How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Littlepig2 » Dec 13th, '09, 01:01

hurray this topic is moving again. I don't have much to offer but I am lurking. :D
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby edkrueger » Dec 13th, '09, 01:05

Victoria wrote:I finally ordered my new camera today. Thanks Geek for your time, advice and answers.

And Seeker, I like #2 best so even though Geek is a much better judge, that's the one that appeals to me. :)


What did you get?
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Victoria » Dec 13th, '09, 01:25

I got a Canon T1i and a couple of great lenses.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Geekgirl » Dec 13th, '09, 03:40

edkrueger wrote:One more thing with using a point and shoot. Point and shoots meter the scene when you depress the shutter to the halfway point. Since cameras meter the scene as if it were middle gray –the "average" color– just pointing a shooting with a dark or light scene will produce an incorrectly exposed shot. In order to fix this, you can aim at something middle gray depress the shutter half way, then, while continuing to hold the shutter halfway down, frame your and shot and then depress the shutter the rest of the way.


Yes, and no. Most p&S meter AND focus the scene on 1/2 trigger. You usually have to do a key sequence to do 1/2 trigger selective metering without focus. It creates a bit of a problem because if you want metering without focusing, and try this trick, you will end up with an out of focus picture every time, unless you know the key sequence to preserve the metering but recompose and refocus. TBH, I'd have to consult the manual for my p&s to determine how to do this. I know how on the "big" camera, but I've never done it on the little one.

I usually leave my p&s metering on "evaluative" or "center-weighted average," since it picks a much larger area to decide on how bright the photo must be.

It's a great thing to keep in mind though, and a point I forgot. If you are consistently having a problem with a particular shot being too dark or too bright, this would definitely be the issue. Thanks!
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Geekgirl » Dec 13th, '09, 03:45

Victoria wrote:I finally ordered my new camera today. Thanks Geek for your time, advice and answers.


Yay! You're very welcome!
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Seeker » Dec 13th, '09, 04:37

WOW.
Deep thanks GG!
Wonderful, wonderful feedback, info, teaching.
Your generosity touches me.
Now if I can balance my critical mind with my creative mind,
well that'll be wonderfull! (usually one shuts the other up).

In addition to checking white balance (which I learned here I think), I also got a tripod, which I try to use most times. If I'm too rushed to set it up, I'll go handheld.

GG, those shots comparing the p&s and dslr with comments about blur were just amazing. All of this will be rolling around in my brain. Hopefully I can pull off some decent shots in the days to come.

Again - a deep bow with many thanks.

(having matcha anytime soon? :mrgreen: )

ps - Cory - your shots of your lighting setup are also very much rolling around in my brain (don't know what they're gonna do in there as I don't have any of that equip, but still, very cool). Many thanks!! Mahalo!
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby edkrueger » Dec 14th, '09, 00:14

Geekgirl wrote:
edkrueger wrote:One more thing with using a point and shoot. Point and shoots meter the scene when you depress the shutter to the halfway point. Since cameras meter the scene as if it were middle gray –the "average" color– just pointing a shooting with a dark or light scene will produce an incorrectly exposed shot. In order to fix this, you can aim at something middle gray depress the shutter half way, then, while continuing to hold the shutter halfway down, frame your and shot and then depress the shutter the rest of the way.


Yes, and no. Most p&S meter AND focus the scene on 1/2 trigger. You usually have to do a key sequence to do 1/2 trigger selective metering without focus. It creates a bit of a problem because if you want metering without focusing, and try this trick, you will end up with an out of focus picture every time, unless you know the key sequence to preserve the metering but recompose and refocus. TBH, I'd have to consult the manual for my p&s to determine how to do this. I know how on the "big" camera, but I've never done it on the little one.

I usually leave my p&s metering on "evaluative" or "center-weighted average," since it picks a much larger area to decide on how bright the photo must be.

