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  1. #11
    Member hydrocarbon's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimer View Post
    My experience is the more professional gear you use, the harder it is to get a good pic.
    Exactly. The more time you spend messing around with settings (especially ones you don't know how to use), the weaker your photos are. Unless you have a really specific need for something, keep it as simple as possible and concentrate on the image, not the toys.

  2. #12
    Haf
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    If things are so simple as some of you guys state here, why do pro photogs that shoot events, sports, wedding or photo journalism bother with big, black cameras when an iPhone would suffice?

  3. #13
    Editor Dimer's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Because if you have skills, beter equipment will help you to get better pictures. But the question was, better camera = better pictures when in the hands of an amateur. The answer to that question is definately no.

    I also shoot with a (semi) professional camera and professional lenses. I know what I want and need from my camera. I am 100% sure that if an untrained amateur photographer makes a picture with a Canon IXUS (whatever model) in automatic mode, it will look much better than when I give him my Canon 5D with L lens in M mode and have him take pic.

    Since the DSLR's are rapidly dropping in price a lot of people are buying these camera's. In most cases a simple point and shoot will suffice.

    Here is a tutorial I wrote some time ago (I made the pictures when I was on holiday. No fancy lights, just a watch on the floor on the terrace):

    HOW TO: make a good watch picture with a point and shoot

    There are three important factors:

    1. Technique
    2. Post processing
    3. Equipment

    If you can master 1. and 2. you are 80% there and your pics will look badass! But, these two are the hardest and take time to learn.

    If you know how to take a pic, you can take a good picture with any camera. Buying the best Socanikson D3472 Mark XVII doesn't mean you will get the best picture. You really need to know the basics first.

    In this tutorial I will show you how I work. This is totally my opinion and style and is not the only or the best way to take a good picture.

    So for a nice watch pic.. what do you need?

    1. Camera

    You can use any camera that is available to you. You have to ask yourself: "What do I want to do with this photo?"
    Don't be fooled by megapixels. More on megapixels can be found here

    For this tutorial I used a Sony DSC-W30 6 Megapixels

    2. Light

    You need light!!! Most point and shoot camera's have small sensors and cannot absorb as much light as most DSLR's can. This results in grainy looking pictures if there is not enough light.
    For this tutorial I only used natural sunlight. But be carefull! Too much light can do more damage than good to your picture.

    3. Reflection board

    What is the most important part of the watch?? That's right! It is the dial. If you look at a watch, you always look at the dial first. This is the biggest part of the watch plus it tells the time. The most important thing in photographing your watch is to make sure your dial is sharp.
    This is also the hardest part, because on top of the dial is the crystal. And even with the best chief double AR, it can be pita to make that crystal dissapear.
    But!!! There is a very easy solution. Make a reflection board. For a white dial use a white board and for a black dial use a black board. In most cases, a black t-shirt, piece of paper, or anything that is big enough to make the reflection dissapear will do. For this tutorial I used a black t-shirt.

    This is how it works:




    4. Post processing software

    The icing on the cake is a good pp software and ofcourse knowing how to use it.
    This kind of software is expensive, but here at RepGeek we are experts on how to get expensive stuff for less ;)
    I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in combination with Mulletgod's actions. Make sure to have installed Mulletgod's actions!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The three main areas when making a picture that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Please not that you cannot adjust them on all camera's!

    On the Sony I used (these are automated values):

    ISO100
    F 5.2
    1/125 s

    Straight out of the camera, I only adjusted the size:



    For reference, here is a picture I took without the reflection board (shirt in this case ;))



    Let's edit the pic!

    First, I start Lightroom and import my pictures. When this is done I click on the picture I want to edit and adjust the white balance. Auto WB works on most of the pictures. If not, just play around with the settings.



    If I'm happy with the WB, I'm off to the DEVELOPment room. Here you can adjust almost everything.

    Now I'm going to adjust the contrast and make the picture a bit sharper by adjusting the clarity.



    There is still a lot of blue in the picture that should be black. To fix this, you can adjust the blue saturation and luminance.



    You can play around with all the settings. When the pictures looks ok, I'm going to crop and export it and open it with Photoshop. Do not resize the picture!

    To keep the proportions when cropping, hold SHIFT.






    Open your picture in Photoshop. To make the watch pop out, I use a Mulletgod action: Contrast without colour loss. You can also try the other actions, but I usually leave it like this.

    Next step is to resize the photo. For the web, I always resize to 800 pixels wide. Now the picture is smaller you can adjust the sharpeness. I also use a Mulletgod action, called: Sharpen your pencils.

    If the picture is too sharp, you can adjust the opacity of the sharpened layer or you can remove parts of the layer:



    Now your picture is finished. To top it off, I usually make a small border.



    Let's look at the original picture again:



    Do you see the difference :)

    I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    Last tip: don't forget to set your watch at 10:10 when making a picture. It makes the watch lookst 10 times better.

    For reference, a picture of my watch taken with my Canon 5D + 24-105L

    Last edited by Dimer; April 22nd, 2010 at 16:24.
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  5. #14
    Member hydrocarbon's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Haf View Post
    If things are so simple as some of you guys state here, why do pro photogs that shoot events, sports, wedding or photo journalism bother with big, black cameras when an iPhone would suffice?
    Because they generally know how to use them and they either make a living from their equipment, or someone else is paying for it. Also, they usually have enough experience that operating the camera is second nature.

    Obviously there are situations where having more expensive gear helps, but the main point here is that costly equipment is useless or even counter-productive without the skill to benefit from it.

    What typically happens is that a guy (always a male, girls aren't as prone to this) buys a camera, goes and takes some crappy pictures, and then thinks that he needs more expensive gear to get good photos. People who hang out on camera forums encourage him to buy the latest and greatest, and then, hundreds or thousands of dollars poorer, he goes out and takes more crappy pictures. The cycle repeats.

    This guy would be much better served by learning the basics first.

    Of course better equipment CAN result in better results, but equipment is one of the least important factors in final image quality. As Dimer stated, often having too much gear gets in the way of getting a decent photo. If you're hauling around a ton of gear, constantly changing lenses and dicking around with your settings, you're not going to place yourself in a position to get compelling images very frequently.

    If you just like to collect cool toys, that's fine. Cameras are among the coolest toys around. But if you're interested in getting great photos, please be aware that the equipment is not usually the limiting factor.

    Oh, and here's an example of what can be done with an iPhone camera. Ask yourself if it's really the gear that's holding you back after seeing these:
    http://www.chasejarvis.com/index.php...3&p=5&a=0&at=0

    One final thing: I've seen some pro photographers who still suck even with all the top-end gear. Some people simply lack the creativity and visual sense to make anything but lame photos.

  6. #15
    Member G.A.R.Y's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Passion is the key to most things, and no camera has more passion than another camera.

    Great cameras used by a no passion person will give pale results.

    Passion, skill, expertise will always overcome equipment.
    Gary
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  7. #16
    Member hydrocarbon's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimer View Post
    Because if you have skills, beter equipment will help you to get better pictures. But the question was, better camera = better pictures when in the hands of an amateur. The answer to that question is definately no.
    [...]
    Very informative post, thanks!

  8. #17
    Editor Dimer's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    @ GARY: you don't have to shout
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  9. #18
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Excellent write-up.

  10. #19
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers,
    Barry

  11. #20
    Member perdu's Avatar
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    Re: Better camera better photography?

    The camera makes no difference. The lens, technique and decent editing software makes a huge difference.
    Gary

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