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Professional Photography?

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Jay103
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Probably not the right forum but I have no idea where else to ask this.

Anyone here have a photography background? I need to take a pro-level picture of the game for the back of my box. Options seem to be:

1) Find someone local to hire
2) Do it myself with an iPhone 8 camera.

For 2, there's no shortage of cloudy days, so I probably have the lighting covered, but if there's anyone who can tell me why I shouldn't do this myself, or any other tips, including tips on hiring someone for a single photo.. much appreciated.

Tim Edwards
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I'm not a professional

I'm not a professional photographer, but I have a degree in photomedia and my (for what it's worth) opinion is:

A single photo of a game - do it yourself. I got my degree just before the digital era fully flourished and I reckon that these days with the filtering, cropping, etc available, you'll be able to make a image of sufficient quality not to merit paying someone else to do it.

If it were a different kind of photo, I might take a different view.

If you post your pic here afterwards, I'll happily make suggestions on what little things might make it better - if I can find any! :)

Jay103
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Tim Edwards wrote:I'm not a

Tim Edwards wrote:
I'm not a professional photographer, but I have a degree in photomedia and my (for what it's worth) opinion is:

A single photo of a game - do it yourself. I got my degree just before the digital era fully flourished and I reckon that these days with the filtering, cropping, etc available, you'll be able to make a image of sufficient quality not to merit paying someone else to do it.

If it were a different kind of photo, I might take a different view.

If you post your pic here afterwards, I'll happily make suggestions on what little things might make it better - if I can find any! :)


Thanks! I think I was coming to that conclusion myself.. I could find someone local, but just the setup time would make it too expensive to be worthwhile.

The phone's camera is 12MP, so close enough for what I need, as long as I get the pic really stable.

I have Photoshop.. but I'm not a photo editor so I wouldn't really know what do to with it for this :)

questccg
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I just did some of my OWN pictures...

For what it's worth... Having a 4 or 12 MP camera is not the issue. The issue is how STABLE you are at taking the picture. You cell phone is not on a tripod and will require you to take MULTIPLE pictures of the SAME object.

And why do I know this? Because I just did "unboxing" photos of my prototype. See this link:

https://www.bgdf.com/blog/tradeworlds-beefy-little-box#comment-98749

We spent the better part of an HOUR taking pictures with a 4 MP camera and then a 10 MP Cell Phone. The Cell's pictures were clearer and the camera was the most "blurry" picture of the bunch.

So yes, the extra resolution HELPS, but having a very STEADY hand is even more important.

If you can live with the result of "unprofessional" pictures then go ahead and give it a try. You may be better than me and my cousin at produce pictures that are less "blurry" and subject to lighting.

Of course if you are NOT happy with them (could be...) I personally think the "unboxing" shots look unprofessional. And I know the difference between what a Professional Photographer can do and what we did.

I didn't need PRO images, it was just for BGDF members.

Now IF I needed a box shot for promotional purposes, well then maybe I would hire a photographer or go to a studio. Why? Because I know the difference.

And lastly... since it seems like you are an amateur when it comes to photography... No way is it going to take only 1 picture. I think we did about 40 pictures for 4 shots... And even then I wasn't exactly happy with the end-results (especially shot #4). A PRO will do the same, he will take MULTIPLE shots of the same thing and then choose the best ones he likes and then you can select out of his choices which one you prefer.

So it's never 1 Picture. Some of the stupid things are like "lighting" from windows and reflections from the ceiling on counter tops, etc. All kinds of stuff that reflect in a picture when you're not a pro...

But you go ahead and try it... See if it takes 1 Picture. I know from experience all the box shots EXCEPT #2 were without a flash. For some reason #2 looked better with the flash... That after taking multiple shots and comparing to see what seemed the most "crisp/sharp".

Maybe you're not a sensitive as I am... I'm sure a PRO would have taken much better photos than we did.

Just my $0.05... Cheers!

Tim Edwards
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Jay103 wrote:Tim Edwards

Jay103 wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:
I'm not a professional photographer, but I have a degree in photomedia and my (for what it's worth) opinion is:

A single photo of a game - do it yourself. I got my degree just before the digital era fully flourished and I reckon that these days with the filtering, cropping, etc available, you'll be able to make a image of sufficient quality not to merit paying someone else to do it.

If it were a different kind of photo, I might take a different view.

If you post your pic here afterwards, I'll happily make suggestions on what little things might make it better - if I can find any! :)


Thanks! I think I was coming to that conclusion myself.. I could find someone local, but just the setup time would make it too expensive to be worthwhile.

The phone's camera is 12MP, so close enough for what I need, as long as I get the pic really stable.

