Wednesday, April 30, 2014

product photography ebook: terminology...I need some more input!

Thank you to everyone who has given me feedback thus far about my product photography ebook either on this blog or elsewhere! It means a lot to me that so many people have provided detailed input. With your continued help, I'll be able to keep pushing forward with this idea.

In my first post about the book, I threw out the suggestion of including a glossary / terminology section near the beginning. To recap, it's very easy for me to forget that a few years ago, I was unfamiliar with most basic photography terms such as white balance and aperture. I want my book to be accessible to new and veteran photographers alike. Many of you agreed that including a glossary would be beneficial.

As this book has a specific photography focus, I don't think that it's necessary to create a comprehensive glossary with every common photography term out there. Instead I want to detail terms that are relevant to product photography and provide product photo examples.

This is what I've come up with so far. (In no particular order. Bear with me.)

  • ISO. What it is, how to adjust it on your camera, ideal settings for product photography. Photo examples: different ISO levels.
  • White balance. Daylight, cloudy, tungsten, etc. What these settings mean, how to select the right one. Photo examples: different white balance settings. I'll also discuss how if you're shooting in RAW with a DSLR, you don't have to select a white balance in camera because you can select one post process (aka editing in Lightroom / Photoshop), which gives you a lot more control.
  • Macro. What it is, how to find the macro setting on point and shoot cameras, why you should use it for product photography.
  • Depth of field. As depth of field is closely related to macro and aperture, I'm not sure if I need to include separate photo examples for all three terms. Thoughts?
  • Rule of thirds. There are a number of common composition rules, such as leading lines, that I don't think need a lot of discussion in a product photography book. However, I think that rule of thirds is important for certain types of product shots. Additionally, getting used to thinking about the rule of thirds will improve your photography in general, which in turn, will improve your product shots. I'll include photo examples of how I use the rule of thirds for my product shots.
  • Bokeh. What it is, how you can use it when shooting with a shallow depth of field / using the macro setting. Photo examples of bokeh in product photography.
  • Noise. What it is, why you want to avoid it, how to avoid it with examples of clear versus noisy shots.
  • Negative space. Negative space doesn't necessarily have the same definition for product photos that it does for many other types of photography such as landscape and portraiture. However, it can be a big issue with product photos, and it's one of the easier problems to fix. Photo examples of unnecessary negative space.
  • Symmetry. Or lack thereof. I'll talk about the importance of centering a product or purposely making it off center (think: rule of thirds) with photo examples.
  • Aperture. Whether or not you're shooting with a DSLR and adjusting aperture settings, it's important to be aware of the concept and learn how to control your depth of field. I will include examples of different aperture settings and explain how they relate to depth of field (i.e. X aperture produces a shallow depth of field). You can see set of aperture examples at Playful Cooking to get an idea of what type of examples I'll provide for aperture.
  • Shutter speed. What it is, how to find the best shutter speed for your product photography if you're shooting with a DSLR with photo examples of different settings.
  • Exposure triangle. There are other names for this concept, but it involves the relationship of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. As I was putting this post together, I found a great diagram about the exposure triangle on Flickr. Learning this relationship is key to having complete control over your photos.
Finally, there are lots of editing terms. As I'm going to have a lot of explanation and advice about editing, I think that I can explain them as I come to them in the book. However, if there are editing terms that you think that I should include in the glossary, let me know.

Please leave your feedback!
What do you think of these terms? What else do I need to include? Is there anything that I need to tweak?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

photo outtakes

Welcome to another round up of photo outtakes! I think that it's really important to discuss the fact that I take a ton of photos to get a few gems. Also, while I keep improving my skills, I still make a lot of mistakes.

 The theme of this photo outtakes post is blurry. I'm starting with a blurry kitty. Everyone who photographs kitties has a few a lot of these shots.

The inevitable auto focus fail of a little duck at the zoo. Thankfully I did get some much better shots of this guy.

It's not great that the leaf on the left is out of focus, but the bigger issue is that the center stem is also out of focus.

The orange is blown out, and the composition is too busy. If I wanted to save this shot, I would crop just the bottom right corner, making that one bunch the focal, and then work on the highlights.

The background is blurred nicely. Unfortunately so is the foreground.

The leaves aren't in focus, and this composition is way too busy anyway. I've gotten some much better close up shots of new plant buds this spring.

Blurry elephant feet.

Another blurry kitty shot.

After taking this picture, I decided that I could make a much better shot if I got right up close to the book.

I thought that this reflection might make for a cool shot. It didn't. I still like the lighting on the tree. And no, it did not snow too recently. I took this picture a month and a half ago (still ridiculously late to be photographing snow).

I told you that blurry was the theme of this outtakes post.

The lighting here is pretty harsh. Just as well, right? This guy is a little creepy.
Don't be afraid to share your outtakes every once in a while. It makes everyone feel better.

Monday, April 28, 2014

photo share: downtown Milwaukee on Easter Day

We were blessed with some beautiful weather in Milwaukee on Easter Day this year, and Jake and I were able to get out and enjoy it a little bit.

What have you been photographing lately?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday is Caturday

Are you ready to start your weekend with a round up of amazing kitty pictures?

Ares getting ready to dip his paw in the water bowl.

Enjoying TV together. Earlier this month the laptop / TV hook up was out of commission for over a week while the laptop was in the shop so we were watching this show on my desktop.

Life is rough.

Ares attacking the remote before I could turn on the TV.

Apollo actually hasn't been sitting with me at the computer as much as usual this month, but that doesn't mean that he wants any less attention.

Still living the dangerous life.

Apollo loves to interrupt my beading time to get some attention.
I shot this video earlier in the month, but I forgot to include it in the last edition of Caturday.
Ares and His Love of Tail Washing
What have your cats been up to lately?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

W is for Water Features in Vegas

Are you ready for another round of Alphabe Thursday? Let's go!

If you've been following my Vegas posts and/or you've been to Vegas, you know that there is an abundance of fountains, pools, and other water features on the strip. I'm featuring just a few of them here today. Enjoy.

Caesar's Palace

I don't remember where I found this little fountain.

Caesar's Palace pool area

The Mirage

Gondola rides at the Venetian

the Bellagio fountains

Bellagio pool area

one of the smaller fountains in front of the Bellagio

The Mirage

the volcano erupting at The Mirage

Past posts from my February 2014 Vegas trip:

Check out what the other Alphabe Thursday participants posted for the letter W this week right here!