Author Topic: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings  (Read 6860 times)

Offline DavePEI

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Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« on: March 14, 2013, 01:45:19 PM »
Something I thought we should have is a space for hints for taking photos for CRPF postings with digital cameras.  First of all, I am not what you might call an accomplished photographer, but I have taken many phone photos, and thought I would pass along to others some hints that I have learned over the years. Whether you use an expensive DSLR, or a simpler 10 megapixel camera, you can get good results.

So, I will start it off with a few suggestions..

a) Number one! Get to know the Macro mode on your camera. Macro is generally shown on a camera as a flower symbol (depending of course on manufacturer variations)  The more close-up your photo is taken, the more macro mode is needed. Check you manual for more information. On my Canons, it is extremely easy to use, and allows the camera to focus on objects much closer than normal, and resulting on photos being more in focus. You can generally look at a photo and tell if it was taken in Macro mode or not, just by how good the focus is. No doubt you have seen horribly unfocussed - even unidentifiable shots on eBay - the Macro mode when used properly will prevent these.

If you don't have the manual for your camera, Google for
Macro Mode on (Manufacturer of camera) (Model of Camera)
You should find a number of articles specific to your camera
 or to a model very similar to it..

i.e. Canon T1i: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ1ONGlH11Y

b) Always, before posting, re-size your photos so they are a maximum of 1200x1200 pixels and 91828 KB in size. Larger sizes are not necessary, and will slow the loading of the forum, as well as taking up needless space in the forum's photo directory. I generally will post photos sized 1000 pixels or smaller in the largest dimension. This is still large enough that it will post in a thumbnail format, that you can click on to view a larger version.

c) Good lighting is important for best results. For many photos, I use a light tent. Shown below is a light tent I use. The one I use is Polaroid branded. This was picked up on eBay for about $40. including the side floods, backdrops, and camera stand. Non-polaroid branded ones are available as well.

The idea is to provide a solid background for your photo while eliminating shadows using the side lights diffused through the fabric.

The camera sits on the front pod, and the tent is used in conjunction with your camera's built-in flash. It is a cheap one, but it works.

I confess, I don't always use this, as it takes time to set up, but for a perfect shot, it is invaluable for preventing shadows, and for providing a solid background,.

--

Lacking a light tent, use whatever works best for you. Many people quite successfully take their photos outside in full sunshine to good effect. Direct overhead sunlight will also effectively eliminate shadows.

--

d) Another accessory I use often is a circline LED light which mounts around the lens. This will eliminate even more lighting differences by eliminating a lot of the glare you can get from a flash. The light I have will only work with my DSLR Canon - it is too large to fit on the A640 lens ring. I am not sure if there are smaller diameters made.

This is all part of eliminating shadows which distract from your photo. Between the solid front lighting provided by one of these, and the diffused side lighting given by the use of a light tent, if will eliminate most shadows.

Aside from this, the solid light will help your camera to focus properly on the object being photographed.

Below, a photo of a light tent, minus its top  cover, and my circline light..

--

The danger of my undertaking this section is one might expect to see professional quality photos from me. That won't be the case, as I don't always listen to my own advice. Often, I will snap a quick photo just to get something up. But the overall goal, is to get all of us to think when we take shots for posting, and to improve the overall quality of the photos on the forum. If it helps beyond that, wonderful!

I am sure everyone has some great ideas worth passing along. Improving your photos doesn't need to be costly, mostly a matter of technique. Any other suggestions or different methods? Lets share our ideas with others!

Dave
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 07:14:23 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 09:19:23 PM »
Thanks, Dave, for the superb tips, and recommendations!

     I find these most helpful, as I am sure most here will, also.

     I have a few additional suggestions, as solicited by your post, to make this easy-peasy for all here on the forum: I shall comply, myself, having previously posted several over-sized, under-focused photos. We shall have to remedy that, then...

     Due to time constraints, I will post a few suggestions, in serial fashion, so that I can continue accomplishing the required, here, at home...

     1>  Use a tripod. Do it. Buy a cheap one, if you have one not. Wally-world has more-than-adequate ones for >$20.  

     2> Use the delay setting on your camera, so your hand is not on the camera when the 'shutter' snaps. Zero camera motion=the most possible clarity that your camera can produce. That's what we all likey, right? ;)

     More to come, following a few errands...thanks for your time, and indulgence...

Best regards! ;)
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:54:29 PM by Mr. Bones »
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 09:24:53 PM »
I think the important thing is for people to do the best they can with the equipment they have - often just a little learned technique can make a huge difference!

We all want to concentrate what cash we have to spare (even what we don't have to spare in my case) into our phone collecting! So we don't want to spend a lot on new photographic equipment.  But we can use what we do have to its best advantage.

The better the photo, the easier it will be for other users to see your photo. In a case where you are showing the wiring of a phone to diagnose a problem, the clearer the photo the better!

Much of what I will suggest here has been learned running the Island Register web site since 1991. During those years, I have gone from scanned film photos, to a lousy Fuji digital not even as good as today's webcams, then through a series of 3 digital Canon Cameras, a Powershot G2, then the Powershot A640 and the Rebel t1i DSLR. I have watched as digital cameras and media improved and matured into equipment meeting and exceeding the quality of 35 mm film. Sadly, today's digital quality has killed roll film photography.

