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Photography 100 (not quite 101). A Tutorial For Taking Photos of Your Hats

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Mustang, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Mustang

    Mustang One of the Regulars

    Since this is a photo intensive site, with so many people posting photos of their hats, I thought I'd take the time to give a couple pointers. By following these guidelines, you will be able to post photos that more accurately depict the hat as you see it. Remembering that your camera, film or digital, does not "see" things the same way you do is the key. Please bear in mind, I'm keeping it basic. Obviously, there's a lot more to photography than this. That's why there are books, classes, seminars, etc!;). Also, it doesn't matter what type of camera you have...these guidelines apply (SLR, Point & Shoot, etc.). These are the two easiest, and in my opinion, most important things to consider:

    1. Do not take the photo in direct sunlight. This is the most common, and easily remedied, mistake. The human eye is much more capable when it comes to handling contrast, and this causes many people to think direct sunlight or a sunny day is best for photography as well...it's not! When you are looking at that hat in direct sunlight, you are able to see the details in the brightest areas (e.g., light colored hat/ribbon, shiny metal object, etc), as well as in the darkest areas (e.g., shadows or a dark hat/ribbon, etc). With the camera, you may be able to keep detail in the lighter colored areas, but you'll lose it in the darker areas, and vise versa. Try to take the photos indoors if it's sunny outside. If it's cloudy or overcast outside, that's when to take those photos outside! Up to 1/2 before sunset, and 1/2 after sunrise would be exceptions, since the sunlight is not harsh at those times.

    Also, unless you have a fairly elaborate setup, it's best to not use the cameras flash if possible. Your cameras flash acts just like the sun does on those sunny days. It's a very harsh light and will cause a lot of contrast.

    2. If possible, it is best to use your lens at no less than 100mm's. If you use a wide angle setting you'll need to be relatively close to the hat, which gives you a distorted view of the image.

    For example: If you have your lens set at 35mm, you'll need to be fairly close to the hat, for it to take up an acceptable amount of the frame. If you are taking a "frontal" view photo of it, the front part of the brim & crown will appear disproportionately large in relation to the rest of the hat. Same goes for a side shot, except, of course, the side part of the brim & crown would appear disproportionately large in relation to the rest of the hat.

    In contrast, by using the lens at 100mm's or more, you'll be forced to stand back further and thus, the resulting photo of the hat will appear in proper proportion. The brim, crown, and person under the hat (if included :p) will all appear in proper proportion.

    If I get around to it, I may add some photos as examples.

    I hope you find this to be useful information. ;)
  2. Flieger

    Flieger Practically Family

  3. Fatwoul is a wonderful resource for photography also. Take a look at the link on his signature line. Great evenly lit, well focused, shots. :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
  4. Al

    Al One of the Regulars

    Good advice Mustang. Here's a picture of my most recent acquisition (Bailey Gentry).

    Note: Photo taken before reading your photo advice. Think I broke all the rules!
  5. Mustang

    Mustang One of the Regulars

    Nice hat Al!

    Remember, they are guidelines, not rules. It's not that you can't get a good photo without following them. But your chances are increased tremendously if you do, and you won't have to fuss with the photos so much, adjusting the color, brightness, etc., in the computer. There are always exceptions, and there are ways of overcoming obstacles, like shooting in bright sunlight, but I really wanted to keep it as simple as possible for those who just want to take photos of their hats and not mess around too much. With that said:

    Guideline #3:

    If you are shooting in direct sunlight, contrary to popular belief, you should use your flash. The flash will brighten up the shadows, thereby reducing contrast.
  6. After you get the image, you can improve it drastically with the most basic image enhancement software. You can either use the "Auto correct" function, or the "Mid Tone adust". Raising the midtones can improve a dark image to an amazing degree.
  7. Mustang

    Mustang One of the Regulars

    Absolutely. You are correct.

    It's not that you can't correct images to a large degree and get the intended results. It is usually possible...but not always. I've seen many times where an image is so dark as to have no detail to bring out of the black, no matter what you do with software. Likewise I've seen highlights blown out so badly, there is no detail to gain by bringing down the hightlights.

    My point is that, it is preferable to get the image you've intended, in camera. Even then if you still want to play with it, you have a lot more latitude to do so.

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