I have Photoshop.. but I'm not a photo editor so I wouldn't really know what do to with it for this :)

Throw lots of light at it. That will help with stability and depth of field (the camera will worry about that. You don't have to...) Avoid dodgy glare and reflections by diffusing the light by sticking something translucent in front of the lamps so you don't get light shooting directly from the bulb to the game. Come to that, bouncing the light off a white wall also works.

If you were prepared to part with a small sum, hiring a couple of photography lamps would probably pay off. I can't remember the sizes I used...the small ones were possibly 100 watts or so.

I wouldn't try to do anything jazzy with photoshop. Just fiddle with colour balances, brightness and contrasts until it looks nice. (You'll probably do that for hours - because it's fun - and then realise that the effect you finally settle on is...the original.)

Jay103
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I talked to an experienced

I talked to an experienced non-pro photographer here at work.

He said stability was very important, but moreso having a lot of light is very important (because the shutter speed is faster with more light).

Also confirmed that the "megapixels" on digital cameras are effectively interpolated up in 2x2 blocks (google "Bayer filter"), so 12MP is actually 3MP of source data. But I've got what I've got.

I think the image will take up half the box (maybe), which is about 3000x1500 pixels. I haven't totally worked out the layout yet :). Basically if I can get a nice stable shot I think I'll be fine.

I think the layout will be vaguely like this, except my box is 10.5 high and 11.5 wide.

https://webzoom.freewebs.com/tolkienboardgamecollecting/FOTRRoseArtBox2.jpg

Tim Edwards
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Jay103 wrote:I talked to an

Jay103 wrote:
I talked to an experienced non-pro photographer here at work.

He said stability was very important, but moreso having a lot of light is very important (because the shutter speed is faster with more light).

Also confirmed that the "megapixels" on digital cameras are effectively interpolated up in 2x2 blocks (google "Bayer filter"), so 12MP is actually 3MP of source data. But I've got what I've got.

I think the image will take up half the box (maybe), which is about 3000x1500 pixels. I haven't totally worked out the layout yet :). Basically if I can get a nice stable shot I think I'll be fine.

I think the layout will be vaguely like this, except my box is 10.5 high and 11.5 wide.

https://webzoom.freewebs.com/tolkienboardgamecollecting/FOTRRoseArtBox2.jpg

Your colleague is quite right. Two things happen with lots of light: fast shutter speed (less chance of motion blur) and smaller aperture (better depth of field - all your game will be in focus.)

2 light sources at 2 different angles will help with unsightly shadows...just move them around and see what works. Don't be afraid to try weird angles. Sometimes putting the second lamp behind the subject works. It kind of helps with keeping things looking 3D.)

This subject is making me miss photography! :)

(I think 250 watts was nearer the mark for the lamps now I think of it.)

Jay103
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Tim Edwards wrote: (I think

Tim Edwards wrote:

(I think 250 watts was nearer the mark for the lamps now I think of it.)

People still use watts for describing light output? :)

Tim Edwards
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Jay103 wrote:Tim Edwards

Jay103 wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:

(I think 250 watts was nearer the mark for the lamps now I think of it.)

People still use watts for describing light output? :)

We do in the UK. :)

I dunno how many candles it's the equivalent to!

jonathanflike
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Ex Photographer here :)

I used to run a photography studio before I went back to school for biochemistry. Yeah do it yourself, I'm not sure where you are taking the picture, but something like this https://www.amazon.com/XPRO-inchx36-Studio-Photography-Light/dp/B000BFYXGG will give you the light bounce you need. Then you just need to pout light on it and snap away. The images don't have to be perfect, you can edit a lot in Photoshop. If you're extracting your photos from the white background, the more white the better. If you want to post your images when you're done or send me a message, I can take a look at them and make some minor light adjustments if needed. Just let me know.

Jay103
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jonathanflike wrote:I used to

jonathanflike wrote:
I used to run a photography studio before I went back to school for biochemistry. Yeah do it yourself, I'm not sure where you are taking the picture, but something like this https://www.amazon.com/XPRO-inchx36-Studio-Photography-Light/dp/B000BFYXGG will give you the light bounce you need. Then you just need to pout light on it and snap away. The images don't have to be perfect, you can edit a lot in Photoshop. If you're extracting your photos from the white background, the more white the better. If you want to post your images when you're done or send me a message, I can take a look at them and make some minor light adjustments if needed. Just let me know.

Thanks.. I'm probably taking a single shot on a tabletop and then maybe blending out the background beyond the table (cropping or fading into a wood-like brown, etc) Might fit in a dome, but also my wife will think I'm insane if I buy that.. I'm going to look around and see if we have any cloudy-day illuminators sitting around at work.

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