to reflect the light back onto the knife
      [*]3 - use lightly colored backgrounds

    Pointing the light right at the knife is what causes those awful "hot spots" on your photograph and gives a harsh glare. That's why you point the light away from the object - no glare.

    You could actually use just about anything you could imagine to adhere to rule #2. I've used plywood painted different colors, posterboard held in an arc, styrofoam, the wall (or a corner), cloth, books, and the list goes on and on...

    Simply put, lightly colored backgrounds reflect more light than darker backgrounds (which may look cool, but absorb all your light). You need all the light you can get and often pictures with too much background are distracting anyway.

    Somebody else beside me try this out and come back and let me know how it worked for you!

  9. Bill Martino

    Bill Martino

    Mar 5, 1999
    I have the new DC. Now all I need is the computer and umbrella.
  10. dzucherato


    Dec 8, 2008
    I can't see the pics...


    Denis Zucherato
  11. Piso Mojado

    Piso Mojado Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    I'd like to see the pictures too, but that's digital media: here today, gone tomorrow. It's still a useful thread. IMHO an intelligent word is worth a hundred pictures.

    As a rule, the best times for outdoor photography are the two hours after sunrise and before sunset.
  12. kukulza28


    Oct 11, 2008
    I can't see the pictures so this thread loaded up pretty quick :(
  13. Nabok


    Dec 16, 1998
    Welcome to Bladeforums. Well, the original post is from 2002. I'm not sure if Dan still has a tutorial on his site, but you could look there, maybe check the way back machine, see if it has an archive of his page from that time.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008

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