Photographing small machines which consist of dark rough iron and brass-copper which have very bright reflective highlights, is tricky. Usually I take multiple shots, with and without flash, with spot meter exposure on different surfaces. Then I pick the one which looks least bad.
If there are any expert photographers out there who can advise on a more rational photographic approach I would love to have your advice.
Most of these shots are from an iphone. I use a Nikon D300 when it is handy.
Ideally a light tent with the object inside- a very even light is washed over the whole object through the walls of the tent. In the case of larger machines, have a clean, even background, and again a large flat light source (not a point light source light a flash or a light bulb) – imagine trying to throw a sheet of light over the whole object, rather than pointing a torch at it. Have a look at studio photos of car promotions to see how the experts photograph shiny objects with multiple reflective surfaces to see what I mean.
Doesn’t mean I practice what I preach! I have a collapsable light tent, and now with some space I’ll be setting up a small photo studio area on the mezzanine of the workshop to be able to take better photos of shiny metal objects!
Forgot to mention- really like the photos where you’ve used the plans as a backdrop. With a large, flat lightsource (and trying for no shadows) you’ll get some great results.
iPhone is good for snaps, but there is a reason a camera with large bits of glass for lenses are still the primary tool (not to say that 80% of my photos are not shot on the iPhone- something to be said for ease of use and quickly uploading results without fuss!!)
A tent in my workshop??
Visions of a white fabric structure, very rapidly looking like a pizza cooks apron..
However I will check it out Stuart, and thanks for the advice.
I have been experimenting with a ring flash for the closeups. Seems to give more even light, but obviously only for the closeup- macro shots.
Reblogged this on johnsmachines and commented:
As you will see in the later pictures of the beam engine, I have changed the steam delivery pipe arrangement 3 or 4 times, and I am still not entirely happy. I do like the copper pipe, smooth bends, and brass flanges. But getting the path locations so they look correct and functional is quite a challenge. Also the fact that I need to fit in a displacement oiler somewhere, and that mostly the engine will run on compressed air anyway.
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