Photographing Setups & Processes

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Post by JimGlass » Tue May 20, 2008 10:40 am

Excellent tips.

I just bought a Kodak M853, 8.2 Mega Pixel to replace my old
Kodak DX 3500 2.2 Mega pixel. Results with the new cameral have been mixed and now I know why.

I have a couple of tripods that I will start using.
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So much to learn and so little time.

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Post by Michael_Moore » Tue May 20, 2008 11:46 am

I don't think I've seen anyone mention one of the most important camera accessories: image manipulation software.

Taking the photo is only the first step. From what I've read a lot of ace photographers like A.Adams spent days in the darkroom working on the final image. That wasn't an option for all of us who just dropped our film off at the local drugstore for developing and printing. That is no longer the case now that digicams are so common.

You don't need a full copy of Photoshop. I used MS Photo Editor (bundled with Office 97) for many years to rotate, crop, and adjust contrast and other features. Paint.NET ( ) is a free PS-style program that is pretty powerful and since it is open source people write interesting tools for it. I recently got a copy of PS Elements and I switch between that and Paint.NET when I need different things that one program does easier than the other.

I see a LOT of photos on the 'net that are really dark. But they have lots of detail hiding in that darkness and often 10 seconds of playing with brightness and contrast can bring much of that detail out. PS Elements has a "lighten shadows" tool that I've found very useful as it doesn't make areas that are already light enough too bright and washed out. It targets the dark areas. You may need to do a blur if you brighten the shadows a lot as you'll get some noise showing up. But "brighten shadows" is often the first thing I reach for and the only thing that is really needed for many photos.

Having a nice image to start with is a big plus. But it doesn't always happen, so sometimes you've got to make a nice image. There's enough free to modest to moderate-price "consumer" image manipulation software out there (you may have even gotten some with your camera or scanner) so no one who wants some should be unable to get it.


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Post by seal killer » Tue May 20, 2008 7:27 pm


I have several pieces of image emulation software, including the full-blown version of Photoshop . . . which I think I might start using due to your post.

I use an old DOS program called lviewbpro.exe. I use it to crop and resize. If I want to do anything "fancy", I use Windows Paint and paste the image into lviewbpro.

I bet Photoshop is a LOT better. But, due to my experience, many of my pictures do not need much editing. As others have mentioned, taking tight shots, no flash, etc., goes a long way towards creating a good picture in the first place.

I might actually slit that Photoshop shrink rap tonight!

You are what you write.

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Post by Michael_Moore » Tue May 20, 2008 8:04 pm

Bill, I have an older full version of both PS and Illustrator. They are way (make that waaaaaaaaaaaaay) too cumbersome for my purposes. Talk about a tool that is so powerful it can only be used for good or evil! :)

PS Elements still does a lot of stuff I've never even tried out, but it can be bought for under $100 and is designed for the person who doesn't do graphics manipulation 40 hours/week.

Elements (or paint.NET or MS Photo Editor) are designed to let the person who doesn't understand about balancing levels (count me in) fiddle around and do something with their photograph or artwork. When it comes to art, I'm a passable drafter. Hold my hand, please! Make it easy and don't confuse me with specialist jargon. I just want to make my photos look a bit nicer. They aren't going to be entered in a judged competition, they are going to be used to share information.

I read about things like GIMP and other open source software but I've not had good luck with *nix based stuff. Paint.NET is pretty darn cool for being free. I've used it for doing some t-shirt designs and it lets me do some things a lot easier than in PS Elements, and far easier than in PS. I'm sure that PS will do somethings that paint.NET won't, but I don't know what they are and in that case they are probably irrelevant to me.

As is often the case, it doesn't matter what tool you get as long as you have a tool that you can actually use to accomplish something.

Anyone who is throwing away photos out of their digicam because they aren't "good enough" right out of the camera is probably tossing out some pretty good stuff that would be usable with 3-5 minutes of manipulation (or less).


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Post by BadDog » Tue May 20, 2008 9:46 pm

IMO, forget anything Adobe. In my experience, their stuff is always among the worst of the worst. Always cumbersome, slow, and generally a pain to use; and this applies doubly to Photo Shop (strictly my opinion, but I do have some relevant background to form that opinion).

