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sandi Snowy Day Bears
St. Albans, VT
Posts: 263

EdwardandLily.JPGautumn2.JPGEdward2.JPGMy photography stinks !!  I built a light tent.  My dining room looks like the "Great White Way" I have so many lights  set up.   I changed my background a couple of times thinking it was too dark.
I don't have a tripod yet so I set up something to rest on when I take the picture so I don't shake but I still come up with this.

I can't seem to prevent the flash on the camera from going off and it doesn't seem to have a lot of settings I can manipulate.  It is my husband's camera and he of course can not find the manual that goes with it.  Any one got any tips for me?

I even have a helper as you can see by my third photo.

Mutz Mutz's Tootsz Bears & Buds
New Berlin, Wisconsin
Posts: 397

Hi Sandi,
Cute Bears & I love your helper! I am by no means an expert on photography, but I'll give you some input. Let me start with some of the things you are doing right. Your bears are well posed.  They are looking at the camera or the person viewing the picture.  They make me think I would like to pick up that bear & get to know him better.

I work with an improvised light tend on my dining room table too. I do not use a tripod. The biggest suggestion I have is to get that flash not to work.  The flash produces a "flatter" looking picture, so find that manual.  Also when you do look for the part that tells you how to play with the white balance. Try different shots while changing the white balance & experiment.

If you are using a digital camera use the programming (or buy some) to help you manipulate your pictures.

You are on the right track so keep experimenting.
TTFN
Amy

Winney Winneybears and Friends
White City, Oregon
Posts: 1,103

If you can't find the manual...I wonder if you took the batteries out if that would work ? Then mabe it would render the whole camera useless?

Hmmm, if you NEVER find that manual I would try to take the camera to a photo shop and see if they can order you one or maybe perhaps you can find one on line...Winney

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,649
Website

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Hi Sandi!

First, adorable bears and helper and nice posing :)

I'll mention a couple of things....

1)  Although I have used it myself... a white background can mess with the cameras light meter and cause your subject to appear darker.  The camera tries to limit the exposure so that the white background is not so white... which causes your subject to be darker.

2)  Yes, also the flash is causing your photos to be darker too.  When you use available light (all those lights you have set up) and NO flash, the camera measures how much light there is and chooses the right combination of lens opening (apeture) and shutter speed to make the correct exposure.  However when it is in flash mode... it usually has just one setting - and so your supplemental lights don't really do much.  The camera is basing it's readings on the flash.  So yes, you need to figure out how to turn off the flash on the camera.  Do you have a camera store nearby that may be able to help you?  (It would help if you bought a little something too LOL!)

Going to be gone the rest of today... but I'll try to answer anyother ?'s you may have on monday.

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

My best tip is to get a tripod....I have been taking photos semi-professionally for years with a regular (non-digital type) camera...I used to take fashion portraits of hairstyles for hair magazines...and if you are shooting photos indoors you need to use a tripod for clarity to show off the detail in your bears.

I don't pretend I am an expert with digital cameras... they are quite a challenge....but get a book that's simple to understand...that doesn't talk jargon..and you may be able to find the handbook to your camera very cheaply on ebay....

You can only do so much computer enhancement of photos...unless you are an expert it's best to get the photos as good as you can first....

Lovely, Lovely bears!!!
Jenny

Mutz Mutz's Tootsz Bears & Buds
New Berlin, Wisconsin
Posts: 397

You didn't say if you are using digital or not.

Try looking up the manual on the manufacturer's websit. I found mine there.
Amy

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Sandi, I know nothing of photography, and although I'm sure there is a way to remove the flash, in the meantime, just cover it up. Put some black felt over it or something. I'm assuming it'll do in a pinch.
Heather

sandi Snowy Day Bears
St. Albans, VT
Posts: 263

Thanks for all your suggestions.  After turning the house upside down I was able to find the manual.  I can turn off the flash, adjust the white light balance and a whole lot more.   Right now I don't even know what white light balance is - just that it is important.  I know how important it is to take a good picture so I'm going to experiment and hopefully improve.

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

Hi Sandi....Thank goodness for that....at least you can find out what all the buttons are for.

On Bears and buds.com Shelli has done an exceptional piece on photographing your bears. I am addicted to film as I have used it for 20 years and am finding digital photography really challenging...I know all the rules but they just are so much more complex..and I get bogged down with looking at histograms and stuff when I really should just look at the picture.

