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Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Troubleshooting » Archive through February 01, 2008 » How To Get Good Digital Pix Of Your Alembic? « Previous Next »

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Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 2110
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 11:11 am:   Edit Post

Question for Mica and/or those of you who have successfully posted pix here of your Alembic (and non-Alembic) axes:

How'd you get a good shot?

I'm trying to document my stuff for insurance purposes, but I wouldn't mind posting pix here (and elsewhere) as long as they turn out good.

What's the secret to the great pix, Mica?


Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2293
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 11:33 am:   Edit Post


In these days of digital photography, I find the secret to good pictures is as simple as takes lots of them. Try different settings, with/without flash, different lighting, indoors/outdoors, any variable you can think of. Just take lots. Then dump 'em all onto the computer and pick out the best ones. I dare you to take 100 bad pictures in a row! By pure dumb luck anyone is bound to get some good ones if you take enough.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 1118
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post

(Message edited by keavin on April 10, 2007)
Username: mica

Post Number: 4405
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 12:17 pm:   Edit Post

This is not a tutorial, but rather some things that I learned after taking thousands of pictures of guitars.

The first thing is that I don't usually use the flash. It's better to get a slightly underexposed picture that you can bring up the levels in Photoshop or similar than an overexposed can't-see-anything shot.

The seond thing, and equally important is reduction of motion blur (especially if you're not using a flash). A monopod is much easier to use than a tripod. The monopod and head I use are both made by Manfrotto in Italy. Do not cheap out on this part. I bought them at Shutterbug on Santa Rosa Ave.
Manfrotto monpod 684B (I think around $79)
Manfrotto ball head 486RC2 (I think around $89)

This is a photo before monopod. You can see the motion blur pretty good.

Here's one of a very similar guitar after the monopod. Even the littlest string looks very sharp!

The third thing is to take lots and lots of photos. If you look at the photos in the Features Customs, you'll notice I don't always take them at exactly the same angle. I look at the specular highlight (shiny reflection) and move the camera until it looks good and defines the shape.

The Camera I love is Sony F717. I bought two used ones on ebay recently. They are only 5 mega pixel resolution, but the lens is awesome. I'd rather have a great lens than than a high res picture with chromatic aberration.

On ebay you have to search for Sony F717 - if you leave off the "F" you won't find the camera! There's lots of accessories for the camera too, many of them are not offical Sony products.

I also got a ring light - it's awesome for closeups without shadows!

I also recommend these two products for downloading and organizing you photos automatically. Keep in mind I have over 30,000 images to sort through, so I need a tool like this:

Breeze Broswer Pro - it is great for sorting, and it even automates web galleries of photos. I don't use that feature, but it is very cool

Breeze Downloader Pro - put the memory stick in your card reader, and the program automatically launches, one click and your files are dowloaded to your computer. I have the program automatically create directories sorted by year-month (like 2007-03 for March 2007) and all the photos get dumped in the right place. You can also rename the photos as they are downloaded, like with the insurance policy number or serial number. It's nifty!

Both of these products are worth much more than Chris Breeze charges for them.
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 1450
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 12:36 pm:   Edit Post

some one needs to remove the expletives
this is a pg site
Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 508
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 1:00 pm:   Edit Post

I agree that it clashes with our civilized rules of engagement.
Username: mica

Post Number: 4407
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 1:44 pm:   Edit Post

I've ammended the profanity checker to catch this variation. You shouldn't see it again.
Advanced Member
Username: lidon2001

Post Number: 296
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 2:24 pm:   Edit Post

This might be of some help:

BunnyBass Pic Advice
Intermediate Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 148
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Monday, April 09, 2007 - 5:22 pm:   Edit Post

You can use the timer too, in conjunction with a tripod (or monopod - gonna have to check that out!) - especially helpful when not using flash.
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 2111
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 5:17 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, everyone.

I thought that this subject had been broached here before, but I couldn't find it.


Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1167
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 8:27 am:   Edit Post

OK, but how do you get the file size down to where you can post them here or most places? In the camera or in the computer?

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: bracheen

Post Number: 1198
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 8:49 am:   Edit Post

That's a great question Joey. I usually crop until it's the right size but there has to be a better method.

Senior Member
Username: fc_spoiler

Post Number: 465
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 9:04 am:   Edit Post

In MS Photo editor (MS Office) you can set the "JPEG quality" when you save a picture as .jpg
Works fine for me...

Cute little kitten jpg, 144 kb:

Cute little kitten jpg at 76% jpeg quality, 30,3 kb:
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1403
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 9:04 am:   Edit Post

On the computer, open the picture file. This will hopefully start the appropriate program ...

First step is to resize the picture to 50%.

Next go to Save As ... Here you select a different file name, the JPG format, and on the "advanced settings" compress to about 70 percent. After concluding the save, check the size of the new file.

If still too large, start again with the original file, resize to 50%, Save As ... with again a different file name, JPG format, and compress to less than 70%.
Intermediate Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 105
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post

As a professional photographer of over 30 years experiance, I have to say here that Mica takes great photos!
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4967
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 4:46 pm:   Edit Post

Hey! There's a picture of a cute little kitten!
Username: jahnahisti

Post Number: 57
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 - 12:55 am:   Edit Post

I use paint shop pro to downsize pictures quickly and easily. It is far easier than photoshop, which I use for other purposes. In paint shop pro, you can just choose, image-resize... and then downgrade it by percentage, or pixel number. Then I usually just make them 600 pixels for posting and save the original for displaying if somebody clicks on the 600 pixel version.
Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 616
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2007 - 9:50 am:   Edit Post

I simply use the 'save for web' option in Adobe Photoshop CS2. You can vary the quality/resolution and/or the measurements of your picture very easily, and you can see the file size change while you do, before having to save anything.

And as the pictures of my new Orion in the Showcase section prove, I still prefer to take bass pictures outside, specifically in the early evening of a bright sunny day, sometimes with, but most of the time without using the flash.

Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 666
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 12:27 am:   Edit Post

Update: a new and better digital camera makes all the difference. Since last week I've got a Canon PowerShot A710 IS, not expensive at all, and it's great for bass photography! Image stabiliser, a very functional macro setting and 6x optical zoom!

Highly recommended!


(Message edited by the_mule on May 20, 2007)

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