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Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-12-2010, 12:53 PM Reply   
Some friends of mine have a 5-axis C&C machine, applied and received their class 7 FFL which pretty much they can build anything except for destructive/explosive devices. They started producing full AR-15's from the lowers, hand guards, uppers, et al..They asked if I would do their pictures for them since I'm into photography... I'm into Astrophotography, not product photography, but figured it might be good experience.

Feedback? Don't be afraid to be brutal if you need to.
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Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-12-2010, 12:54 PM Reply   
Oh yeah, the optic on the first two pic has some weird reflections I'm not sure what I'm going to do with yet, so if you have any suggestions.
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       10-12-2010, 6:56 PM Reply   
They look good to me Barry. What lens and what was your lighting set up?
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-12-2010, 7:57 PM Reply   
Thanks! I'm glad I finally got some feedback.. I was beginning to think something was wrong and nobody wanted to hurt my feelings.

I used a 70-200 2.8 in some and a 28-70 2.8 in others(can't remember which is which).
I used 2 85 watt corrected 5500K CFL's in soft boxes. 2 35 watt 5500K CFL's in soft boxes and 3 20 watt 2600k for fillers.

Is there something you would suggest to make them better?
Old     (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       10-12-2010, 8:53 PM Reply   
Barry, I'm not really a lighting guy, Riley or Rob VLX are the guys to talk to. Maybe they will weigh in. They look fine to me, very nice.
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       10-13-2010, 9:02 AM Reply   
I think they look great !
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-13-2010, 9:44 AM Reply   
I *think* these are the finals:
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Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       10-13-2010, 11:47 AM Reply   
I think the pics are very, very well done. The lighting looks great I think. I am not big into product photography either but would have started with two small Elinchrom Softboxes- one on each end of the gun and shot around f16 or so. I think the pics look very professional and the black background was a good choice. Was that the actual background or was it changed later? The first two pics make me think the black was added later.

On the 3rd pic I'd probably tweak the reflection on top of the site in PS.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-13-2010, 12:32 PM Reply   
Excellent! Thanks for the feedback..

Rob, they were taken on a white background and the black was added later. The soft box positioning was pretty much exactly how I did it, but found that there were too many dark/shadowed areas so I started adding lights until I got what I wanted .
They were stoked with the shots and I had to stop them from cutting me a check.. I had to remind them that we're horse trading...The funny thing I really don't think I know what i'm doing. I was up until 2am watching PS tutorials on how to smart mask..pathetic.
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       10-14-2010, 7:10 AM Reply   
Barry, I meant to ask, what do you mean by corrected? Do you mean setting the camera WB manually to 5500? When I hear corrected I think placing a 1/4 CTO gel on a strobe while shooting outside to match the ambient daylight or using a green gel to match fluorescent lights. Just curious. I am a big fan of using gels for various cool effects and don't do much traditional correction.
Old     (pierce_bronkite)      Join Date: Jul 2003       10-14-2010, 7:51 AM Reply   
Im not a photographer in anyway but do work in the creative field. The first two shots in (in you most recent post) I can't get past the fact that I see the "white matting" around the magazine and the forward grip. This is a result of the white reflection off your background which is then magnified on a dark background. I bet if you had these on a white background you wouldnt even notice it. Anyway, my suggestion would be to lighten up the white matting or "halo". There are several ways to do this, by either using a brush with different overlay methods or you can try using this remove white matte method. This can be found in Layer > Matting > Remove white matte (depending on your PS version). This method maybe too much so it may not work. In my experience I would use a brush with the same color as the surrounding area and slightly mute the halo effect.

However, the last three shots look legit. The last one looks really good as if it where shot on a black back drop. Overall they are really great just thought I would throw my opinion in there.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-14-2010, 11:42 AM Reply   
If you're referring to the lights.. I have no idea what that means. The box the bulbs come in made mention of it when describing the temperature/type of light. When my buddy who was with me scoffed at the price of the bulbs when they were scanned the salesmen also made mentioned of the fact they were corrected is what contributed to the cost.

I told you I don't know what I'm doing and basically I am a mocking bird when describing the lights because I thought it had some significant meaning.

Pierce.. Thanks! I submitted them to the guys already, so fixing anything at this point would be for my benefit. I now see what you're talking about. I might try it just for practice.
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       10-14-2010, 12:34 PM Reply   
Cool... 5500K is the color temperature of sunlight whereas normal bulbs will be lower (3200/4000). I guess the bulbs you bought were set at 5500 which only would have significance if you were using them in conjunction with ambient sunlight and wanted balanced light (you could always overpower the sun with a flash and pay no attention to the ambient light). Otherwise, you could just set your cameras WB to match the bulbs and the pics would look the same.

I think you did a hell of a job with the pics man. Keep it up.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-14-2010, 1:32 PM Reply   
I tried doing a quick bit of research and wasn't able to find anything definitive, so I called the place I purchased them and asked. They said that corrected means they produce a constant light with no flickering as standard lighting does. The temperature will not change since there is no flickering. He was quick to answer so I don't think he was making it up.

Thanks for the kind words..they have a lot of work for me and I'm really trying hard to give them something exceptional. I'm sort of learning as I go with product photography and it's not very easy. They handed me two pieces of shiny aluminum, one partially CNC'd into a lower and one that was completed and they wanted them bedded on aluminum shavings... It took me 6 hours to get it right because no matter how I had the lights, something on the multifaceted block would blow out. It was basically like standing in a room full of mirrors trying to get a clean shot.
I actually ended up using two very small LED lights in a completely dark room and exposing the shot for eons. Any suggestions on that type of shot? I'd love to retake it as I'm not completely satisfied with it.
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-14-2010, 9:57 PM Reply   
Overall it is very good. But I agree with Matt. There is something going on with the forearm grip and magazine that is producing that white halo. Because of that it screams to me PHOTOSHOPPED!!!!. But overall they are pretty good.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-15-2010, 1:20 AM Reply   
Pixel by pixel.. is that any better, Mr. P...?