So I can recommend reading it ...I have always used reflector boards but after reading it I did set up a light tent which is working brilliantly!!!
There's always something new to learn and you'll learn lots from Shellis article.

I have said this before on here but when you get to grips with your white balance button ...check out the ' exposure-compensation' button..(usually a +/- sign) it lets you add more light than your camera thinks your subject needs..so your whites will look white....

Good luck..

Jenny

sandi Snowy Day Bears
St. Albans, VT
Posts: 263

Jenny thanks for reminding me about Shelli's article.  I found it and printed it out.  I'm finding it most helpful.   I purchased a tripod today.  I'm going to do a lot  of experimenting.  I would much rather being bear making than fooling around with this but I know I gotta lick this thing if I ever hope to post pictures of my bears for sale. 

Thanks Sandi

sandi Snowy Day Bears
St. Albans, VT
Posts: 263

lily-2.JPGThis is a photo of my helper relaxing after the photo shoot.  The back drop is folded up to the top of the light tent and Lily is lying on the top like it is a hammock.
How can I go wrong when my little shadow is paying so much attention to the project?  She also helps me when I cut out the bears.

Winney Winneybears and Friends
White City, Oregon
Posts: 1,103

What a fun kitty..pretty too...Winney

Kirsten So. Cal.
Posts: 302
Website

Sandi - I also have a light tent but my kities think it is their clubhouse/hammock. They will race to it and jump on top. They sleep there all day, if I let them. So when I have to take photos, I have to remove the fur and keep them out of the shots!:)

sandi Snowy Day Bears
St. Albans, VT
Posts: 263

Yes that is the way kitties are.  That is why I love them so much.
I don't let Lily help me with the bill paying every since I sent the car payment to the phone company. 

Sandi

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh I'm a beginner too.

I've got a new Nikon Coolpix 5600. It's got a 'grey balance' setting instead of a 'white balance'. Does anyone know anything about this wrinkle? The manual suggests setting the thing using a piece of cardboard, but all my cardboard is brown!

My best try (see avatar!) so far was still underexposed, and needed fiddling. It still stinks. bear_sad I need more lights.

And the camera's so tiny that I can't seem to hold it steady. I definitely need to dig out the old tripod and maybe try a timed exposure--or whatever you call the thing that allows you to get into the picture yourself.

Eileen

Bumpkin Bears Bumpkin Bears
Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 2,190

Hi Eileen, the Grey card that you mention is a special card in a grey shade that you can get from photo shops.   It should give a nice even exposure for your photos.  Looking at your photo of your sweet dog I would say that it is a bit over -exposed.  The grey card does work very well, I used mine a lot with black and white photos back in my University days.. but will work just as well with colour shots.

The Grey card will only work if the lighting is uniform for all your pictures. You need to take a new reading for each different lighting siuation. That said:

1. Put your camera in Manual Mode or whatever mode you need to set grey balance.
2. Place the greycard in the lighting situation your bears will be in (eg light tent)
3. Fill the viewfinder with the grey card.
4.Set your grey balance at that point. (I wont go into setting aperture and shutter speeds for now, hopefully your camera will set these at that point)
5. That's it. You have the settings for that lighting situation.

I hope this makes sense?  Please let me know if not.
Good luck,
Catherine

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh Thanks, Catherine--that's perfect. I think I'll walk up the street this afternoon and ask one of the local photographers for a grey card. But . . .

Waaaah! bear_sad  (Sniffle) My dog is supposed to be a bear! I guess it's not only my photography that's off. I  knew there was something wrong with it. Maybe a shorter muzzle?

Anyway, the pic was so underexposed that I 'sharpened' it. Hence the overexposure. With any luck, I'll have a better one soon.

Eileen

Bumpkin Bears Bumpkin Bears
Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 2,190

OOO sorry Eileen, I think it was the way your BEAR was posed - he is lovely though :)

Catherine

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh Not a problem, Catherine :lol:

This one's a prototype, with a few glitches that need fixing. I'm still learning the baby steps.

I used that pic because it was the only one even close to focussed in my first experiment. Then my computer overheated and went back to the shop, etc. etc. What a month!

Eileen

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