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Dan Stuewe
10-26-2004, 9:22 PM
Does anyone know of a good resource for taking pictures (digital) of small items? Jim Becker wrote a couple months ago that he was going to do a short write-up on it, but I haven't seen anything yet. Are there any good books that can help?

Thanks,

John Miliunas
10-26-2004, 11:40 PM
Dan, I'll bet if you PM Jim, he could give you an abridged version of whatever he intends on putting out here. :) I'm kind of anxious to see a full-blown write-up myself! In the meantime, from the FWIW Dept., so far I have found that using a gray colored material for a background, works the best for me. I've only used available light or the built-in camera flash. If I ever get that finishing room cleared out, I'm planning on setting up something a bit more "formal", but for now, the above works OK. Well that, AND a little playing with the imaging software! :) :cool:

Joe Mioux
10-26-2004, 11:45 PM
Are you referring to very small things. such as like needing a mircroscope.

I can do this using 35 mm slr, but have never done it digitally.
One way of achieving this is to take two lenses. I have a really good 90 mm macro lens that I attach to the camera, then I take a 50mm lens and reverse it and tape it to the end of the 90mm lens. This gets you up close to any object.

Dan Stuewe
10-27-2004, 2:45 AM
The items I'm thinking about are small woodworking projects (bowls, pens, boxes) as well as jewelry that my wife is starting to sell. It seems to me that the lighting is the key thing, especially with things that reflect light well (semi-gloss or gloss finish or glass/crystal beads).

John, thanks for sugesting a PM to Jim. I guess I always assume this would be a better forum since then everyone can see the discussion, but maybe all Jim needs is friendly encouragement to get off his lazy butt and do something with his life! :p :rolleyes: ;) I mean there are 24 hours in a day, right? And on Sunday, there will be 25!

Jim Becker
10-27-2004, 3:54 AM
Sorry...I've been too busy to get my own setup done and document it due to my business travel (as you can see from the time on this post I'm on the left-coast) and working on the armoire project. PM or email me and I'll try to do a brief description and give you contact information for John Lucas (the turner/photographer in TN version, not the RI version of woodshopdemos fame). I do promise to post information publically of what Jamie Donaldson calls the "phrugal photo studio" just as soon as I can. Thanks in advance for your understanding...'can't be three places at once, despite the occasional appearance, thereof... :D

Michael Stafford
10-27-2004, 8:46 AM
When I visited Perry Holbrook he showed me his frugal photo studio and allow me to take pictures. Maybe he will explain his set up for us all. Main expense was a mylar photo background- about $50, some clamp on lights, a couple of dimmer switches, an old bed sheet and some wood scraps...

Jim Becker
10-27-2004, 11:04 AM
When I visited Perry Holbrook he showed me his frugal photo studio and allow me to take pictures. Maybe he will explain his set up for us all. Main expense was a mylar photo background- about $50, some clamp on lights, a couple of dimmer switches, an old bed sheet and some wood scraps...
Perry's setup is actually less frugal than Jamie Donaldson's setups...only one cheap $10 hallogen light is needed along with an inexpensive backdrop, a couple sheets of foamcore and about a foot of tin foil for one side of a bounce card. A slightly more involved setup adds some CPVC pipe and a another piece of foamcore...and of course, your camera, a tripod and your eyes.

Perry Holbrook
10-27-2004, 10:13 PM
I'll give this a shot. The best book I've found is "Photographing Your Artwork" by Russell Hart and published by Amherst Media.

Once you take the step to sell your work in shows that are strickly juried, professional looking photos are an absolute must. After spending $300 for 1 hours work with a pro, I decided to give DIY a try. I saw his set up and pretty much copied it.

Lighting and backdrop are the 2 critical items. The lighting can be as simple or complicated as you desire, but mainly it needs to flood the work with light while eliminating or controlling the shadows. Unless you have really good external flash equipment, you should avoid using the flash.

The backdrop should be either solid in color or graduated, but above all else should be smooth, go under and behind the work piece and NOT clutered.

I have posted 3 pictures: the first is a shot of my very basic setup. The second is a closeup of the lights and diffuser I rigged up (yes that's a bed sheet and there are dimmers on each light. The third is a photo taken with this setup. It's really not one of my best, the legs on the box create shadow problems that needed a little more work with the lights, I just didn't take the time to get it any better.

I've got about $100 in the complete setup.

Hope this helps.

Perry

John Miliunas
10-27-2004, 10:33 PM
Great results from what appears to be a relatively simple setup! Thanks for posting the pics and explanation! :cool:

Michael Stafford
10-27-2004, 11:03 PM
Perry, thanks for posting the photos. The details you included helped a lot.

Dan Stuewe
10-28-2004, 1:02 AM
Thanks everyone for the replies! I knew there were folks here who could help! I will show this thread to my wife and we will start playing (the nice thing about digital is the ability to play without paying for junk shots!)

We just got back from New England so we're still getting into the swing of things, but this will be a good project to work on.

Dave Richards
11-02-2004, 5:23 PM
That's a great setup, Perry.

FWIW, if you're looking for a real white background, you need to light it independently of the subject*. If you want a true black background, you need empty space. Of course you can do a fair amount of doctoring after the fact but the better the setup, the easier it is to make good photographs.

*If anyone is interested in an explanation of that statement, I'll supply it. Otherwise I won't bore you with the physics. ;)

Jamie Buxton
11-02-2004, 8:23 PM
Are you referring to very small things. such as like needing a mircroscope.

I can do this using 35 mm slr, but have never done it digitally.


Joe, a couple of months ago somebody posted this link. http://www3.telus.net/BrentBeach/Sharpen/overview.html

He's mostly talking about how to sharpen plane blades, but in the process he describes $50 system which takes digital photos with a microscope. Check it out!