Guitar Photography Tutorial

TheWilly17

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What a great thread! Thaks for your advice I can't wait to try these methods.
 

xroadie_jim

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Natural light, don't forget time of day. When the magic hour happens - when the sun is low, rising or setting...
 

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DrBGood

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An outside photo is good too. On this one I turned the background to black & white. This makes your eye focus on the guitar before the stones.

Yep that is my backyard on March 19. Spring day after tomorrow ... yeah right.

 

xroadie_jim

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Don't forget our lowly side kicks, they have stories to tell you might want to remember/share as well...

 

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DrBGood

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Don't be afraid to play with space. Don't get your guitar smack in the middle of the shot. Natural light here again.

 

xroadie_jim

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A couple of pet peeves... Make sure you remove all the dust, grime and fingerprints from your instrument, and the general area the picture is being taken. A good example is a picture I posted previously, an R8 and a 58 Champ. Behind the amp is a pile of dust and crap, quite visable in the photograph. And pick up the room a little bit. So many photos have great guitars, but then a pile of trash behind them. No dig at the post above... Props can add a bit of flavor to the story.
 

DrBGood

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On the snow. Be sure to take your light readings ON the guitar.
Empty space can be good. In this one the guitar seems to be floating but in reality, it rests on an upside down bucket.

 

Beerdog80

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Personally, I try to use natural lighting as much as humanly possible. To eliminate any glares...there are two ways to go about it. One, mind your lighting source in terms of direction. Catch it at the angles. Two, use a Circular polarizing filter. My personal favorite is using a Neutral Density filter. They tend to bring out the detail MUCH better with very little off board editing. You can also eliminate the risk of flash glare if you choose to use indoor shots. Not that there is anything wrong with indoors but outdoors, IMO, is where it's at.

I'm also a fan of HDR's without the cartoon blowouts. Natural color is a must when you think of HDR photography.

The three shots for a properly stacked HDR image. The Orville is a project guitar I'm working on at the moment.


The final image:


Dont forget a BW render can make fine detail pop...especially if there are high contrast areas...like on a guitar. :)






And a couple of shots utilising a ND filter. These were taken in broad daylight:


 

Jay Jillard

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woah, i had no clue that this got stickied.

I've since added to my lighting kit, and i think i'll be doing a video on this eventually as well.

beerdog, awesome stuff there, i'm only just starting to get into filters but they are really cool. nice shots.
 

bhmcintosh

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Hey, wait a minute Jay! Are you trying to say my dimly lit shop and my cell phone camera just might not be cutting it?

Seriously, great thread. Thanks for sharing.
My "work in progress" shots are largely cell phone plus work light, but methinks that's not sufficient for when I finally have a couple of these builds finished. Belated thanks for posting the tutorial - don't know why it never really occured to me that I need to light guitars like I light portraits. D'oh! :hmm:

I will definately be changing a few things when i shoot, Thank You!
Yep, backdrop and improved lighting are definitely on the "take pretty pictures of finished instruments" menu! :applause:
 

Taller76

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Personally, I try to use natural lighting as much as humanly possible. To eliminate any glares...there are two ways to go about it. One, mind your lighting source in terms of direction. Catch it at the angles. Two, use a Circular polarizing filter. My personal favorite is using a Neutral Density filter. They tend to bring out the detail MUCH better with very little off board editing. You can also eliminate the risk of flash glare if you choose to use indoor shots. Not that there is anything wrong with indoors but outdoors, IMO, is where it's at.
AU NATUREL IS WHERE ITS AT! A quality circular polarizer is very very useful when you want to get rid of glare (I like the B+W stuff).

That said, you can also "augment" with a diffused flash too...For these shots I had natural light off to the front right and a large wall of floor to ceiling windows to right. I used one of my favorite lenses, the tack sharp super cheap Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, a Speedlite 430EX II, and a Fong Lightsphere. 99% of the shots were handheld.

Spot metering and spot focusing are a great way to bring things out...as is using a narrow depth of field, and most importantly dont forget the rule of thirds...hard to fix that in Photoshop if you get it wrong :thumb:

Not sure what has been suggested previously..didn't read too closely...sorry if any of this is a rehash of previous comments.

Not a guitar but it still has flame...











$h!tty composition, I just wanted to share ALL the flamey goodness.
 

DrBGood

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Photoshop can be your friend. Here a simple flash shot with cluttered background eliminated. It is still present on the SG which makes for nice reflections. Took the Strat strap button out too, to clean its shape.

Ying & Yang

 

jvin248

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With a quick tweak of the "contrast-brightness" option in your favorite photo manipulation software* you can achieve enough of a 'pop' to simulate the HDR improvements. Second image I didn't make a contrast adjustment so see how it looks 'flat' in comparison -- shows the difference just the simple tweak can do to the colors.

3-point compact florescent lights, wax paper diffusers, a black bed-sheet, and a low guitar stand behind the sheet. Pictures from early Feb. If you're buying lights, you'll want to try 'daylight' (bluer shade) or 'warm' (yellower, more like incandescent), or at least know to consider those options. Point-n-shoot digital camera used without delay or remote, lights not aimed quite right.



This was once a Squier Affinity black & white "penguin", several owners before. I got it as a shopping bag of project parts, inlaid the strips (walnut and maple) to fix a prior owner's 'mods', and refinished it. MIM pickups.

* Many use Photoshop. However, if you're on a budget, head over to gimp.org and get a copy of Gnu Image Manipulation Program and do most of the same things as Photoshop .. for free.
 

Nard

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Great pictures and methods for taking these shots. I worked in photography when I was younger (not that you know it from the pics I have posted). One type of lighting that might add something to your pictures (that's not a criticism by the way) is backlighting. This is a great way to add definition to the outer edges of the guitar when used subtly, or to give that halo effect when looking for something more dynamic. Great post:thumb:
 

Otto tune

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I liked the ideas so much I bought the clip light and bucket.
Anybody can do great work with a lighting kit and scrim, but you had killer ideas on a budget.
 

pinefd

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I liked the ideas so much I bought the clip light and bucket.
I tried that too, but my colors got all screwed up for some reason. Perhaps I should try buying a bucket from Lowes next time instead?



:hmm:

:cool:

:naughty:

:thumb:
 




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