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Woodworking Photography #1: Getting sidetracked

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Blog entry by ronhowes posted 934 days ago 754 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’m getting sidetracked. If you’ll notice, the better woodworkers also seem to be excellent photographers. I’ve taken thousands of pictures over the years, but have come to realize that I know nothing about photography. Recently I have been scouring the internet, pouring over books and asking lot’s of questions. I have concluded that I really don’t want to venture into another hobby, but I do want to know enough to take better photos of my work- (and family, vacations, etc). Any ideas?



5 comments so far

View Jersey's profile

Jersey

44 posts in 1853 days


#1 posted 934 days ago

Hi Ron
Fine woodworkig did an article on taking pictures of your woodworking. Magazine number 213 or else you can get it online here http://www.finewoodworking.com/SkillsAndTechniques/SkillsAndTechniquesPDF.aspx?id=33487 but only with a subscription.
Cheers
Jersey

View Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor's profile

Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4896 posts in 1892 days


#2 posted 934 days ago

As you mentioned, Photography is an art and requires skill and lots of practice…just as our woorworking does. I am also constantly trying to learn and improve my photography also. One think I have learned is that I need ALOT of good lighting because the more I study my photos the more room I notice that the shadows and dark spots require lighting and lighting placement.
Other important factors are clarity and depth-of-field for complete sharpness from all views.
I am new to photography ( most certainly have never considered using my old point-and-shoot camera as photography) and I am barely scratching the surface of what I want to learn.
I bought a very nice Nikon DSLR camera woth interchangable lenses and so far I have about 10 different lights on stands in addition to photobubes and stands with backdrops.
Like our woodworking, it helps to have good equipment.
I suggest going to a local camera store and ask about some good books to read. Some camera storres even offer classes.

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work.

View ronhowes's profile

ronhowes

3 posts in 980 days


#3 posted 933 days ago

Thank you both very much. Very helpful. I think the FW article will be most helpful. I do have 2 books I’m reading now and am getting another for Christmas. I have an Olympus Stylus 850SW, which takes excellent pics. I had tried reading the manual but did not know enough to even understand the significance of what they were describing. I have always been enamored by the photos others take of their work- mine never look good. Hopefull these suggestions will help. Thanks again,

Ron

View jeth's profile

jeth

210 posts in 1421 days


#4 posted 933 days ago

If you like taking photos, don’t stress it, just take them at every opportunity and accept that like any art form it takes a lot of practise. As I’m sure you would in the shop when practising new techniques pay attention to the action and the result, learn what your tool will do and how it will respond to different situations.

You just have to accept that it will take time and be a gradual process of increased understanding and “sense” for it. This in itself is positive and you can enjoy progressing over time. By all means get a “handbook” of some description to get familiar with the basic theory, terms and workings of the camera but the important thing is developing the instinct to know how to take the shot you are after.

The biggest bonus is that in digital photography you can practise without limits as once you have your camera it costs nothing to shoot away, not like woodowrk where a unique piece of expensive wood or a whoƱle project may be at stake :)

View Brad's profile

Brad

786 posts in 1323 days


#5 posted 933 days ago

ronhowes,
My digitial photography improved with a 4-session class. We brought our cameras (for me a Cannon PowerShot) and our manuals. Then the instructor went through basics. For example, one assignment focused on flash photography. She had us take three pictures of the same object; 1) with flash, 2) without flash, 3) with fillflash. I had to look up how to turn the flash off and how to turn the fillflash on. The results amazed me. And my pictures were just as good as some of the ones my classmates took with DSLRs.

Virtually all of my tool rehab and wood project photos are taken with the flash turned off, all the lights turned on, using auto mode in macro. After transferring them to my computer I copy and paste all the files into PowerPoint where I manipulate them. I can add text, arrows and other graphics. And I can group them into a composite shot too. These features help me better illustrate by blog and projects.

Guys, tell me more about your stands with backdrops. How do you use them to improve your pictures?

Regards,
Brad

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

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