[thechat] Digicam advice

deacon web at master.gen.in.us
Fri Jul 23 00:40:22 CDT 2004

On 23 Jul 2004 at 3:58, Madhu Menon wrote:

> I've been trying all day to shoot some close-up pics of food and cocktails. 
> All the pics come out either blurry (possibly because I don't have a 
> tripod), with muddy colours, or not sharp enough even with 1600*1200 
> resolution. Whaddya reckon, Ron? (Can mail you samples off-list if anyone 
> thinks they can put a finger on it.)
> Is it just a resolution thing? Will moving to a bigger, badder 4 MP camera 
> fix it? Will it get rid of the wildly overcompensating flash that bathes my 
> subjects in about twice the light that is need?

Don't blame the camera. Product photography is fairly difficult, and 
food photography is some of the most difficult food photography. 

Muddy colors are usually caused by bad lighting. Stick a diffuser over 
the flash on your camera, and add some fill. Yes, that's right, more 
light, not less. I don't know what's available over there, but slave 
strobes used to be awfully cheap over here. You stick them in an 
ordinary lamp socket - a gooseneck lamp works well - and when they 
see a flash, they flash as well. Stick them under a white pillowcase,and 
you get nice quantities of nonspecular fill. 

A tripod is pretty important, and while a cheap tripod will make a 
marked difference, you really need something sturdier than a cheap 
tripod. Hang beanbags over the leg braces, and a cheap tripod almost 
turns into a good tripod. Or if you plop the camera down atop 
beanbags, and hold it steady with your hands, you can even omit the 
tripod. It's OK to handhold a camera at 1/125 second or faster when 
you are shooting moving subjects at a distance. When you're doing 
closeups, there's simply no way to hold a camera steady enough to get 
a good picture. 

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