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Forum topic by MT_Stringer posted 01-26-2014 10:48 PM 2019 views 1 time favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3168 posts in 3226 days

01-26-2014 10:48 PM

Up on my soapbox – The title says it all. Some of you post the worst pictures I have ever seen. Come on now, get on the stick. You take pride in your work, take that extra step and take good quality photos so the folks here can see and appreciate your work.

It is not rocket science. There is no reason to post out of focus or blurry images. Today’s cameras are pretty darn good. It doesn’t matter if you are using a cell phone or a ten thousand dollar camera setup. The results are all that matter. Your image should be in sharp focus, and hopefully well lit either by the sun or the camera’s flash.

Plain and simple…

Focus on your subject. If the image isn’t in focus, delete the pic and take more.

Shoot tight and crop tighter. That is my motto. Show off your project and not the clutter in the background. I have a small workspace and fight that problem continuously. I take several pictures from different angles to try and reduce background clutter.

Light your subject. Turn on your camera flash, cell phone flash or whatever you are using. Your camera will focus better and as a result, your picture will look better.

Post pics in the correct orientation. Sideways photos don’t do your project any justice and it is hard for the viewer to appreciate your work. I discovered that sometimes when I post straight from the cell phone to the website, the pics would come out sideways. But if I crop the image ever so slightly in the camera and then post it, the picture would post in the correct orientation. Try that and hopefully it will work for you also.

I use a variety of cameras
  • Canon 1D MKIII which I bought for sports photography several years ago
  • Sony Cybershot
  • Cell phone (or iPad) for quick grabs when I am in the middle of a project.

Through the years, I have taken hundreds of thousands of photos but I still struggle with the cell phone to get acceptable pics. And, being partially colorblind, I have a continuous battle that I wage trying to get my color adjustments right.
Getting down from my soapbox.

Hope you aren’t offended and find some of this info useful. I am just trying to help fellow woodworkers out.

Below are several pics each taken with a different camera setup.

taken with Cell phone

taken with Canon 1D MKIII

taken with Sony Cybershot

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

54 replies so far

View JollyGreen67's profile


1669 posts in 2758 days

#1 posted 01-26-2014 11:37 PM

What if we don’t have a Canon 1D MKIII, or a Sony Cybershot ? You think my ancient Canon SLR QL would work ?

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1624 days

#2 posted 01-26-2014 11:54 PM

You struggle with your cell phone??? I think #1 might be the best. I like the red, blue and green accents. Was that composed? :)
I think it also has the best lighting. I’m not a fan of a flash shots.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 2470 days

#3 posted 01-27-2014 12:26 AM

Mike, I will admit that there are some posts that I would love to see better pictures. It is not because of the poor camera or technique but because I would really like to get a better view of the project. In your profile pic I see you have a real camera and assume you are an avid photographer as well as a woodworker.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3226 days

#4 posted 01-27-2014 12:58 AM

JImbo – Yes sir. No problem.

John, I have a hard time holding the cell phone still while it focuses and then takes the pic. I get a lot of blurry pics with it. I was moving the cabinet around to put it under the saw. That was the most room available for a pic.

Anytime my air compressor comes on the tray vibrates outward. The red and blue from the push stick and air compressor just happened to be in the pic.

Casual1 – I used that camera and a couple of others (7D and 40D) for high school sports photography. I finally decided to retire from that and spend more time slinging sawdust.

Actually, the Sony Cybershot is hard for me to hold because it is small and so I wind up fumbling with it. :-(

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3737 days

#5 posted 01-27-2014 03:08 AM

I agree that tighter photos would be better but the site is for sharing what we have done in the shops.

I share your peeve about sideways pics…. I see a project posted on its side and think ‘Really’?

