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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm trying to develop a workable technique and a tabletop setup for creating quality digital photographs indoors of rifles suitable for on-line posting. I thought it would be a simple transition from photographing handguns to long guns, but the greater length of a rifle makes creating good pics more difficult; the light is more difficult to manage; greater distance between the camera and the subject makes the setup more difficult for focus and composition. Although I've just started trying to make good, clear images with incandescent light, early results are frustrating.

The following is my first full-length photo of a Marlin; it was taken on an ironing board with incandescent lights suspended about 3 feet directly over the gun. The camera was on a tripod, and I used timed shutter release. It doesn't hold a candle to photos I've taken outdoors in terms of clarity and color quality.



I'd appreciate any guidance on how to get good images indoors of rifles. I'm using a Nikon COOLPIX AW100. White balance=incandescent; ISO=800; autofocus; image mode=2048x1536. I have Nikon SLR digital cameras, but the COOLPIX gets good photos of handguns.

Outdoor lighting easily produces superior photos. I'd like to get some clear pics of my Marlins inside like the ones I get outside. This is the only outside rifle pic I have at hand, and it has issues, but the color and clarity are far better than the above photo.



Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm bumping my own thread because I know there are folks here who have some experience at photographing rifles and shotguns indoors with digital cameras in incandescent light. If you're getting clear pics with good color, what setup are you using?

Selling firearms on line has to be most successful with crisp, colorful full-length photos that show the gun in its true condition. Posting photos of our Marlins here at MO would be even greater fun if we can put up pics that represent our prized rifles with the best image possible.

If you use clamp-on lights or a light box or some means of diffusing light for improved results, please share your knowledge. I know this isn't rocket science, but there have to be some tips and techniques we can all use to improve our Marlin indoor photos.

Thanks.
 

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Fence Posts man, Fence Posts!
 

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Throw the Coolpix away and take your slr. Do you use a tripod for the Nikon dslr ? Did you try different white balance presets? High iso levels supports image noise, try with a lower level. The image above looks very small, too much compressing may cause bad quality too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fence Posts man, Fence Posts!
I hear ya. Some of the best shots I've seen here and on other forums have been outdoors on a sunny day with casual backgrounds like a fence, a deck railing, a rock wall, a pickup bed, etc. These photos are great, but it isn't always warm, sunny or convenient to shoot outdoors, and the backgrounds can detract from the image of the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Throw the Coolpix away and take your slr. Do you use a tripod for the Nikon dslr ? Did you try different white balance presets? High iso levels supports image noise, try with a lower level. The image above looks very small, too much compressing may cause bad quality too.
I used the incandescent setting for white balance. The other options on the COOLPIX are: auto, preset manual, daylight, fluorescent, cloudy, flash.

I always use the tripod for gun photos indoors.

The 800 iso was used to suppress the flash.

With respect to the image size, I don't understand your point. The 'size' was a function of filling the frame with the rifle given the distance from camera lens to the rifle. Are you saying make the image without filling the frame side-to-side with the rifle and crop to get the size desired for a final image? Sorry, but I'm a really 'rank' amateur photographer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is a photo taken of a Glock using the same camera and setup as I used for the Marlin pic, except there was a carpet background:



This isn't museum quality either, but color is better, details are much clearer and the light is fairly well balanced.
 

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Why do you want to suppress flash when you need light? You can affect the intensity of the flash in your image by changing shutter time and aperture. You can cut the image to the desired size without loss of quality, i just wanted to mention that compressing can affect the quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Why do you want to suppress flash when you need light? You can affect the intensity of the flash in your image by changing shutter time and aperture. You can cut the image to the desired size without loss of quality, i just wanted to mention that compressing can affect the quality.
Thanks. Maybe the earlier advice to use my SLR would help in terms of using manual settings. With the COOLPIX, I can't vary the shutter speed and aperture to get specific results.

My experience with using flash to photograph guns up close hasn't been good because of glare. The outdoor photo posted above was made with flash, and the glare bouncing back from the receiver resulted. With my SLR and add-on flash I could bounce or use diffusers to eliminate bright spots.
 

