Saturday, 30 August 2008

Common product photography problems:

Perhaps the most common product photography problems I see posted about in forums like those on Etsy, is how to combat either dark photos with grey backgrounds which are supposed to be white, or backgrounds with a colour cast that are also supposed to be white.

Underexposure & incorrect white balance:

Both are very easily fixed, it's how you're exposing the shots that causes the greyness and incorrect white balance that causes colour casts.

A little exposure compensation on your camera will fix underexposure and grey backgrounds a treat - I've written a tutorial which covers both issues and several others. Choosing the correct white balance, or setting up a custom one for combined lighting sources can fix weird colour casts. Very often, both are an issue and fixing them in the camera will save a lot of post-processing work later.

See this page - underexposure of this nature is explained and illustrated about two thirds down the page:

One simple adjustment on your camera will sort it out - if you can't find the controls for it, come out of auto mode and try something like P (programmed auto) or A (aperture priority) instead - that often relinquishes a lot of controls the camera takes over in full auto mode.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Some free software that you might find useful:

Someone just asked me for a recommendation for some free software for working on images and these are ones I've used and can recommend:

  • Picasa from Google:
  • Irfan View:
  • Fast Stone Viewer:
  • Gimp:
  • XnView:

  • Picassa allows you to organise your images on your hard drive and then work on them individually too - it's perhaps the easiest for a novice to get to grips with and allows you to tinker with images without damaging the originals. It's made by Google.

    Irfan View is the one application that is almost always open on my system - I use it to view all my images on the memory card, to preview and find images, sort and organise. It has lots of amazing features and I'd part with a lot on my hard drive before you could prize that from my cold dead fingers! Despite its simple appearance, it has a lot of very sophisticated features and even allows you to install and use Actions designed for Photoshop compatible applications - which makes it a pretty powerful tool in your arsenal.

    Fast Stone Viewer is incredibly similar to Irfan View.

    Gimp is fairly new to me and I've not used it much myself, but I know from the people whose work I rate that recommend it, it must be worthy.

    XnView is another I have open often. I use it alongside Irfan View as it's similar in functionality, but different enough in the GUI that I use it for slightly different things. I was very impressed when I had a problem with a feature that didn't work as I hoped and would like, I went to the site forum to ask about it (thinking that I was just doing it wrong) and the application creator changed the program for me - actually re-wrote it to do what I wanted. A feature I use very often, with gratitude.

    Thursday, 21 August 2008

    Jewellery and photography

    My two passions are making jewellery and photography - and they spend a lot of time coming together.

    I aim to post about both here and to incorporate articles I've already written on photographing jewellery into this format.

    To follow shortly I have tutorials on photographing small objects to sell on places like and my own free lighting diffuser - i.e. you can make it free from found objects. The diffuser was used for the bracelet photograph above right.


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