Photographng Firearms
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Old 02-22-2013   #1
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Default Photographng Firearms

First off I just wanted to thank all of you professionals that give your time and advice so freely on this forum. It really blew me away when I saw the depth some of you go to to help others. Truly humbling...

I was asked by a friend if I'd take some pictures of one of his handguns. It ended up being a two tone which caused me some problems with hilights. I've never done "product" shots before so how would you folks have handled this shot?

P.S. All firearms were proven safe prior to handling.

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Old 02-22-2013   #2
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You've got nice lighting here, really smooth. I think I'd have experimented with a couple of things: 1.) I'd have flipped the pistol over. The magazine release button and the slide lock lever would be interesting components. 2.) I'd have changed the tilt.

Composition is a huge challenge. We'd like the viewer's eyes to follow a visual path in a triangle, or circle so the interest doesn't "fall off the page". In something extremely directional like a firearm, finding a way to keep the eye roving the image is difficult. What I see here is everything flowing to the lower right corner. The barrel is pointed down and the trade mark on the grips reads down hill to the same corner; it's static. Running the pistol "up hill" might give us a different direction. The change in angle would not eliminate the single direction, but the eyes would be lifted up in an optimistic direction rather then down, the way of disappointment.

Since the gun is gray-scale by design, I think a gray-scale background would be a plus rather than a primary color. Looks like you've used denim here and I'm not connecting the pistol with the fabric at all. I think a nondescript background, black white or graduated would really be beneficial. You might consider adding some compositional elements for keeping the eye attention, a magazine and a few rounds might be strategically placed for visual attention. I'd be tempted to edit out the wear on the barrel.
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Old 02-22-2013   #3
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Default Re: Photographng Firearms

There are many aspects of your image that I really like.
Here's one I did just for comparison purposes (ok... just for showing off purposes ) I shot this on light sucking black velvet with one Alien Bee camera right and a reflector camera left.

First when shooting something that has bright work on it I believe that specular highlights along the ridges is a good thing so no need to struggle to eliminate that. This can vary depending on the exact need though.

Second I'd shoot it with slide closed.

Any one can feel free to compare the two images so we can all learn from it.
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Old 02-24-2013   #4
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Points taken...
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Old 02-24-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunstruck View Post
Points taken...
Pun intended ? ? ?

Nice background on the second shot, it fits the subject better.
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Old 02-24-2013   #6
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I think these handguns would be better photographed on something more masculine than cloth. Maybe distressed wood, granite, steel plate or stone?

I'd also like a more overhead POV with the light coming from the top and rear of set instead of from the side. The camera position in all of these shots makes the butt of the handgrip look big and the barrel small.
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Old 03-05-2013   #7
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I have done a few guns including shooting some rifles in multi shots and stitched into one panorama. On handguns I like to set up a table with a contrasting background. I have several styerofoam blocks and a "bean bag" I can use to get the gun positioned the way I want it. I then use a small aperture like f16/22 and a lot of flash or a slow shutter and simply light paint with a flashlight. Image below was done the light painting way. This long barrel needed extreme DOF and was done at f32 with a 200mm micro nikkor, 30 second exposure and used a flashlight to "paint" the gun.
Just a different approach..

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Old 03-05-2013   #8
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SAnstruck I like the first one better, it has more pop and contrast and I like the cloth better, that gray speckled cloth reminds me of digital noise.
E - no fair, photographing that 1911 is like photographing MS America, she's going to look good no matter what you do (nice shot, tho)
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Old 03-06-2013   #9
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Thought I'd add my $0.02 worth. I shot this on clear plexiglass with white seamless background that was about 2 feet below the plexiglass. I didn't have any shadow prior to post processing and adding the wood background. The only other editing to the handgun was to remove some of the highlights and glare that showed due to the angles of the steel.

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Old 03-06-2013   #10
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Tony, the shadows give away the stripped in background but that is the type of background I'm talking about. It looks so much better than cloth or all black or white. I would have kept the highlight along the top edge of the gun.


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