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Your picture of the Glock looks nice. Using a piece of carpet and the color of the carpet adds a nice , softer background that helps absorb some of the flash. Also, using diffused lighting and/or bounce lighting will give a more pleasing look. My flash has a little opaque piece of plastic that can be flipped into place over the flash to diffuse and reduce glare. The great thing about DSLR's is the ability to immediately see what you took and get a good idea of what looks good and not so good. A tripod will certainly help get a real sharp image.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Your picture of the Glock looks nice. Using a piece of carpet and the color of the carpet adds a nice , softer background that helps absorb some of the flash. Also, using diffused lighting and/or bounce lighting will give a more pleasing look. My flash has a little opaque piece of plastic that can be flipped into place over the flash to diffuse and reduce glare. The great thing about DSLR's is the ability to immediately see what you took and get a good idea of what looks good and not so good. A tripod will certainly help get a real sharp image.
Thanks. The key differences between the Marlin and Glock photo setups were 1) background carpet under the Glock had a bit of color; the ironing board was neutral gray, 2) the camera was closer with the Glock because the subject is much smaller, so light was easier to position, 3) the Glock is pretty much one color with a flat, non-reflective finish versus the Marlin's shiny wood and blued steel contrasting colors. The camera and its settings were the same in both photos.

Here is a Kahr photo with gray carpet background and the gun's slide is stainless; everything else is the same as the other photos I've posted:



I'd love to see some full-length indoor photos of Marlins or other long guns you guys have taken with incandescent light and/or flash. It's an opportunity to share photos and techniques we can all use to create good images for sharing on line or for guns we'd like to sell to make room for another Marlin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Here is a Gunbroker photo of one of my Marlin purchases. It's an indoor photo with incandescent light, I think. This is the type of photo I want to make for selling guns on line and posting here and on other forums.



This image isn't as sharp as I'd like, but the background is neutral and its full length. There is too much light bouncing off of the receiver. Maybe a flash was used for this one, but the light was well distributed; might have used bounce or some diffusion technique.
 

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Do you have a photo editing program ? They are easy to use and can help fine tune a picture.

To me, an outdoor setting always makes a firearm look great...looks natural.

Just my opinion, but that Gunbroker picture still looks a little washed out with that light background. I like your Kahr carpet color much better.

Most professional photographers will take lots & lots of pictures of the subject and then only choose the best few for their final job.

I make Cedar crafts and when I take pictures of them I will usually put them out on the picnic table, sometimes on a table cloth, sometimes just on the table, and take pictures using the auto setting on my DSLR and then use the Aperture priority setting and see which pictures I like better. Sometimes I like the auto setting, sometimes I like the aperture priority setting...sometimes I might attach my flash and mess around with using fill light. I am certainly not an expert...I just experiment and see what develops ( pun intended..!! ).

I come from the 'old school' of 35mm film cameras. You never really knew what your pictures were gonna turn out like until the film was developed. But now, if you don't like the picture...just delete it...neat..!! And being able to download to your computer/laptop and see it full screen and then be able to use an editing program and play with the picture is awesome...don't need a darkroom.
 

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A light box big enough to photograph rifles can be made quite inexpensively using 1/2" PVC tubing, elbows, and connectors, and a white sheet. Lights can be arranged on the outside of the light box, to eliminate glare, hot spots and shadows.

It's size is the biggest problem, so do not glue the PVC frame so it may be disassembled when not in use.

Roe
 

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Here are a couple that I have taken, I am still working on the process. But with this, you can get very large pictures.

I used a tripod, with a wide-angle lens, with no flash, I used several overhead lights, but also had a light that was behind the camera, and moved with the camera.
I also had to use Photoshop, because the picture is made of several close up pictures, all taken at the same distance away.
I plan on instead of using a tripod next time, to use a track running parallel to the gun. With the SLR and light mounted to a cart, that I can roll from one side to the other.
Also need a better way to mount the gun, so every thing is parallel, to the camera, and all line are horizontal.
If you look at the top edge of the picture of the Stainless gun, you will see it isn't straight. That is were the pictures all met.

