So you want to show off your guitar? Learn to take proper pictures!

Discussion in 'Art, Media & Photography' started by ibanezcollector, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Gear Junkie

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    Ok I am by no means a professional photographer but some of the pictures I see on here are horrific at best. So I thought I would make a simple guide on how to take a decent picture with some ideas and thoughts that would help us all.

    This tutorial will consider you are using just a point and shoot camera no f stops, etc well go off this being completely on auto.

    RULE #1 quit being lazy and at least crop your picture, some of us do visit the site on mobile phones and to have to wait 14 mins for your 100 meg 9000x8400 pixel image to show up is ridiculous. I find that 800x600 is more then big enough for forums if you want to keep a higher resolution picture for your own thats fine.

    Ok now with that out of the way, the best thing you can do if your going to take a good picture is to think of a good background. Since most of our guitar shots usually just have part of the guitar in the picture the background can really make a guitar stand out. Think of cool locations, most of us drive while your driving scout cool locations, a park, a weathered picnic table, maybe a funky wall, use these for your pictures.

    Example 1, in this picture the guitar is quite busy, its a swirl I painted, I wanted to make the colors pop so I found a nice wall, and moved a bunch of leaves from the ground in front of the wall. Creating a nice orange that contrasts and makes the blues pop like crazy.

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    Example 2, is of a headstock, notice the stew mac catalog makes a great background LOL

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    Example 3, is of a Ibanez I painted, this wall had some cool dark colors going on making the green leap off the screen.

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    Next thing I see all the time here is people taking pictures with a flash, DO NOT use a flash it ruins the photo. The best time to take a picture is during the day obviously, not a bright sunny day, but a good overcast day is ideal. The reason a overcast day is better is the clouds act like one giant diffuser. This will eliminate lots of glares etc.

    Example 4 is a picture taken on my back deck, I used this background because the darker reds of the deck made the bright red of the guitar stand out more and also gives it a rustic feel since the guitar was lightly aged.

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    If you are forced to take a picture in bright sunlight on a clear day then try to find a spot that has a cool background, but also will provide some shade. Another thing you want to keep in mind is angles we will touch on that more later. Here I found a spot under a tree next to a fence, the darkness of the shade makes the white of the guitar go crazy which provided me with a cool contrast.

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    Ok so you dont want to go outside because your a hermit and cant stand being away from your guitars haha, you can take nice pictures inside as well. Find a cool background as always in this case I bought this $5 bamboo door curtain thingy at the local supermarket. Lay this on the floor and boom your boring picture of your carpet now looks 100x nicer. Get close to a window but not close enough that your going to get to much light again we need just enough to light up the picture.

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    Ok next were going to talk about framing and angles, these are your best friend for taking nice shots of your guitars or in general for that matter. Most people usually just take straight on shots, or the guitar is always centered. Have the guitar off center will instantly give you a nicer looking photo, shooting at angles can also reduce glares, reflections, etc. Here are a few photos showing angles, off center shots, etc.

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    Ok now we got some basics under our belts lets talk about close ups. I see so many people try to take detail pictures only to have them blurry etc. Almost all point and shoot cameras have a macro mode, some better then others but 90% of them have it. USE IT.. Its the little flower looking icon on your selector.

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    Now with the right setting we can take some nice close ups, again backgrounds, framing, angles, lighting from above all come into play if you want a good looking picture.

    Here we have a bridge on carpet floor, pretty boring

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    Here is a group of examples taken in macro mode with better backgrounds, lighting, framing, angles, etc. Notice how these all pop more, how they seem to be better pictures? Its really just about taking a few minutes, finding the right spot and lighting, locating or setting up a cool background, and taking your time.

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    Hope this really helps some of you, because I see so many beautiful guitars with just God awful pics. It will also help you sell your gear since buyers only have your pictures to decide.

    Enjoy

    Brett "ibanezcollector"
     
  2. straightshreddd

    straightshreddd Dat Dood

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    The thing that mildly annoys me is "NGD! *guitar I'm interested in seeing* Content!"


    * single far distance photo in lowest possible resolution

    I can understand low quality. I just want lots of good angles. Adding stuff you mentioned just adds to the awesomeness. I'm content with low resolution pics as long is we can see the whole thing from multiple perspectives.
     
  3. JEngelking

    JEngelking Gravity is Shifting!