It's a great thing to keep in mind though, and a point I forgot. If you are consistently having a problem with a particular shot being too dark or too bright, this would definitely be the issue. Thanks!


Oh, yeah I forgot about the focus problem. I haven't used a point and shoot, well, ever.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Geekgirl » Dec 14th, '09, 18:00

Okay crowd, now it's time to step it up to the DSLR level. Some of this will still be relevant to the p&s crowd, since many of your cameras have a "manual" function where you can control things like aperture and shutter speed.*

First up-
Aperture: What is it, and why do we care?

These are aperture disks for my lensbaby lens. You can see the sizes labeled. The smaller the number, the larger the aperture (which just means "hole.") This post will be very basic, because many of these things require algebra in order to give you hard numbers regarding focal lengths.

Image

Aperture controls two things for your image: #1 - how much light it takes to record the image. If you have a very small aperture (like f22) it lets only a tiny amount of light in to be recorded. Imagine placing that f22 disc over a light source, and trying to find your way around a room. Lesser amounts of light means the shutter (the flap over the hole that starts and stops your image recording) has stay open longer to record enough light.

If you have a big aperture, you are letting more light into the camera, and it can record your image faster.

Image

#2 - the second thing aperture controls is the distance in your image that things will be in focus. In the diagram above left, you have a very wide triangle that lets in lots of light, but that very wide angle flattens out the area that you can have in focus. In the diagram on the left, you have less light coming in at a time, but the focal triangle is elongated. So even thought it takes more time to record the image, you also get more distance where the detail is preserved.

This perfectly in-focus area is called your depth of focus/field, or DOF.

These are important distinctions when you are deciding what kind of image you want to make. Smaller aperture (bigger f-number) will show off more detail, where the larger aperture (smaller f-number) will give you a softer, artistic feel.

The Poppets are going to help with a demonstration.
Image
f1.4, 1/80th of a second shutter speed
You can see in this image, that the front poppet is mostly in focus (I focused on her little eyeglasses.) Things in front of and behind her are blurry because my aperture is very wide, so my DOF is only a couple of millimeters deep. It took 1/80th of a second for enough light to enter the camera and capture the properly exposed image.


Image
f4.0, 1/15th second shutter
In this image, the aperture is smaller, and the shutter needed 1/15th of a second to get enough light. You can also begin to see how the DOF is affected by the focal triangle starting to become elongated. Now we have two poppets in focus.

Image
f8.0, 1/4th second shutter
f8 is a very commonly used aperture to preserve detail yet make the focal object stand out a bit from the background. It makes a very useful DOF. In my lighting for these images, I would no longer have had any chance of hand holding the camera, as my time to record the image is a full 1/4 of a second. Back to the tripod!

Image
f16, 1 second shutter, 4 poppets are in focus.


Image
f22, 2 second shutter
f22 is as small an aperture as my camera allows. You can see that all of the poppets are pretty much in focus. You should also note that it took 2 whole seconds for the camera to get enough light to properly expose the image.

Some of the really fancypants digitals now go as tiny as f32. And pinhole cameras, like the shoebox version some of you made in High School, usually has an aperture that is around f72 or smaller. You can see here that there is a large area behind my focusing point that is still clear. This is great to know for shooting landscapes where you want things in the foreground to be in focus, as well as things in the background.

Let's see now what all of this does for our teaware.

Image
f22, you can see here that all the detail of this bowl has been captured in this image. The front lip, foot and back lip are all in focus. It's not "artsy," but it is detailed and accurate. This type of image works if you want to show the entire piece, such as if you were posting an item for sale. The downside (for me) is that you can now see specific items in the background that are irrelevant: my curio hutch, my xmas tree base, outside my windows...

Image
f8.0, at f8.0, you can still see a fair amount of detail in the teabowl, the back lip is a little fuzzy, but still okay. Bonus, you now can't see inside my curio hutch, and the object stands out from the background just a little.

