Photographers - Help please!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Di, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Di

    Di Active Member

    I'm trying to take some photos of some objects to put on a web site. Some I've managed OK, a couple of others I'm having difficulty with. I'm trying to photograph a pencil and a pen with writing on it. Sometimes I can the writing in focus, just but most of the time it won't focus and I keep getting shadows. Now I'm OK with editing the photos to cut out the background and shadow etc, but what's the best settings to use to get this right. I feel like I'm going round in circles. :( I'm no expert and I don't have and posh equipment, just me and my Canon Ixus.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2007
  2. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Without getting over technical (hopefully), you need plenty of light, and from just to one side of the camera (making sure you don't get a shadow of the camera on your picture!). This should minimise shadows, and more light should give (technical bit) a smaller aperture>more depth of field>more in focus. If you're close up you need the "macro" setting on the camera (if it has one), may be shown a little picture of a flower (flower=close, mountains=far away, usually).

    Mid coloured (e.g pastel) background is best, cameras are made to assume the world is 18% grey (which it is, on average) so black or white backgrounds confuse them.

  3. Di

    Di Active Member

    Thanks Andy. I've had some better results today in the daylight by the window rather than at night. Good tip about the background. I've been using a white sheet so it's easy to clip out. Yup, I've got a macro, have tried that, amongst many other settings and have got totally bamboozled. Will try again tomorrow when it's light again with the macro setting and a different colour background. :tup Cheers.
  4. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Di - I am no photographer, but are you trying to take the photo of the pencil from an adjacent or parallel angle? If adjacent - then you have depth-of-field issues to deal with.

    Depth of field is explained as the depth of the picture that is in focus on the image. If you take a pic of a mountain range, then usually the depth of field is infinite and you get the trees in the foreground as well as the mountains in the background in focus. However, if you bring the subject matter further forward, sat a boat in a marina... the boat would be in focus, but the mountains in the background wouldn't be i.e. the depth of field is reducing. Taking this another stage - if you take a portrait photo, then you need to ensure the face is in focus - and you will probably notice that anything in front of the face and behind the face is out of focus - i.e. even less depth of field.

    The depth of field reduces as one gets closer to the subject. So if you are attempting to take a pic of a pencils writing, this is very close and so the actual amount of "in focus area" is significantly small.

    Make sense...?

    Take a look at this pic;


    ... it looks as though there is about 3 lines - say 2cm - of the picture actually in focus. So the depth of field is 2cm, starting at around 10cm from the lens and running for 2cm.

  5. Di

    Di Active Member

    Gosh that's a bit deep (pardon the pun) for this time of night! But thanks John. :) I seem to have successful pics all taken and clipped and web ready. Just waiting for a couple more items. :)