I know I have posted some poor photos myself in the past - the main thing is we all try to do our best given the equipment and knowledge we have at the time!

Dave
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 07:15:06 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 10:37:42 PM »
I think the important thing is for people to do the best they can with the equipment they have - often just a little learned technique can make a huge difference!

The better the photo, the easier it will be for other users to see your photo. In a case where you are showing the wiring of a phone to diagnose a problem, the clearer the photo the better!

I know I have posted some poor photos myself in the past - the main thing is we all try to do our best!

Dave
Dave,

     I am in total agreement with you, and hoping to augment your initial posting with a few tips and tricks, as requested, based upon 17+ years custom web designing, and graphics experience. It's so easy, even I can do it!

     >Use the highest resolution that your particular camera can photograph. Save the photos in a non-compressed format, such as a bitmap (.bmp)You can always reduce it, by means of an editing program. You cannot, however, increase it, to try to see a critical detail that you might have missed, while you had your phone apart for pictures.

     >There are many, many free / shareware photo-editing programs available...I strongly advise against going and spending $500.00-$1000.00+ for the latest, greatest version of Photoshop, etc.

     The learning curve, due to the amount of options available, is quite formidable, and, unless you are a professional graphics-guru, for your daily bread-and-butter, there is little, or no justification for even a fraction of the expenditure. One can buy quite a lot of cool telephone stuff, for the money... spend it there, instead.

     I use an old JASC program, Paint Shop Pro 4.14. I have newer versions of same, but I can recommend this one, for ease-of-approachability, especially for those not versed in computer graphics work. It can be downloaded, shareware, for zero dollars, zero cents. I will gladly provide a link, if any are interested.

     I will gladly provide tutorial assistance to forum members in the manipulation of captured graphics, to make them forum-compliant.

     More to come...

Best regards!
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 02:18:27 AM »
I also use Photoshop 5.5 and Paint Shop Pro x5 (now distributed by Corel) because I already had it for my web design. But as Mr. Bones suggested,  there are cheaper and freeware programs one can use as well. I also have them because of my web design and running the Island Register.

Both work well, but for most work, I prefer Photoshop. A suitable program for photo manipulation, cropping and resizing may even have come bundled with your camera software.

I will list some free image editing software later.

--

e) One hint that I might add, is when taking a photo of, for example, a section of a circuit, back off from the shot - don't try to take it too close. You will need to crop the shot anyway, so just crop the extraneous stuff to bring it down to suggested sizes. Don't reduce the complete photo, do it by cropping to the part you wish to show. That is where you see the advantages of the higher megapixel cameras - they take a huge photo which can be cropped to show only part of the whole shot. By doing so, you can improve the focus of the area you wish to show.

eg, the Canon Rebel t1i DSLR, a 15.1 megapixel camera will take photos in the following sizes:

RAW 4752 x 3168 - 20.2 MB,
Fine JPEG 4752 x 3168 - 5 MB,

Normal JPEG 4752 x 3168 - 2.5 MB,
Fine JPEG 3456 x 2304 - 3 MB,
Normal JPEG 3456 x 2304 - 1.6 MB,
Fine JPEG 2352 x 1568 - 1.7 MB,
Normal JPEG 2352 x 1568 - 0.9 MB
Plus several HD Video modes.

The Canon Powershot A640, a 10 megapixel camera has a maximum resolution of  3648 x 2736 pixels, with other selectable resolutions of 2816 x 2112, 2272 x 1704, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480 pixels. It will also take video, but not HD as in the T1i. This in my opinion would be a good choice if you are considering the purchase of a used fixed lens camera. They can often be purchased quite inexpensively.

Bold=Recommended Resolutions

These two cameras are mentioned only as they are the ones I am most familiar with.

I normally take in the highest resolution available, then crop or resize down to what I need.

f) Another hint I might add. Before disassembling your new phone take several shots from several different directions at high resolution. You can refer to these later one when you re-assemble it to ensue you have wired it correctly! This has saved my butt a couple of occasions!

g) If you frequently take pictures with your digital camera, the purchase of a card reader for your computer can be an excellent investment. When you use a reader, you take the card out of the camera, plug it into your reader, and transfer of your photos will be many times faster than with the umbilical that comes with your camera.

Dave
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 08:25:10 AM by DavePEI »
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 11:00:40 AM »
I also use Photoshop 5.5

I've been using Photoshop Elements for more than a decade. It has most of the editing features of the full blown Photoshop but at much less the cost and with a lot less disk and memory usage requirement. I don't use 80% of what they provide for photo editing but the 20% I do is worth the price.

Started with Photoshop Deluxe about 1990 and when that was discontinued, Adobe sent me to elements. It's about $70 now (was $100 10 years ago) but well worth it. Here's a link to it on Amazon (and it is available elsewhere). There are other similar software programs out there so this is just one person's recommendation of one product.

http://tinyurl.com/c5w6rd8

There have been other discussions of software on the forum. I recently researched several for a friend. The web conclusion was they all work well but with Adobe having a giant share of the market, their support was better and most likely long term (photos from prior versions could be read by future versions).
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 12:02:49 PM by TelePlay »
            John . . .

