Macro Pics and Lighting Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by develonet, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. develonet

    develonet TPF Noob!

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    I am a total noob here and to photography and am looking for some expert advice. I have a few questions on how to take good close up shots of products for my clients. I just bought an Olympus Evolt 330 with a stock lens kit but do not have any special lens or filters. I do have a tripod though. I also built my own photo tent or light box out of white nylon and the pieces I put in this box look really great and well lighted. However, my pics are coming out kind of dark and yellowish. I have been trying different ISO settings,flash/no flash, and scene settings besides macro but still am having the same issue. The flash does make things better but is too harsh.

    Anyway, I am looking for some pointers on what to set my camera at and what I need to do to get better quality close up shots without spending a ton of money on a high end lens. I guess the lighting issue is my biggest hang up right now. I just don't understand how something so well lit and bright ends up looking yellowish and dark. PLEASE HELP!
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well one suggestion I might have is that if your images are looking yellowish this might be a white balance issue. Try adjusting your white balance to "Incandescent" I'm not sure what the setting is on Olympus but that's what it would be on Nikon. A big help for everyone would be to show us a sample of what you are not pleased with.
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pictures are coming out dark because the white background is fooling the light metre in the camera. You need to use exposure value compensation or shoot in manual to override the exposure the built in metre tries to give you.
     
  4. djh photo

    djh photo TPF Noob!

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    just put the white balance on auto and shoot in RAW. you can fix it later. and, although it's not the best way to do, if your exposure still isnt correct you can fix that later too
     
  5. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    So you are shooting macro inside a box? That is no fun!!!! I agree with djh photo, just shoot auto in RAW then fix it on the computer. Besides I never like the way the white balance is settled on my camera whether I set it myself or not.
     
  6. three_eyed_otter

    three_eyed_otter TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps a willing party could elaborate on the purpose of white balance. My D40x manual only tells how to use the settings w/out giving a resolute purpose.

    have a good one
    3Eo
     
  7. PPAAUULL

    PPAAUULL TPF Noob!

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    It changes the way colours come out. What it does is says what colour each pixel is if "that" pixel is true white in the light, and that changes according to the light source.
     
  8. WingedPower

    WingedPower TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    Hmm... question: how are you illuminating your light tent? From both sides with light bulbs?

    Regarding the yellow:

    This is because the camera's default white balance is "auto". Auto in ALL digital cameras is notorious for being unable to handle incandescent(normal household lightbulbs) light sources. The result is that the image will almost always turn out a bit yellow-yellow/orange.

    As others have pointed out, you can either change the white balance in your camera, which the E-330 is capable of, or shoot in RAW, which I _think_ it is capable of. The downside of shooting in RAW is the extra write/copy time, but the upside is ultimately a better resulting photo. If you are shooting for clients, why not go the extra mile and produce a better product?

    Still, you are better off shooting the scene as close to the correct lighting as possible from the start.

    Regarding Harsh light from your flash:

    I'm assuming you mean your camera's flip-up flash. Yes, the scene might even end up looking a bit cool/blue, especially if you have auto white balance on and are illuminating the scene with incandescants.

    The solution to this is to diffuse the flash from your camera, or just disable the flash and use a third light.

    Ie, light tend in the middle of a clock, presumably, so is the object you are trying to photograph. You have three lights. One on either side of the tent at 3 and 9 o'clock and one in front of the tent, but above the opening, at 6 o'clock, pointing through the material and illuminating your item from the "front". This way, you get the advantage of having three light sources that are illuminating your item with the same kind of light. You can balance your camera against that light and just shoot without worrying about flash and the resulting harshness.


    Other light sources you might consider trying:

    ringflash/ringlight. This is a circular light source that you mount onto your lens. What it does is produce an even circular light on the object, just about nearly obliterating any shadows. Great for product shots like you are describing and for some forms of portrait photography. Expensive, however.


    Generally speaking, it sounds like your issues are centered around white balance and proper illumination of the subject. If you MUST use your overhead flash, get one of those tape-on diffusers that hang a large trapazoid shaped sheet of diffuser a few inches in front of your on-camera flash. This will soften the light somewhat.
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    While this works well for colour temperture (white balance) issues it is a bad idea as a solution to not exposing correctly. Even though RAW files contain extra information there is a limit to how much this extra data can be pushed afterwards. If an image is too light and you have blown highlights the detail is gone regardless, but if the image is too dark and you increase the brightness in post processing you are also amplifying noise which would otherwise not be an issue.
     
  10. develonet

    develonet TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a ton guys. :hail:I adjusted the WB and my pics finally are the right color and pretty close to the clarity I want. I guess my next issue is getting more details on the items I shoot. I stumbled accross one great pic out of 15 but I am bad at keeping notes so I am not sure what settings I had it, but the position of the item seemed to play a factor. Yes, I will try and get example pics up to better explain my problems in the future. Thanks again to all for your input.
     

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