Didn't do the magazine, just the forward grip to see if that worked out okay..
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Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       10-15-2010, 4:57 AM Reply   
Producing great shots of AR15s is tough! I believe the key is in the lighting so I'm sure Rob can help you there and then photoshop to tone down the reflections and possibly smooth out the inherent sharpness you get when shooting these (no pun intended). I've attached some images of LaRue's stuff which I think is as good a set of images as I've seen. There's a guy who calls himself Stickman posting on who's pretty good as well and seems to offer advice photography wise occasionally. Your's aren't bad IMHO but I think you could be a little more creative with your composition.
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Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-15-2010, 7:04 AM Reply   
It looks better but there is still something about it that doesn't look right. To be honest, when I first saw the image, I thought it was a CAD drawing of an AR-15. It's just so clean. And that is really hard to achieve in photography. But looking at it compared to the LaRue stuff, yours is lacking shadows. It's the Shadows that give it definition and makes it look more dramatic.

With that being said, I have no clue how to achieve that look. But definitely use a background that you don't have to clone out in post. The white background gave you backlighting that wiped out your shadows - and that gave it the effect of almost looking unreal.

But the most important part is the clients loved it. So you did something right.
Old     (pierce_bronkite)      Join Date: Jul 2003       10-15-2010, 9:29 AM Reply   
Ya Barry that's much better!

I agree with AP. It's the shadows that make it look more realistic and dont scream "Photoshop". Anyway as long as the client is happy that is what matters most.

Looking at all these rifles makes me want to go shoot!
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-15-2010, 10:24 AM Reply   
I'm completely with you guys, actually.. They wanted sterile/informational images only with white backgrounds.The white muted the colors, so they agreed on black. I tried providing some artsy images like the LaRue shots first and they asked me keep it very simple. I did exactly what they asked.

Mr. P, I promise you I took those shots. While I did use Photoshop to background and enhance the image, they are not computer generated images. In a weird way it's kind of neat that you think they are..

Thanks for the feedback, folks.. I really appreciate it.
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       10-15-2010, 6:05 PM Reply   
I will get into the safe this weekend and try some gun shots. This thread has inspired me. Stand-by for pics!!!
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-15-2010, 10:02 PM Reply   
Let's see the "La Rue" type shots
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-17-2010, 1:20 AM Reply   
It's busy and I think the lighting could be better..
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Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-17-2010, 9:13 PM Reply   
It's a little too busy. But you are also lacking a focal point. Wide angle lens may work better here. But notice how in the LaRue stuff the shot is tighter but their focal point seems to be the forearm grip. I'm more drawn to what is ever on the fiberglass helmet as opposed to the gun.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-17-2010, 10:38 PM Reply   
The La Rue shot is tighter and they have the width of capture the whole AR from atop. I'm dying for the 16-35 II, but it's pretty much pointless until I dump the APS-C and go FF.

Here's what I'm working with as far as lenses:
70-200 2.8
28-70 2.8
50 1.4
10-22 EF-S -wide, but lacks sharpness.

I'm just not good at this, I think. I appreciate the feedback, A.
Old     (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       10-18-2010, 5:43 AM Reply   
Looking good... I didn't have time to do any gun shots yet. I own the 16-35 2.8 and love it. However, I'd think about the 17-40 at 1/2 the price also. It is just as sharp. You may want the 16-35 just so your main kit would all be 2.8 glass like I did. But, I almost never use that lens at 2.8. For landscape stuff I am always in the f16-f22 range and for wide angle portraits and stuff I use flash so I am anywhere from f5.6 to f11. For low light indoor stuff without flash I opt for the 50 f1.4 or the 85 f1.8 over the 16-35.
Old     (bmr82)      Join Date: Jul 2008       10-18-2010, 6:12 AM Reply   
Broke weapon safety rule. Always keep the weapon on safe until you are ready to fire. Jeeze louiiiz. lol
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-18-2010, 10:17 AM Reply   
Examining the photos more. LaRue is using the basic rule of photography of diagonal lines. But they are using top left to bottom right. You use diagonal lines too but you are going the opposite way and the top left to bottom right is the stronger angle. You will argue that the first two LaRue photos have the same gun angle but the forearm grip and mag are still strong focal points and bring that left to right angle back into a dominating angle for the photo.

The 10-22 isn't sharp even in the higher apertures? Lenses tend to get clear at around f/8. Your lighting is still also a little flat. Looks like it is dominating from the upper right. It would be more dramatic if the lighting was lower and the safety switch, magazine release, brass deflector, etc.. were casting shadows on the frame.
Old     (dakid)      Join Date: Feb 2001       10-19-2010, 1:52 PM Reply   
screw larue. you need to do shots like this.
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Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-19-2010, 4:52 PM Reply   
Seems like it is out of focus in the middle
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       10-19-2010, 9:09 PM Reply   
I think Joe's example is demonstrating an even more basic rule of good photography: place a naked chick in your shots whenever possible!
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       10-19-2010, 9:12 PM Reply   
Horrible usage of the rule of thirds. Feels very P&S IMO.


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