Image
f1.4, oooh, ahhhh, ummmm... While a super wide aperture can make some great "special effects," you can see that this might be taking it a little too far. I've lost detail in nearly all of the teabowl, since the DOF is only a few mm, the foot is very blurry, and only a small half-dollar size spot on the front is truly in focus. Let's back it off just a touch.

Image
f2.8, this is an aperture (f#) that I use a lot for tea photography, since it gives me that artsy shallow DOF that I like so much, but still lets me keep enough of the front and center detail so that people don't say "was it really meant to look like that?" (well, they might say it anyways, but that's okay. :lol: )

Thus endeth the aperture lesson. If you have any questions, please throw them at me, and I'll try to lob them back. :)

*Photos in this post have been color corrected. For color correction, before starting, I took one image with a white neutral color card in the frame.

Image

Then I used the tool in the photo processing software to tell it to adjust the color. It's a little bit more sophisticated way of using white balance, which we discussed on page 1 of this thread.

This is the uncorrected version:
Image
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Seeker » Dec 15th, '09, 03:58

Okay, so based on this latest lesson, I got out my S2IS, and played with actually using manual! Adjusted f stop and shutter speed! Woh.
Took this pic of my ice split. Gosh, it's late, and I didn't write down the numbers, but something like f5 and 1/8? Here's the shot.
Image

I don't know about you, but I think this shot captures more of the personality of the ice split (IMHO). Woh.

BTW, based on a previous lession, I also backed up the tripod and zoomed (but not AALLLLL the way back as recommended - too much work in this room for this time of night).
Fun to play! (I'm supposed to be finishing notes and studying :oops: )
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Victoria » Dec 15th, '09, 10:28

Good job!! Yes it does seem to capture it better. Ice splits have been challenging.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby edkrueger » Dec 15th, '09, 15:01

Seeker wrote:Okay, so based on this latest lesson, I got out my S2IS, and played with actually using manual! Adjusted f stop and shutter speed! Woh.
Took this pic of my ice split. Gosh, it's late, and I didn't write down the numbers, but something like f5 and 1/8? Here's the shot.
Image

I don't know about you, but I think this shot captures more of the personality of the ice split (IMHO). Woh.

BTW, based on a previous lession, I also backed up the tripod and zoomed (but not AALLLLL the way back as recommended - too much work in this room for this time of night).
Fun to play! (I'm supposed to be finishing notes and studying :oops: )


I didn't know that camera had a manual function. The main problem with your image from a technical stand point is the exposure. It appears to be overexposed. You can take the shot again with a smaller aperture (higher number) or faster shutter speed. I would use the faster shutter speed to avoid making the batteries in the back any sharper.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby edkrueger » Dec 15th, '09, 15:17

Victoria wrote:I got a Canon T1i and a couple of great lenses.

I love that camera. That is the same digital I use.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Seeker » Dec 15th, '09, 15:17

Thanks EK!
:D
ps - this camera business is time consuming!
Geeez.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Seeker » Dec 15th, '09, 15:21

edkrueger wrote:I didn't know that camera had a manual function.


I'm pretty sure it's not fully manual, but the camera does allow one to go off 'auto' and make some adjustments to f stop, shuuter speed, etc. All of this is mysterious to me. There's also ISO ( :shock: WTF is that? - I know... I can look it up :? and I have, I just can't get it to stick in my brain; I think it's even been discussed on this thread). Sigh.
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Re: How to: photograph your teaware. A beginner's guide.

Postby Geekgirl » Dec 15th, '09, 15:33

ISO in film is a standardized measure of the negative's sensitivity to light. The film is more or less reactive (through adjustment of the chemicals used to make the film,) thus giving you your ISO rating. It allows photographers to know how to adjust their settings on camera to compensate for different types and "speeds" of film.

In digital, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the CCD. You can adjust the CCD sensitivity to light by boosting the signal gain. Basically, you up the ISO which tells the processor to send more juice to the CCD - the sensor.
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