Help with pictures

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Forum topic by DocT posted 01-02-2009 03:58 AM 1450 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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109 posts in 3672 days

01-02-2009 03:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Does anyone have any advice about taking pictures of your work?!

Do any of you use professional photographers?

I know that the average post doesn’t need “GREAT” photos, but I long for my work to look like gallery images in Fine Woodworking. Am I alone in my vanity?

I guess I’m looking for advice on everything from backgrounds to lighting…


16 replies so far

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4287 days

#1 posted 01-02-2009 04:17 AM

Hi Doc. The first thing you need is a good digital camera that’s at least 2 or 3 mega-pixels. I’ve got a Canon Rebel XT that as long as you’ve got the auto focus enabled, it’s pretty hard to take a bad picture. That being said, I always try to get the window light behind me to reduce glare. That’s about all I have to know. However Todd Clippinger did a pretty good blog on the subject and clearly posts better pictures that me. You can find it here.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3913 days

#2 posted 01-02-2009 04:28 AM

Pictures look WAY different on a small digital camera screen, then they do on the “normal” computer screens. What looks perfectly clear on a small screen, may be very out of focus/blurry when you look at it on the screen. It kills me when people spends enormous amounts on woodworking equipment but won’t spend money on a decent camera, and are ok with posting pictures that sometimes don’t allow you to see details as you want to see them. Then again, as someone who’s prided himself on having taken probably over 100,000 digital pics in 10 years time, I’m a stickler for a clean pic. Depending on your needs in a camera, you can go with a $100 point and shoot pocket digital camera, or spend thousands for a Mega Digital as I call them.

I would never (have a need to) hire a pro photographer myself, but if you have the money, then go for it.

As for backgrounds, it can be something as simple as a bed sheet hung over a frame, to a photo booth/light box (there’s some posted here that are made by lumberjocks), or whatever you want.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 01-02-2009 04:30 AM

I second the vote for Todd Clippinger’s blog. I don’t do everything he says, but he is completely right and very professional. He won’t lead you wrong.

-- Berta in NC

View Praki's profile


201 posts in 4230 days

#4 posted 01-02-2009 04:35 AM

If your projects are small, say boxes, a light box would be very handy. I think I have seen some posted here. You can find one design at

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3999 days

#5 posted 01-02-2009 04:39 AM

Just experiment until you get it the way you like it. It’s not costing you anything.

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4114 days

#6 posted 01-02-2009 04:53 AM

heres another post ive had in my favs . for a while

View DocT's profile


109 posts in 3672 days

#7 posted 01-02-2009 05:31 AM

Wow, thanks so much for the links. I browsed each of them and am looking forward to reading them more in depth!

Does anyone else have any input or stories about what they’re doing that works (or doesn’t).


View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4452 days

#8 posted 01-02-2009 04:40 PM

Check out my projects. I don’t put a whole lot of fuss into the photography, but I find everything looks better if you shoot it in daylight.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View cherylf's profile


42 posts in 3666 days

#9 posted 01-02-2009 08:01 PM

Hi Doc! Well, I don’t know much about woodworking (yet!!) but I do know about photography. While you do not have to have a very expensive camera you really should invest in some good photofinishing software. I use Photoshop CS3 (very expensive $700 new) however you can find older versions like CS1 pretty cheap. Check out (and Ebay) and just put it “photo software”, there are a few others besides photoshop, you need to make sure it is geared towards digital photos versus 35MM. There is a BIG difference in how your photos will turn out. Good luck!!

-- I think I was a man in a previous life - why else would I be blonde and like beer!

View NicoleSpag's profile


45 posts in 4311 days

#10 posted 01-02-2009 09:13 PM

Hey Doc

Marc and I picked up a light tent from It works great and folds away nicely when not in use. I pretty much use this guy for anything dealing with photograph. He gives great deals and good products.

-- Visit us at

View DocT's profile


109 posts in 3672 days

#11 posted 01-03-2009 01:46 AM

Thank you Cheryl. I hadn’t thought of Ebay for used software. The simplest things are usually the quickest to elude me. I knew about Photoshop and also knew I wasn’t going to afford it without a HELOC.

Shhhh, there’s a whisperer in da house! Wow! Spagnuolo’s better half responded to my thread. Thank you for the link and THANK YOU for the podcasts!!!!


View cherylf's profile


42 posts in 3666 days

#12 posted 01-03-2009 01:56 AM

You are welcome. One more thing I forgot to mention: If you are running Windows Vista like I am (I hate it, but I said that about XP when I first had that) any software that was developed prior to Vista may be a little problematic. I use a Mac for all my professional photo work but use the PC for personal. Just check the fine print and it will usually tell you what to expect.

-- I think I was a man in a previous life - why else would I be blonde and like beer!

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3999 days

#13 posted 01-03-2009 03:02 AM

Can’t help but ask why you just use your Mac for photo work….? and the PC for everything else? What OS are you running on your Mac (if you don’t mind me asking?)

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 3853 days

#14 posted 01-03-2009 07:22 AM

I gave up on fine photography. Even with a decent digital camera I take a lousy picture. Simple point and shoot and try to make sure the glare isn’t too bad is about the best I can do.

View snoreta's profile


1 post in 3664 days

#15 posted 01-03-2009 08:43 AM

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