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Thread: Tips For Photographing Guitar

  1. #1

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    Tips For Photographing Guitar

    One of my oldest son's most beloved things is his Ernie Ball Music Man Guitar. Max is away at school and did not take this guitar with him. He misses it. I am wanting to take a pic of it and either print it larger or have it printed on a canvas for his dorm room at school

    I must've taken 50 pics of it today and didn't like any of them. The guitar is a beautiful navyish/electric blue. I laid it on our coffee table which is distressed whitish boards. The room has a lot of natural light coming from all but one side and with 3ft of snow outside the lighting is great.

    I was on my knees, focusing on the fret bar, down the neck so the body and fret bar would be in most focus. I was on aperture priority at f28 and then fiddled around from there. The pic just seemed flat.

    Any tips on photographing it?

  2. #2

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    It might be easier for us to coment if you sent a few of your best effort. In this way, we can see the light and background.

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    It might be easier for us to coment if you sent a few of your best effort. In this way, we can see the light and background.
    Ummm.... since I didn't like any of them... I deleted them... not the best thing to do huh? I'll take some more tomorrow and post... for advice.

  4. #4

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    We'll be waiting

    Thought of the moment ... have you considered "Googling" for guitar images to get some ideas?

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    This is not my image, Mary. I saw this on a website that showed some Ernie Ball guitars. Thought that you might probably get some idea from this shot as what Colin suggested.

    Tips For Photographing Guitar

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    That's what I really like about you, Jiro...you can always find just the right thing to say or show. No one ever walks away from a comment unpleased. Great find. I am sure Mary will learn a great deal from this ad.

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    That's what I really like about you, Jiro...you can always find just the right thing to say or show. No one ever walks away from a comment unpleased. Great find. I am sure Mary will learn a great deal from this ad.

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Hi Mary,

    I also did some shots of my guitar and found that it's difficult to make an interesting image when placing the entire guitar in the frame. Jiro's post shows how you could do it when going for the entire guitar, but still aim for some interesting details. It might help if you think first about what you (or your son) would find interesting about the guitar and than aim for that in your composition.

    For example this is what I did:
    Tips For Photographing Guitar

    About the lighting: I don't know the exact guitar you're talking about, but if your son's guitar has a very shiny finish you might struggle with unwanted reflections. An soft even lighting would help. If you have one, a circular polarising filter would help you cope with the reflections.

    Like Colin suggested, you get enough inspiration if you search on google for "Guitar Photography" or something like that.

  9. #9

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    We'll be waiting

    Thought of the moment ... have you considered "Googling" for guitar images to get some ideas?
    Yes, I did. Thanks.

  10. #10

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    This is not my image, Mary. I saw this on a website that showed some Ernie Ball guitars. Thought that you might probably get some idea from this shot as what Colin suggested.

    Tips For Photographing Guitar
    Thanks, Jiro. I think the background is the biggest problem... That is a great pic.

  11. #11

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by JK6065 View Post
    Hi Mary,

    I also did some shots of my guitar and found that it's difficult to make an interesting image when placing the entire guitar in the frame. Jiro's post shows how you could do it when going for the entire guitar, but still aim for some interesting details. It might help if you think first about what you (or your son) would find interesting about the guitar and than aim for that in your composition.

    For example this is what I did:
    Tips For Photographing Guitar

    About the lighting: I don't know the exact guitar you're talking about, but if your son's guitar has a very shiny finish you might struggle with unwanted reflections. An soft even lighting would help. If you have one, a circular polarising filter would help you cope with the reflections.

    Like Colin suggested, you get enough inspiration if you search on google for "Guitar Photography" or something like that.
    Yes, the guitar has a shiny finish, so I was getting reflection. I don't have a polarising filter for this lens... I'll pop by our little tiny Ritz and see if they stock one. That is a great pic!

  12. #12
    rob marshall

    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Mary

    You could try stacking the shots after manually focusing multiple shots. Do you use Photoshop? What version? That way you would get more of the instrument in focus on a long shot such as the one Jiro posted.

  13. #13
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Did a shoot for my brother-in-law a while back and shot his Taylor while I was at it.

    One light to the front and right and another light to the rear and left. Shot with a AF-S 16-85mm at about 70mm though I should have use a longer lens to knock the background out a bit more. If you have any sort of portable lights in the house - uplighters/angle poise etc you could wait until night and have a play with them. Look for soft light at the front and a harder light to catch the edge.

    Tips For Photographing Guitar

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    Tips For Photographing Guitar

  14. #14
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    Yes, the guitar has a shiny finish, so I was getting reflection. I don't have a polarising filter for this lens... I'll pop by our little tiny Ritz and see if they stock one. That is a great pic!
    Reflection is one of the biggest problems when photographing the guitar. A studio setup like Robin is using would help with that, but we don't all have that kind of space, do we?
    I tried my hand at a number of guitars and picking out a segment of the guitar instead of going for the whole seems to produce the most interesting results visually.

  15. #15

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Mary

    You could try stacking the shots after manually focusing multiple shots. Do you use Photoshop? What version? That way you would get more of the instrument in focus on a long shot such as the one Jiro posted.
    I have no idea what 'stacking' is. I have PS CS 5 ( just a trial version for a few more days) and PSE 7.

  16. #16

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Thanks for all the advice. Yesterday was so cloudy and snowy out and today looks the same. I don't have any portable lights so, natural light is the best it's going to get.

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    I have no idea what 'stacking' is. I have PS CS 5 ( just a trial version for a few more days) and PSE 7.
    Have a look here (from CiC's tutorial & techniques section, thanks again Sean ). One-line explanation: the problem: only a 'slice' of the object is in focus; solution: take a series of pictures with the in-focus 'slice' moving through the subject, from each picture use only the part in focus and combine the parts to get a full image.

    The technique sounds easy enough, I'm going to give it a try soon (lots to master, with a new macro lens, new flash, new techniques...). I'll probably meet the difficulties then...

    Remco

  18. #18
    rob marshall

    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    I have no idea what 'stacking' is. I have PS CS 5 ( just a trial version for a few more days) and PSE 7.
    If you have CS5, it is very easy. here is what i do for processing after I have taken the images. Gossamer Revisited: My first macro shots

    There is a TAG word for 'focus stacking'. Just go to advanced search and key it in, and it will list all of the threads that relate to it.

  19. #19

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    Re: Tips For Photographing Guitar

    Thanks for the great links!

    I'm making myself crazy. I just can't seem to capture it... at all.

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