Notes from the first day doing product photography

Hi everyone long time since i have posted sorry for that(assuming someone actually reads this blog). I have decided that the format for this blog will be the following once a month i will post a post based on my notes on whatever I’m currently doing in photography and the second article will be about programming so today i will be writing about product photography and my first experience with it.  I got the oneshot photo studio made by merax from meritline.com for $35 and decided to give product photography a try.

     First thing was building the box is somewhat simple but this is where i made my first mistake when i placed the backdrop the first time it had a line from being folded from shipping i should had iron that out before starting so this would be lesson #1:Iron the backdrop before placing it. I kept playing with it and i realized that my first pictures look kind of awkward because the backdrop was not completely extended which brings us to lesson #2: Strech the back drop. Do this by placing it has far up has you can on the velcro and letting it flow without being twisted.

oneshotphotostudio

    After fixing all the issues with the building the box i actually started shooting i was doing it handheld and using a very big aperture with a fast shutter. I got some pictures that were decent i actually enjoyed the look of the faded out backdrop but was not really happy with the details on the products two problems identified. First problem was motion blur destroying features of it because i was using the camera handheld even if my shutter was fast the item is really small so it’s easy to screw up. Therefore lesson #3:Use a small tripod(the kit i got actually has one). Looking at the pictures after this i was still having a problem since the aperture would make loose detail in some of the ends therefore since now i had a tripod i started shooting using a bigger aperture i settled in F32 because is the smallest my lens does (tamron 17-50 f/2.8 aspherical for sony minolta). Lesson #4: Shoot with a small aperture.

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   At this point i was starting to get fairly consistent pictures and realized that the way the background looked in most cases in reference to the objects was a bit weird since it made it look very flat and not have that many parts of the products and the solution here was simple i was shooting straight to the object and background and by changing to shoot from the top towards the bottom and adjusting my table angle the results seemed to improve.Which brings us to Lesson #5 Shoot from the top.

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  Did this for awhile then i started making some combinations of more than one element shot and decided to start trying and making splash pictures basically have water and doing the timing for this was kind of tricky so i changed into continous mode which help getting more sucesses, thefore Lesson #6 Use continuous mode when going for action events. An important thing to remember when using continous is to start shooting before trigering the action, getting one or two shots without anything is not bad at all. I also noticed that while doing this shot i wanted more speed  on the shutter so i changed my camera to manual and fixed the shutter speed that i wanted which was 1/60 and the aperture to f/11 i had left the iso at 100 and the pictures came with more action in them but they were dark still got the lesson # 7 use manual to set the aperture and shutter speed doing action sequences. Next to solve the problem with the light i decided to go and raise my Iso to 800 it was still to dark i raised it to 1600 and i started to get some noise but because the tent is well lit is something that is insignificant therefore Lesson #8 Feel free to use your Iso setting to get more speed.

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  At this point i got a good feel for it and its something that i enjoyed doing probably going to work on it a bit more next weekend but we still got the next part post processing the images. To make a summary of the settings i enjoy:

  • Stationary images (aperture mode F/32 iso 100)
  • Action shots (shutter 1/60 f/11 iso from 400 to 1600 depending on the looks via the camera.)

  The post processing for most of the images was pretty simple it consisted in using levels to control the input of the dark blue region into it so that other colors would not look blue tinted and running a bit of noise reduction in some of the pictures i did my processing using paint.net and the soften filter was really useful in all the images that had bright colored since the output of that effect made it look better. Lesson #8 Keep the post processing simple. That’s all i found from today’s photography session i will write again in about 15 days with a programming article.

 

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Magic Lantern Guide Sony alpha 100 7.0/10.0

I got my library card recently which is bringing me a lot of happiness, because now I can get books that otherwise I would not buy and find hidden gems like this one. This books is like the guide that this camera should had brought. It goes step by step trough all the details of what the camera can do an explains all the menus, if it wasn’t enough it also goes trought the trouble of providing the context that is needed in order to understand a photographic concept. My favorite chapter was the one about lenses because it explained all the types of lenses but gave concrete examples of the ones availables for this camera. I give this book a seven because is a starter book and i find it really useful to know your equipment at first but it looks like it won’t have much reuse value afterwards.

Link to the book in amazon

Cleaning the Sony alpha 100 sensor

I have gotten a lot of questions on how this is done first time doing it with an actual sensor scope. Hope this helps. The steps are the following:
1.Set camera to sensor cleaning.
2.Inspect with the sensor scope.
3.Vacuum.
4.Inspect again.
5.Clean with swabs.
6.Inspect.
7.Repeat if necessary.
8.Turn off camera.
Whatch the video for an example of how is done. Please if you can provide feedback on the video it would be helpful.

How to do panoramic shots

Every know an then someone always asks me how do i do panoramic shots from vistas and i decided to write it down for people to be able to see. Okay first things first what to use , for optimal results we need to set our camera to the manual settings and keep them the same for all the shots that are going to be part of the pano. Second use a pretty wide lense in order to avoid taking the lesser amount possible to get the shot that you desire.

Know they are to type of panos that you can do an arch panoramic or a flat panoramic. For the first type is very easy to do since you can do it without any need for special equipment simply stand still make sure that your arms are steady and take pictures that overlap for around 10% each.

For a flat panoramic you need a special head for a tripod in order to move the camera lateral way this represents a more realistic image but not your specific point of view.

There are many applications that you can use to generate panoramic’s right now im really enjoying Microsoft ICE because it allows me to do pano’s using deepzoom in order to put them straight in my website.

http://avatare.deviantart.com/art/Pano-Hurricane-Ridge-123713592

If anyone wants more information please let me know.

Big dissapointment Or new opportunity

Last week I went on vacation with my family and took a trip down the 101.This provided time to do some photography. I just started reviewing the shots when i found a very bad thing, i had forgotten to clean my lense at the begginning of the trip so all of my pictures of mt hood from a distance, where pretty much ruined by dirt on the lense which made me pretty sad. I ended up learning a few lessons from this one, before going shooting clean the lenses the night before.

Second a way to save pictures in which this type of mistake happens. I figured the dirt makes the picture look pretty old so that it’s what i should go for.

  • I Opened the image in paint.net
  • Did a crop that removed some of the ugliest dirt and made sense for the image.
  • Duplicated the layer and set the top one to overlay.
  • Created a top layer fill it with the color white and went to effects -> Noise Add Noise then made this layer the top and set the layer to darken and controlled the transparency to the point i wanted(this added grain to the image).
  • After that Went to the effects selected sepia.
  • Changed the contrast to be a bit stronger to the point that i start loosing a bit of detail.
  • Then adjusted the brightness till it made sense with the new effects that i had applied
  • I ended with an old looking image of mt hood that the dirt does not stand out so much it looks like it was intentionally placed there now. Below the final result of my experiment. Even though i’m still not happy that my pictures came out messed up i ended up with something that i think is not too bad. Could find a place to hang it.