1881 4570.jpg Left click to enlarge, and left click again to make bigger. And you can zoom it even more after that. And then you can start to see some more spots, were the pictures were joined.
444XLR Right side Panoramic view.jpg One problem is still there though, if you look at the rear scope ring, it looks turned, well in real life, they both were strait. So as said still working on the process. If a scope was on it,I am not sure how it would have looked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Do you have a photo editing program ? They are easy to use and can help fine tune a picture.

To me, an outdoor setting always makes a firearm look great...looks natural.

Just my opinion, but that Gunbroker picture still looks a little washed out with that light background. I like your Kahr carpet color much better.

Most professional photographers will take lots & lots of pictures of the subject and then only choose the best few for their final job.

I make Cedar crafts and when I take pictures of them I will usually put them out on the picnic table, sometimes on a table cloth, sometimes just on the table, and take pictures using the auto setting on my DSLR and then use the Aperture priority setting and see which pictures I like better. Sometimes I like the auto setting, sometimes I like the aperture priority setting...sometimes I might attach my flash and mess around with using fill light. I am certainly not an expert...I just experiment and see what develops ( pun intended..!! ).

I come from the 'old school' of 35mm film cameras. You never really knew what your pictures were gonna turn out like until the film was developed. But now, if you don't like the picture...just delete it...neat..!! And being able to download to your computer/laptop and see it full screen and then be able to use an editing program and play with the picture is awesome...don't need a darkroom.
Thanks. I agree the Gunbroker photo is too light, or washed out, whatever the correct term is. The background is too light and the light source was a bit too bright.

I'm grew up with 35mm too, so digital is a whole new world; so much flexibility provides unbelievable opportunities to experiment with instant feedback. Digital makes my little project so much easier than 35mm. Oh how I remember waiting for 35mm photos to be available from the processor.

The only editing tool I have is the one that came with my iPad and my laptop. I've been considering one of the more sophisticated systems like Photoshop.
 

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Check this one out. It was recently posted here in a .444 thread.

http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/a...90425-show-us-your-444s-pics-included-444.jpg

This is getting close to my expectations for a 'rifle for sale' offering. The checkering and wood grain detail are visible and overall light distribution is pretty good (to my untrained eye, anyway).
That looks real good. Yea...the grain and checkering are clear and not washed out by flash or glare...nice.

I would still go for just a tad darker background...at least try it and see what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here are a couple that I have taken, I am still working on the process. But with this, you can get very large pictures.

I used a tripod, with a wide-angle lens, with no flash, I used several overhead lights, but also had a light that was behind the camera, and moved with the camera.
I also had to use Photoshop, because the picture is made of several close up pictures, all taken at the same distance away.
I plan on instead of using a tripod next time, to use a track running parallel to the gun. With the SLR and light mounted to a cart, that I can roll from one side to the other.
Also need a better way to mount the gun, so every thing is parallel, to the camera, and all line are horizontal.
If you look at the top edge of the picture of the Stainless gun, you will see it isn't straight. That is were the pictures all met.

View attachment 116035 Left click to enlarge, and left click again to make bigger. And you can zoom it even more after that. And then you can start to see some more spots, were the pictures were joined.
View attachment 116034 One problem is still there though, if you look at the rear scope ring, it looks turned, well in real life, they both were strait. So as said still working on the process. If a scope was on it,I am not sure how it would have looked.
I wouldn't know where to begin with your process of joining separate images to make a composite photograph. It sure seems to work for you, though! Looks to me like you've got it figured out. Its amazing you've been able to get good images without using a tripod

It sounds like you're committed to creating indoor long gun photos, too. How long have you been using the composite photo approach. I've seen segmented pics on Gunbroker with three or photos used to represent the entire rifle. They were never joined into a composite image, however.
 

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Hi,

I don't know if my pictures are as good as you expect yours to be, but I use my DSLR Canon 7D, with a wide angle zoom Canon lens 16-35mm f/2.8
I set up the rifle/revolver on an inclined drawing table, over a piece of leather or a blue EVA carpet. I step up on a small A ladder. I iluminate with two incandecent lights 500W each but, also, use my external flash, covered with white plastic cap, and bounce the flash light into the ceiling. I use f/10+ to make sure the whole gun is in focus. Sometimes I make small corrections with Adobe Lightroom 5.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
 
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