Help with catalog quality photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bmswv, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. bmswv

    bmswv TPF Noob!

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    I'm a total noob and honestly know nothing about photography (please keep this in mind when trying to answer my question), but I came here to hopefully get the advice I need. I have a little business where I sell imported hand-made jewelry and I'm trying make my pictures look more professional. I recently purchased a small light tent thinking it would solve my problem, but it hasn't really helped. I'm having a problem getting both the front and back of the bracelets in focus. I have them laying flat, and taking the picture straight on. I'll take about 50 pictures, making slight adjustments each time and I'll only get like 1 or 2 good ones, but still not quite the quality I'm looking for. Either the front is in focus and the back isn't, or vice versa. I'm under the impression is has somthing to do with the open space in the middle because when I take pictures of solid objects they look amazing.

    My camera is just a $400 Sony (DSC-P200), and I know this isn't quite the same quality of camera most of you guys are using, but I still think it should do the job. I just need a few tips on my technique and I also need to know the correct settings to set my camera to. I've checked the manual and it really doesn't address this type of problem. I do have the close-up setting on (SAF), but other than that I'm not sure what other settings will help. I'm hoping someone with a knowledge of sony cameras can give me a few tips. All other tips are welcome too!

    The first picture is what I'm trying to achieve, and the 2nd picture is where I'm currently at. Please disregard the sloppy Photoshop whiteout job, I just did it real quick to use this for an example.


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  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Hey... welcome aboard.

    I think what you are struggling with is called "depth of field".

    Check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

    It's more info than you want I'm sure :lol: But the idea is simple - if you shoot with a large aperature, say F22 ( small shutter opening) more of your photo will be in focus... whereas if you shoot with a smaller aperature, say f4 (larger shutter opening) LESS of the photo will be in focus. I know you are new to photography, so you can just ignore all of that for now.

    NOW... what about your camera? (which is a nice camera, don't let anyone tell you otherwise) Does it have the ability to shoot in "aperature priority" mode? Can you choose the aperature size? I'm not familier with your camera, so thats up to you to find out.

    If not almost all of the point and shoots have a little landscape icon that will shoot with a smaller aperature, thus giving you greater depth of field and the results you are looking for.

    If you need any other info just search here or google "depth of field" and you'll get it worked out. Any other questions just post them!

    ~Dewey
     
  3. bmswv

    bmswv TPF Noob!

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    I really appreciate the help. I'm going to look through my manual a little more and find out how to change the aperature. I will definitely be back soon with the results, and probably more questions. Thanks!
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Erm... Dewey ... LARGE aperture does mean LARGE opening, and that LARGE opening has a (and here comes the part where you might go wrong in your mind) SMALL number.

    While SMALL aperture does mean SMALL opening, and that SMALL opening has a HIGH number.

    But the rest is right, of course: a small opening/aperture means you get a deeper field of focus, i.e. more things ARE in focus, whereas a large opening/aperture gives you a shallow field of focus, i.e. focus is only in a narrow line while the rest gets more and more blurred.

    Now oftentimes the "Macro" modes of the compact cameras mean that automatically the aperture is opened up WIDE (the NUMBER of it getting SMALLER) for you to get close to your subject and blur out all that is in your subjects background. When your subject is an insect on a flower, you may be very happy about this effect since the insect is small and can possibly be covered by the small depth of focus. When it is a bracelet, however, this small depth of focus can be too small (is too small, if I understand things right here?).

    Therefore I believe you will have to get yourself used to some of the manual settings of your camera so you are able to change the aperture towards a smaller one (i.e. going to a higher number) while you still are in the close-up/macro mode that allows you to get up close to your subject.

    Oh, and welcome to ThePhotoForum, bmswv! :D
     
  5. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Hey, after spending 12 hours traveling from Florida to Ottawa with weather delays I'm lucky I made any sense at all. ;) Sorry for the mix up... but it all made sense in my head.
     
  6. bmswv

    bmswv TPF Noob!

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    Well, I guess I should've came here months ago because you two have ended all my frustrations. I adjusted the aperature and it made a world of difference. Actually, last night I still wasn't getting the results I wanted, but I decided it was just due to poor lighting. So first thing this morning I opened the blinds to let some natural light in and it fixed everything. This picture here was taken in the light tent, underneath the window, without flash. It's probably still not a finished product, but you can see a world of difference between this one and the first one I posted above. Thanks again for everything! I know where to come now if another problem comes up.


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