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I Forge Iron


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I do a little B&W photography for my articles and book. I am by no means an accomplished photographer.

The picture attached below gives a rough idea on how I set up the area. I used (in the past) flood light bulds (not spot light) inside of brood lamp reflectors with light diffusers from the kitchen florescent lights in front of them. Some very light white nylon material in front of that diffuses the light even more.

The broadest, diffused lighting that you can get will be your best bet.
The whole lot was done for under $100.

I now use a more professional lighting system -Interfit Super 5 cool lamps. But they cost $400 a pair.

I get my background from watching how special effects are done in the movies with a Chroma Key background. This is nothing more that a green or blue background. This Youtube video will give you an idea. YouTube - How to make awesome green screen (Chroma key)!! part 1 DVD

I have a PDF article that goes into this in a lot more detail but it exceeds the limit for IFORGE.

You can E-mail me and I'll send you the document if you wish.

Good luck.




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Any solid colour background that does not distract from the subject is usable. Those that I have found easiest to use are brown corrigated cardboard (thank you Irnstgn), brown wrapping paper, a medium green plastic material located in a dustbin, and the blue professional roll paper backdrop. White paper backgrounds work but throws off the automatic camera meter. Chroma Key backgrounds work as is, but you will need computer image softwear to minipulate to white.

Depending on the size of the object, you can set up a *studio* for most smallish things. You will need a minimum of 3 lights (4 or more being better) and a little practice as studio photography, and product photography are two (2) crafts unto themselves.

You MUST know the close focus distance of the camera and stay 1.25 to 1.5 times that distance from the subject. Use the highest resulution available on the camera and use the zoom to fill the image (picture) frame. You can then crop in the computer to make up for lack of close focus.

Keep the background close 1-3 feet from the subject (small items) and turn the flash on and use it. This will fill in any shadown if being shot outside. If inside, usually turn the flash off and just use the lights you provided. Match the light type to the camera, incondescent lights, set the camera for incondescent lighting.

Photography is fun and now with digital photography costing nothing to take another photo, you can learn what works and what does not work much faster. It is just looking at the viewer on the camera, not a 2 week wait from the photo finisher.

Last suggestion, throw away (delete) the bad images. If you need that photo, retake the photo before you change the set up. Correct each problem one at a time and reshoot,, and adjust as needed.

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If what you're photographing is small enough, try doing a google search on "homemade light box" Looks like a fun little winter weekend project ( 1 hr. to build a decent light box, rest of the weekend to use it taking pictures of everything in sight :) )

(Day job) I work with stock photography, and had wondered how the photo editors were getting such natural looking "cutout" images of objects. When I asked one of the photo-eds, she cued me into these setups. I was surprised to find that the it was not some nifty trick in the latest edition of PhotoChop, but that it actually originated from the photographer's set-up!

-Aaron @ the SCF

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  • 6 months later...

I would like to add my way of getting quick, reasonably good pictures.

#1 use a tripod
#2 set your camera to museum (this disables the flash) and uses available light.
#3 use zoom to focus on subject
#4 experiment with lighting
#5 use close-up setting

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