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Thread: Magazine Photography

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default Magazine Photography

    Hi,

    Those of you who read our magazine might have noticed a number of low-lighting photos in one of our articles in the current issue. I wanted to add a bit of a different look to that specific article, but it was a time consuming process. I thought I would share a little bit of the behind-the-scenes process with you. It took quite a while to get all the shots of the different tools I discussed in the article, but (I think) it was worth it.

    Below is my shop today. The large crate wasn't in my shop when I took the rest of the photos.

    1.jpg



    This is my shop, from the same angle, during the shoot for this Porter Cable grinder. I have a camera on the tripod, a number of shop-made white surfaces to reflect light off of and a number of painted black surfaces that help cover up some of the white surfaces nearby. This setup turned out to be for the image we used in the magazine.

    2.jpg



    This is one of the many photos I took as I adjusted the lighting, angles, exposure, etc. It was tricky to get as much of the photo completely black, especially with all the white surfaces nearby.

    3.jpg



    This is the final shot, after about 30 images were taken. It's dark pretty much everywhere except the wood, the tool and some of myself. There is no Photoshoping here whatsoever. This is right out of the camera.

    4.jpg



    Since coming on with the magazine I have been trying to up the photo quality. It's a difficult job, but I think it's an important one. I am still learning the ropes when it comes to lighting, composition, etc., but it has been fun. Hopefully the results make it worth it. Just thought some of you might like to see some of the processes involved with putting this article together. Enjoy!
    Last edited by Rob Brown; 06-26-2012 at 11:10 AM.
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

  2. #2
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    I.B.Woodworker

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    You should try using a strobe flash with a big softbox, or a softbox strip light. Put the softbox really close to the subject and take the photo with a very high shutter speed. The light is very large and will light up the close objects, but disperse very quickly. If the rest of the shop is dark then it will give a dramatic effect.
    Matt

    People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

  3. #3
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    Chris Wong

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    Thanks for sharing, Rob. Would a snoot have been effective at directing the light at the tool and wood only (and not your body)?
    Chris Wong
    http://flairwoodworks.com
    http://timewarptoolworks.com

    If you don't think your work is good enough, maybe you need a Magic Square.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    I'm sure a snoot would work, Chris, but I wasn't really going for that type of shot necessarily. I didn't mind my body being lit in the photo, as it gives the tool some context. I didn't know what a snoot was until I just looked it up....I will keep that in mind for some shots down the road.

    Matt, I'm sure if I had all those light boxes, etc. my approach would be quite different. It would be nice to have all the tricks in the book, but since I'm not truly making my living with this sort of thing I have to make due a bit. Thanks for the thoughts though.
    Last edited by Rob Brown; 06-28-2012 at 02:22 PM.
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

  5. #5
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    I.B.Woodworker

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Brown View Post
    Matt, I'm sure if I had all those light boxes, etc. my approach would be quite different. It would be nice to have all the tricks in the book, but since I'm not truly making my living with this sort of thing I have to make due a bit. Thanks for the thoughts though.
    You are correct in they do cost money.. But not as much as you might think. I went out and bought some Elinchrom BXRi light kit from Vistec. This was after going to a show put in by Scott Kelby where he went out and demonstrated how to get all the top end lighting effects that the pro's use with multi thousand dollar rigs, but using a $1200 lighting set. He is a pretty sought after photographer, and said that he just got rid of all his other lights and just used the two BXRi's now. I picked up a set and fell in love.

    I brought it up with your post as I know that many of us in the woodworking profession don't present out work in the best light (pun intended). I know this isn't a photography site but much is lost in the beauty when you just don't capture the finished product right. This was as good a spot as any to give some additional lighting suggestions.
    Matt

    People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

  6. #6
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    Chris Wong

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    The strobe (flash) set that I am using cost $450. It was part of my first foray into achieving better quality photographs and I have been very happy with them. They offer adjustable output which, given the limited room in which I have to work, is essential.

    Chris Wong
    http://flairwoodworks.com
    http://timewarptoolworks.com

    If you don't think your work is good enough, maybe you need a Magic Square.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    "Barn Doors" on your lights can give more control than snoots and they are easy to cobble up in your shop.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by sapwood View Post
    "Barn Doors" on your lights can give more control than snoots and they are easy to cobble up in your shop.
    Depends on how you use them

    Barn doors will restrict light spill much in the way a softbox without diffusers will but with more adjustment in shape and size.

    Both modifiers will "shape" the light but a snoot can be used to highlight just a small area of the object being shot or just the background.

    For instance, this is a flash unit I photographed to sell.

    Shot with a small softbox from overhead and slightly forward.

    Overhead strobe.jpg

    Then added a snoot to highlight the lower portion of the flash.

    one quarter power.jpg

    The "snoot" itself. A ring of MDF screwed to the reflector, a cardboard shipping tube and a loose circle of MDF with a smaller hole to further restrict the size of the circle of light thrown.

    Snoot on flash head.jpg

    snoot sidways.jpg

    I think what Rob has demonstrated is that understanding "light" and being creative with reflectors and direction can produce dramatic images without an arsenal of modifiers.

    Cheers, Don

  9. #9

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    I suggested barn doors based on the image of the hands working. The main light would be sized and positioned to provide relatively hard light giving shadows to the working hands showing veins and texture with good shadows on the tool and wood. Then the barn doors are swung in as needed to control the light spread.

    Your snoot was used to add lighting to a specific spot - with the hands above the need was to reduce light to background areas.

    Of course a black outfeed table on the saw would help as well - get some sheets of black foamcore from a graphic arts supply - light weight very black and matt surface - really sucks in the light - and some black gaffers tape to hold it in place.

    Severe snoot - used to fire a strobe through a zoom slide projector lens with a matt box on the front - lot of control.
    Last edited by sapwood; 07-16-2012 at 04:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    You guys have given me lots to think about. I made a quick and simple snoot out of some cardboard. I glued about 8 pieces together and am looking forward to giving it a try. I will let you know how it goes. I will also look into the "barn door" thing.

    Just by playing around with a single light source (and maybe a secondary source) and some very basic reflectors I have learned a lot. The tough thing about photography is that whenever someone sees a great photo they think "I could have taken THAT", but it's always MUCH harder than it looks. I'm learning all this the hard way....the only way, really!
    ______________________________________________
    Rob Brown
    Editor - Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement

  11. #11

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    Glad you're having fun, it will lead to success.

    Nice learning in digital - used to shoot a few and then head for the lab to process film - time consuming and expensive.

  12. #12
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    Stan Otto

    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    This has been a very informative thread. I'll have to read it over a few times before it sinks in but that's o.k.
    thanx for all the posts.

    stan

  13. #13
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    Toronto, Canada
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    Default Re: Magazine Photography

    I see that this man knows his job like his 5 fingers. Real master of his work. Respect

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