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    These two right here are the two main things that bug me about people's photos, guitar related or not. Flash effects are one of the most unattractive things to see in a picture.

    I'm not a frequent poster of NGDs and such but I didn't know about macro mode so I'll make sure to implement that from now on when I do post pictures. There was definitely some interesting points you made, thanks for the post! :)
     
  4. Khoi

    Khoi SS.org Regular

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    Not true, both of these were taken with flashes. It depends on what kind of flash, and whether or not you know how to use them ;)


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  5. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Ha, do share the details. Sometimes I get a good effect holding a tissue with a couple folds in it over the flash, but other than that I can never get a good flash shot.
     
  6. ihunda

    ihunda SS.org Regular

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    ^ it's got to be off camera flash, and just having it rebound over a wall/ceiling gives you that great diffused, soft light, example:
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  7. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    This is a flash shot as well and is much more direct; guitars are no different than any other subject matter - you must know how to use light and your camera appropriately.
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  8. JEngelking

    JEngelking Gravity is Shifting!

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    Okay, I concede. :lol: Many of the times I see it is in a poor environment with minimal lighting, so most all you see is the flash effect. It can definitely be used to one's advantage, as you all demonstrated. :)
     
  9. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    :idea:

    Not all of us have fancy cameras and if it bothers you that much that pictures aren't of pro quality you might wanna pull the stick ever so slightly out of your ass... And are NGD's THAT serious? Really? Did I miss something?
     
  10. Khoi

    Khoi SS.org Regular

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    :lol: I know what you meant, I just wanted to take a little jab at you. But yeah, most of the time, with point and shoot cameras, flash is a no-no.

    I guess these aren't very fair examples for your average man, but for the first shot of my Black Water I used a beauty dish to get that really nice diffused and soft light. It really renders the contours perfectly, with the highlights in being just the right place.


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    for the shot of the JP13, I just used an external flash (Canon 480 EXII) and used a bounce card behind the flash.

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  11. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    Yes: fancy cameras don't do a lot if not used properly, and even a iphone can take good pics with proper lighting and exposure times. That from someone who owns for thousands of euros of Nikon stuff.
     
  12. Frostod

    Frostod SS.org Regular

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    This thread is SO much worth, thank you very much!!
     
  13. FIXXXER

    FIXXXER ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    how would you guys rate this pic? :)
    i went for a darker image on purpose btw.

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  14. Philligan

    Philligan The White-Knuckler Contributor

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    :agreed: Nothing an iPhone and a backyard or big window won't fix.
     
  15. antuni

    antuni SS.org Regular

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    Taken with bounced flash to the wall.

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  16. antuni

    antuni SS.org Regular

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    same settings:

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  17. loqtrall

    loqtrall Banned

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    Has anyone mentioned the fact that most people on here might not have a DSLR camera, or even a moderately nice non-DSLR camera, or that most people on here might not have an Iphone of any sort?

    Because I live in South Georgia (as South as you can get in Georgia), and everyone and their fvcking uncle plays guitar around here. And I know maybe two people who own an Iphone, and I'm the only person I know here who owns a moderately nice camera.

    The main reason people take shitty pictures of guitars for their NGDs: They can't afford the equipment most of you are talking about using to get these pictures.

    Another reason: They probably couldn't give two shits.

    Edit: I mean, around here, where I live, big chain superstores like Wal Mart, K Mart, Target, etc. Don't even sell cameras anymore, nobody buys them.
     
  18. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

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    That's why he gave tips on how to improve your pics with a standard point & shoot camera... Not an in depth guide on how to make fancy DSLR shots. This guide has nothing to do with camera quality, and everything with how you use your camera.
     
  19. pushpull7

    pushpull7 Banned

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    First off, thanks for the tips. I suck at taking pics of my beauties.

    But I have a bigger problem than location or pic size. My camera sucks balls :lol:

    So I decided that for now, instead of starting a new thread, I'll scour this one and what I can find but for todays date/availability, is there something in the lower price range that can take reasonably detailed pics? I'm not going to spend 500 bucks on a camera since the only thing I currently care about are my guitars. (well, and the cat :cool: )
     
  20. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    You can find point-and-shoot cameras now with 20 megapixels for like $100, and then do touch-ups with PS or Lightroom, etc... and get solid results.
     

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