If you want something that is actually reasonable and productive, look at Paint Shop Pro. But make sure you get a version before JASC sold out to Corel, who apparently set out immediately to emulate Adobe's worst traits while handicapping what made PSP great. I think version 7 is the last before Corel? Anyway, I use PSP5 all the time and love it. I've got PSP 10 (I think it is?) but never use it, the older version is FAR superior...
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Photo editing

Post by Jose Rivera » Tue May 20, 2008 10:33 pm

For resizing, cropping and other simple digital image editing I use Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

I use Photoshop only for real advanced editing. I found this little program extremely easy to use and useful.

And is automatically in your computer if you have installed MS Office 2000 or later.

I have set to open automatically all .JPG of TIFF files (and others graphics files). This little program is hard to beat!
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Post by seal killer » Wed May 21, 2008 7:21 am

Michael and BadDog and Jose and All--

My picture editing requirements are pretty simple . . .

1) Since I am no longer interested in photo manipulation, I don't want to learn ANYTHING. I want it to be so obvious my kids could do it . . . no, wait! They can do ANYTHING. I want it to be easy.

2) I have to already own it, or it has to be cheap, or it has to be free. I have some choices in all three areas.

My wife suggested Picasa. It is free. She said it is dirt easy to use. You can download it off the Internet. She will install it for me.

I think I will try it.

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Post by J Tiers » Mon May 26, 2008 9:02 pm

Frank Ford wrote: "F-8, and BE THERE,"
You probably ARE there, for a shop pic, but the F-8 is right-on..... Gives you depth of field that isn't obtainable other ways.

You can be off a bit on focus, even on a close-up, and still get a good picture.

Most photo manipulation software is too complex. G-imp is one.... Does LOTS of things I don't want to do......... All I generally want or need is:

Re-sizing..... to post-able and e-mailable size

Overall brighten or darken


Once in a while I convince myself that I want to try to do color re-balancing..... and after trying to do it, I remember again why I don't do that.

An old version of micro-soft picture-it does what I need...... Good thing I got it back when computers didn't yet have "restore disks", but actually 'came with" software so you got an independent license.

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Post by steamin10 » Tue May 27, 2008 12:30 am

New fangled imagery is neet. So are progams to enhance and manipulate things to give your dog a black nose, or is it pink?

It is back to basics guys, Fast camera, slow people, lotso light. Monopod is good, ( I had a broom stick) Tripod is clumsy, any camera is better than none. Shop lighting is shoppy at best, use more and lose the flash to indirect. Bounce the flash offin the ceiling for a softer effect.

Used to be, with my Canons, set up, shoot, reshoot bracketing the f- stop. Usually got a good one, if the composition made it. Oh, yeah, if in doubt shoot good comp, and bracket the subject distance, closer and further back. Take the best ones to the , uh, memory. I shot film, got expensive to blow a hand full of shots on one thingy. Just my thoughts, on developing an eye.
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Post by Rich_Carlstedt » Tue May 27, 2008 9:58 pm

That Olympus camera has what you need.
Check the manual and you will find personal settings, that you can call up
and get preset exposures, or whiteness, speed etcetra.
Or If you don't want that, then use the self timer (4 seconds)
I don't know what the warrenty is, but when I called Olympus on the phone a few years ago, they were very helpful.
I had a tough time finding " Super" Macro (1.2") on my C 750 and they were great
For delicate shots, I use my remote control.
Not sure if you have that

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It's Free

Post by Dave_C » Wed May 28, 2008 7:35 am

There is a program on the net that you can download for free. It is called "Irfanview"

It does nothing but resize and adjust pictures. It works great and it is simple.

I learn something new every day! Problem is I forget two.

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Post by millman5 » Wed May 28, 2008 3:23 pm

I have a didital that will not allow me to turn off the flash. When glare is a problem ( in most cases for detailed parts pics.) I use a piece of tissue paper taped over the flash with clear celophane tape. It seems to really soften the flash while still giving good picture results. Below is an example Top pic with tissue over flash, bottom pic with no filter.
5 Volt tap 003.jpg
5 Volt tap 002.jpg
If it works Don't fix it....

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