              

Offline DavePEI

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 11:30:27 AM »
I also use Photoshop 5.5

I've been using Photoshop Elements for more than a decade. It has most of the editing features of the full blown Photoshop but at much less the cost and with a lot less disk and memory usage requirement. I don't use 80% of what they provide for photo editing but the 20% I do is worth the price.

Yes, Photoshop Elements works well for basic image manipulation.

Another great piece of software which is totally free is Irfanview. "IrfanView is one of the longest-serving and most popular freeware image editors available. Fast, compact, and flexible, IrfanView is also packed with features and extras, including TWAIN support, frames and borders, and slideshows, wallpaper, and screenshots".

Read more: IrfanView - CNET Download.com http://download.cnet.com/IrfanView/#ixzz2NiskDVaV

Download: http://www.irfanview.com/

--

There is also GIMP for Windows, also free: http://www.gimp.org/

"GIMP is a popular open-source image editor originally developed for Unix/Linux. Often lauded as the "free Photoshop," it does have an interface and features similar to Photoshop, but with a steep learning curve to match".

Read more on GIMP: http://download.cnet.com/GIMP/3000-2192_4-10073935.html?tag=contentBody;pop

Dave
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 01:12:29 PM by DavePEI »
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Offline DavePEI

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 08:37:36 PM »
can someone tell me how to upload a photo for my profile photo? thankyou. southernphoneman.

First of all, your profile has to be very small - 100x100 pixels - no larger. You must reduce the file size in a graphics editor. It cannot be a normal size photo.

Then you go to your profile.

Then you click on Forum Profile Information.

Halfway down the page, you will see "I will upload my own picture".

Use the pick box to upload the small profile picture.

Click on change profile at the bottom.

Done.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 08:42:49 PM by DavePEI »
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southernphoneman

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 09:13:40 PM »
looks like I got it dave,thank you. :) ;)....southernphoneman

Offline WesternElectricBen

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 10:51:30 PM »
Didn't know light tents were that cheep. I hate a plain black back ground. If I buy one I plan to cut and place wood paneling in back to make it go with the phone and it won't look boring white!

Ben

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 05:18:28 AM »
Didn't know light tents were that cheep. I hate a plain black back ground. If I buy one I plan to cut and place wood paneling in back to make it go with the phone and it won't look boring white!
Well, now that's part of the reason for using a plain background. You see the item you are photographing, and not the distraction of a cluttered background. Take a look at the photo of the Ti1 above. Much better, as it stands out from the page, and your eyes focus on it, itself, instead of a multicoloured background.

Aside from that, the light tent allows you to get rid of the shadows which surround a flash photo.

Dave
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Offline WesternElectricBen

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 09:06:45 AM »
Didn't know light tents were that cheep. I hate a plain black back ground. If I buy one I plan to cut and place wood paneling in back to make it go with the phone and it won't look boring white!
Well, now that's part of the reason for using a plain background. You see the item you are photographing, and not the distraction of a cluttered background. Take a look at the photo of the Ti1 above. Much better, as it stands out from the page, and your eyes focus on it, itself, instead of a multicoloured background.

Aside from that, the light tent allows you to get rid of the shadows which surround a flash photo.

Dave

I have to disagree, I like minimal "custom" effect like a painted wall or a wood desk to take pictures on.

Ben

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 11:51:48 AM »
Take a look at the photo of the Ti1 above. Much better,

Dave

What is a Ti1 and where is it's picture above?

Terry

<edit>  
okay, found it.... The camera. Last time I bought a new SLR camera, Canon was still in the "Model A" range! AE1 in 1977! It was THE camera to purchase then.

Terry
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 11:57:12 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline DavePEI

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 03:29:31 PM »

okay, found it.... The camera. Last time I bought a new SLR camera, Canon was still in the "Model A" range! AE1 in 1977! It was THE camera to purchase then.

Hi Terry:

Yep, that's the one with the circular flash mounted on the front...

Dave

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Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Hints For Taking Photos For CRPF Postings
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 09:59:25 PM »
I have to disagree, I like minimal "custom" effect like a painted wall or a wood desk to take pictures on.
Ben
     Everybody has their own personal preferences, and it most certainly depends on why one is photographing a phone.

     In the case of trying to show extreme detail, in order to sell, let's say, an extremely rare or choice phone... I would most likely utilize the light tent method, or at least a background that would be seamless, and not detract from the subject.

     That being said, for everyday phone photos, I have to agree with WesternElectricBen's taste in aesthetics.

      I, myself, like pictures that show telephones in their 'natural habitat', such as an old rolltop desk, kitchen wall, and often with other items of similar vintage, i.e.; antique radios, kitchenware, signage, furniture, etc.

     For me, few things are warmer and more comforting than the 'Homey' feel this type of setting creates.

Best regards!

     
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