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Couldn't find a place for camera questions so trying here. Got a dslr for Christmas and I want to take pics to turn into elements. I have a pin collection, antique and new. Is it best to photograph them on black or white to make it easiest to take out the background? How to I get the pins or flowers to stay up on the background? What kind of light should I purchase for my camera? Or maybe someone could point me to some sites that might be good for this type of information? Thanks for all help.

Karen

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This is a question for a designer which really is not me. 

Sorry I am unable to help much. When I took part in a designer competition I had trouble with my photographing of items to extract. You have to have good lighting so that you do not get shadows in places to make it more difficult to extract. I am sure a white background is the best option.  

Hopefully someone else with more knowledge will come along and help. Do some searching online for what you are asking. 

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Use a solid color background that is completely different from the colors in your pins.  Perhaps neon green like the green screens they use in movies?  White is good if there is no white color in the pins.

 

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So I've photographed a few things to extract...not a ton.  But have been doing photography for years on the side.  Here's some "rules" that i've come across.  Now keep in mind photography is alot like Photoshop, there's a ton of ways to do something and get a result.  And alot of times you have to take the basic steps and adjust/adapt for your situation.  These tips area also keeping in mind that you have a basic home set up and not wanting to invest a fortune into this.

1: make sure your area/item is clear of dust and dirt.  wash your items and area before you start and once you get set up maybe again take a puffer or can of air and get rid of any dirt/dust that landed

2: now decided how your taking your photo, meaning at what angle and how the item is set up.  That will depend on your item and what you want your finished result to be.  but once you get everything set up look closely at your subject.  make sure there's no reflections showing in it, to harsh shadows, etc.  maybe take a test shot and look at it on your computer and see if you see anything

3:  equipment:  I would say invest in a tripod that will help keep camera steady especially if photographing from above.    A diffusing screen.  This can be something as simple as a piece of white cardboard.  (when working with white be careful where you place your item as it works as a natural reflector) But it's good to block out light.  Solid color to sit your item on.  I do usually work with white, as it's the easiest to find and it's a pure color.  A good rule of thumb is the opposite color of your item.  If your doing a dark button put it on white and a light button put it on black.  

4:  Camera:  if you have a macro or close up option/lens that will be best (helps with the detail)  Settings on camera will depend on your area your taking photos in.  Some basic tips set your camera at your highest quality image mode.  ISO between 100 to 400.  The higher ISO will give you a faster shutter and help with shake...but it will degrade quality.  If you have a tripod lower will work.  

Some tips

Photography on opposite color of your subject.  Light subject on dark background and vice versa

Avoid bright colors or shiny background especially with taking photos of shiny items.  Those shiny or polished items will pick up any color or light around it

You, yourself shouldn't have on bright colors.  You can have everything set up perfectly and it looks good.  And you bend over the item to take the photo with a red shirt on and all of a sudden that white shiny button will have a red tint to it

You can use a soft light, like a reading light.  But that will more then likely create shadows or hot spots.  So will basic flash (i'm assuming you don't have the items or don't want to purchase the items to make a "studio" in your house..lol)  Sometimes a simple daylight, light through a window is best.  With that you can use a reflector also to help bounce that light back to your subject 

More then anything just practice...practice...practice.  I hope that helps some

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Thank you for all that information. It's a real blessing. I'm looking for some inexpensive lighting. I'm photographing antique brooches. Is it best to take them looking down. I do have an inexpensive macro lens. I'll be using all your wonderful information and I plan on doing lots of practice. Thank you, everyone.

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I don't know if honestly there's a "right" answer to that.  It will depend on the brooch, how it sits, what your using it for extra.  Maybe try googling the subject I bet there's probably youtube videos or articles out there that will give you ideas that you could try and see what works best for you

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  • 5 weeks later...

A speedlite bounced behind you to provide some soft even lighting. I have video lights that work well too. You want even light, soft shadows. If shooting on manual, make sure you have proper exposure so there is little or no noise in the image and no blown highlights (so too little light or too much light is not desirable). 

I like to photograph outside on my porch if possible, natural light works the best if you can do that, or by a window and then light from the opposite direction to even out the light.  For shooting from above, stand on a chair, tilting camera down, but be very careful of the angle b/c of distortion (which can be corrected in lightroom if needed). 

A tripod is very useful but can be done handheld if you can hold steady. 

Have fun and experiment to see what works for you. Also, check youtube, there are lots of videos on the subject.

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