Saxophones (beginner C&C please)

Joeywhat

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Here's a couple shots I took of my saxes the other day. It was night time, and the lighting in the room was not great. I don't own any flashes (short of what comes with the camera). I'm looking for input on improving shots like this, without buying any additional gear. Yes, I know that some flashes strategically placed would help a ton...but that's for another day. Taken with a Canon S3 IS.

I took a number of shots of this setup with various settings to try and get a feel for what works best. Anything over ISO 100 had way too much noise. I didn't notice a ton of difference switching between min and max apertures in terms of how everything turned out. I also had a hard time getting focused on the saxes, even with manual focus...for whatever reason it just seemed like I could only just the very front of the bari sax in focus, or the fireplace behind them - never the entirety of the saxes. The long exposure time for the first shot probably didn't help, though.

1. (ISO 80, 13s exp, f/8)
TuxfjzD.jpg


2. (ISO 100, 1/2s exp, f/2.9)
1iLAZyN.jpg
 

astroNikon

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A Selmer Paris alto, Martin tenor and what kind of low A Bari ?
First thing I noticed before reading your input was the engraving on the Martin was not very clear (I can't see if there is any engraving on the other horns). I would try to focus on that and check your focus options you may have a single point of focus instead of, say 9, 11 or 39 focus points or Auto(I shoot Nikon so I have no idea on a Canon).

What kind of lens are you using ?
I would normally try from f8 to f11 to keep more areas in focus. Then adjust shutter or just use Av mode.
Do you have Color Control such as Vivid, Standard, etc? Have you tried those setting too to see how the colors come out.
is WhiteBalance on Auto? have you tried Auto ISO just to see what the camera selects ?

I haven't taken pics of my horns with my DSLR (yet) but it's a good idea to learn because of the so many reflective aspects of the lacquer and shapes.
oddly, your fireplace looks like the same fireplace in my old house LOL

I'm sure the experts will chime in soon - you captured my attention with "saxophones"
 
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Joeywhat

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Yes, a Selmer Super Action 80 Series II alto, The Martin tenor, and a Vito VSP (made by Yanagisawa) low A bari. The alto is also engraved, although not much can be seen from that angle.

The lens is what the camera is stuck with, 12x 6.0-72mm. Aperture range is f/2.9 - f/8. I'll try some of the auto settings and see what happens. I kept the white balance on auto, and I don't believe it has any color control. The stock software doesn't, and I just got some "aftermarket" firmware for it that allows for a lot more control...I'll have to see if such options are now available.

ETA - I'm in SE MI as well...Brighton area.
 

astroNikon

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Ahh .. I thought it was a T3. But the S3 has alot of Shooting modes which you may want to try too

Shooting Modes Auto; Creative: P, Av, Tv, M, C; Image: Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Sports, Special Scene (Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Indoor, Night Snapshot, Color Accent, Color Swap), My Colors, Stitch Assist, Movie

Photo Effects Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color

FYI .. I'm in the Troy area. I play Selmer Paris and Couf (Keilwerth ) SAT. I love the art deco Couf engraving and the Selmer's Flower engraving. I had a BA at one with with the Sail Boat engraving - totally awesome. I don't play much anymore, I used to be a in a few Jazz bands.

With your Martin you may want to take pictures of that by itself. Capturing the engraving. On it's side and take a picture from the lower end 45 degrees off. Getting the bell engraving nice and crisp and then maybe the upper stack out of focus. That would be neat.
 

ceeboy14

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The background is too busy. Title talks of Sax'es and I see just as much fireplace, wall and plates and vases as I do the instruments.
 

astroNikon

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I also would want to change the perspective a bit.

instead of the "here are my saxes" like you get on SOTW all the time, you want to show them off a bit more, more artsy.

I've done a little of this in the past and I've always found it more interesting to not have them on the sax stands.
But use the stands to prop them up, or leaned back on them to show off the bell more front and center.

For example. use the stand behind the sax and prop it up a bit so the photo includes the main keys/pearls. This would include a full shot of the bell engraving and main emblem (if you can get it .. my mk VII alto has no engraving).

Another example is, as mentioned, have it laying on it's side and take a photo from the back going up so you can show off the bell engraving and maker stamp and the keywork being defocused as you go up.

I'll try to take some pics tonight as an example.
 

Modifeye

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Agreed with previous comment, the background needs to be changed. If I were you, I would drape a black sheet behind them so that it's just 'you and the saxophones'. That sounded kinda silly but I think you get what I mean haha. Putting a black backdrop in there would make the gold really POP, combine that with some cool different angles/closeups and you could get some real winners.

As far as lighting goes, I would try getting a lamp (preferably warm) and light them in a very dark room with the black sheet and you can get some reallllyyyy dramatically lit pieces. With the detail on those things it would look super cool to have some areas be bright and jumping out at you while other parts faded into the shadows. But thats what I would do, good luck!
 
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Joeywhat

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I'll give the black background a try.

I wasn't sure if the decorations by the fireplace would help or hurt the picture...guess it ended up being too distracting.
 

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