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1624 days

#6 posted 01-27-2014 03:16 AM

Do you worry about the color temperature of your light source? #1 and #2 look great, but #3 is iffy. #1 is a cold machine, and #2 is a warm and cozy kitchen. Both perfect to my eye. #3 has an unappetizing yellow cast for a cutting board. Must be the flash.
I really do like the three green stripes on the edge of the plywood in #1. Block them out and take a look at the picture again. The case and the background would have run together without them.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2432 days

#7 posted 01-27-2014 04:07 AM

I’m with you 1000% on this Mike. I’m not a photographer and my project pics aren’t perfect by a long shot. However they are all in focus, are reasonably well lit and are oriented correctly. IMHO with today’s digital cameras/phones there is no reason for a badly focused still picture. If I have to take 30 pics of something to get what I think is a decent enough pic, that’s what I do. What are you wasting? Certainly not film. Snap it, look at it, then save it or delete it and retake it. As far as getting them oriented, not everyone can figure out todays technology, but you can ask for help. I’m sure there are plenty of people here that would be able to help walk you through it if you can’t do it on your own.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3226 days

#8 posted 01-27-2014 05:22 AM

John, you have a very keen eye. I had to go back and look at the pics to see the green stripes. I didn’t even know what you were talking about.

All three pics were taken using flash. The first one was straight on out in the garage with white light bulbs overhead.
The other two were taken in my kitchen. The wine crate was lit by the flash being bounced off the ceiling to create a soft light. I had trouble adjusting the color balance in that pic. It is too warm.

The last pic was shot with direct flash from the little Sony camera.

As y’all can see I too can improve my pics and I constantly try to get them right. Color balance eats my lunch sometimes. What you see and what I see can be different. Note: I have never been able to find the numbers in the color blindness charts. :-(

Thanks Tom. Good reply. I think you are doing it right. Film is cheep these days! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View oldnovice's profile


6841 posts in 3363 days

#9 posted 01-27-2014 06:09 AM

The photo(s) should reflect the pride in the project!

The best projects can be ruined by poor presenttion and bad photos while a mediocre project can be seen as beautiful with a good presentation in a well done photograph.

All my newer projects were taken several different digital cameras while my older projects were done with a film camera and scanned in for posting. If I get an out of focus image from either CA Mara it is not worth posting.

For example, take a look at the project photos from Bentwood as these are beautiful presentations of her projects.

Another example, IMO, are those of Martyn, BritBoxmaker simple yet well done project photos.

That’s my 2¢ worth.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4127 posts in 2304 days

#10 posted 01-27-2014 06:34 AM

I like seeing what in the background. Sometime you see interesting “stuff”.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29220 posts in 2333 days

#11 posted 01-27-2014 08:41 AM

I totally agree and I am also totally guilty of most of the mistakes.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2671 days

#12 posted 01-27-2014 03:00 PM

I avoid taking project pics with my droid if possible, sometimes, it’s the camera in hand.

I use Adobe Photoshop elements 8 to organize my pictures but it takes too long to edit them with it.

Instead, I use the Windows Live Photo Gallery. it’s so simple. Rotate, crop, adjust color, darkness, all that stuff.

how do you guys save and edit your pics?

Good rant.
And…There’s no excuse anymore! You can take as many pictures as you want, pick out a few and erase the rest!

Remember 24 picture rolls of 35mm? That got expensive. every shot counted. I’m still scanning all my 4×6s.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3226 days

#13 posted 01-27-2014 04:14 PM

Mark – in the past, I used PSE 8 also, and still do sometimes, especially if I grab an image off the screen. It is easy to paste it into PSE8 and tweak the settings.

For everything else, I use Adobe Lightroom (left over from the photography days). I can easily import many pics (thousands, if necessary), make a change to one of them, then sync all of the pics to apply the settings to all in the blink of an eye. It is easy to apply exposure, color balance, sharpness, contrast, crop, etc.

I realize Lightroom isn’t for a lot of folks due to the cost of the software, but I have the money invested from several years ago so I use it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15344 posts in 2613 days

#14 posted 01-27-2014 04:26 PM

Reedwood asked, “How do you guys save and edit your pics?”

- I used Photobucket faithfully until I ran into their bandwidth usage limit. Pics taken on my iphone within the PB app would upload directly and be sized automatically for viewing on LJs
- Yes, I use my iphone 3gs almost exclusively for posts here; if not that, the ipad 3
- Pics don’t get edited… if I don’t like it, there’s a re-take or two until it’s right like Reed says
- Organized in PB and now in Photostream

Good topic.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1624 days

#15 posted 01-27-2014 04:32 PM

I’m with Mark regarding Windows Live Photo Gallery. It’s an amazingly sophisticated photo editing program, and it’s FREE. I don’t think a lot of folks know that it’s sitting there unused in their computers.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

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