Shooting square objects

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bonzojr, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. bonzojr

    bonzojr TPF Noob!

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    I am trying to shoot cabinet doors for a cabinet maker's website. I am trying to figure out how to make the doors look square in the digital photo rather than rounded looking. Does it have to do with proper camera angle?
    If so are there any tips on how to get the proper camera angle? See photo...
    Thanks.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    What camera do you have?

    The lens you use has a lot to so with it. Some lenses have more "barrel distortion" than others. Usually, the wider the lens and the closer you are to the subject...the more distorted it will look. There is also perspective distortion and some other issues I'm sure.

    There are lenses (for cameras with interchangeable lenses) called Tilt-Shift lenses. They allow you to tilt the optics of the lens to correct the distortion. I believe that they are most often used for architectural photography.

    Actually, this should be fairly easy to correct in Photoshop, which allows you to skew the image by pulling the corners until the image looks square. Then simply crop the image back to a square shape.
     
  3. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    "Big Mike" is correct. Basically you should use a longer lens.

    If you imagine yourself standing say five foot from a door [dead centre] then the corners of the door are obviously further away [maybe six foot away] than the centre of the door, so accordingly they will curve in. literally the further away the better.

    If the problem then is squareness, then Photoshop can easily correct that. There is also a program I came across the other day that can also correct "barrel distortion". If I can locate it, I will post it. Philip

    www.philipweirphotography.com
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I forgot to mention that they could always use an old view camera with tilt & shift...but I don't think that's the answer they are looking for...:lol:
     
  5. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    You get barrel distortion on the wide angle of the lens and pincusion distortion on the long end of the lens.

    So, if you zoom in "midway" there will be a point where you have no distortion at all. Probably at or very close to the normal focal range.

    You want to zoom in, so that the diagonal of the area you're photographing is equal to the distance from the subject to the camera.
     
  6. bonzojr

    bonzojr TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys! I will most likely photochop it.

    Take care.
     
  7. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    As Big Mike says, you could use an old view camera, or even a new view camera. You're right, that wouldn't fix the problem. The lens and distance from subject is the problem... Philip.:lol:
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Photoshop fixes barrel distortion? I haven't seen that without a plugin. I know you can fix converging verticals, but this is another issue. Maybe I missed that option. I'd retake it with a longer lens, personally.
     
  9. Mohain

    Mohain TPF Noob!

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    CS2 has a 'lens correction' filter that fixes barrel and pin cushion distortion (amongst other things).
     
  10. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    Like DocFrankenstein mentioned, the best way to not get that distortion is to back up and zoom in. The closer you are to the subject, and the wider an angle you use, the more distortion you'll get. At longer focal lengths, things will look more square.
     
  11. Soocom1

    Soocom1 TPF Noob!

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    Longer lens defiantly. Also a larger front element is called for as well. (77mm vs. 52mm). But if you don’t have one of those, oh well. If you have a lens hood, use it if you are not already.

    Try to keep the camera/focal area as perpendicular as possible to the door itself. If the door is tilted, angle the camera to match that tilt. Also, unless you are doing an emotional image (one of the door at an extreme angle or such) try to center the image at the two thirds point on the door, or at eye level. This gives off a more natural image that people can relate too.

    Try to ‘neutralize’ the light reflecting off of the door itself, (a soft box comes in handy here). Also use multiple lighting sources. If you have not that, then kick in the old tungsten lighting and use a filter or adjust the white balance.

    When using a longer lens, you have a tendency to loose a bit of depth of field.
    Try to angle a light to have a slight bright spot in the middle or at the top BEHIND the door. This will have the effect of giving you more depth with the longer lens. Set the door up (if you can) with more distance between it and the background. You want to try and wash out the back of the door a bit to visually distract the viewer’s eye from the straight line the door makes. The partial line at top and bottom will be compensated by their brains and this will cause them to think the edge is straight. You’ll have to experiment with this, but the results can look a great deal more professional.
     
  12. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Sorry,
    I didn't mean the program to control barrel distortion is in Photoshop. Go to

    www.epaperpress.com/ptlens

    Don't worry about depth of field, as long as you are square to the cabinet door, the door being flat has very little depth to worry about, so go for it.
     

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