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Thread: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

  1. #1
    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    Long story short, workman mistook steam vac for regular vacuum cleaner and dragged it across hardwood floor scouring varnish finish. I am wanting to have it repaired pronto so as to put whole sorry affair behind me as soon as possible, but feel I should document the damage in case workman gives me trouble about the deduction from his invoice.
    Any tips on shooting a varnished floor for this purpose? Room has south and west facing windows. I probably should be able to figure this out myself, but I am feeling a little stressed. In fact, one of Rob's bent forks neatly captured my mood last night.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    I'd suggest fairly low placed light, so you get good contrast to show mechanical damage. The idea is to have the light perpendicular to the damage, so you get shadows showing the damage.So, if the damage is is mostly N/S scoring, wait for the west facing window to catch the sun, E/W damage, south window, or off-camera flash or other lamp if you have to shoot e.g. in the evening.
    If you got white spots in the varnish, a vertical shot should work, there the direction of the light is probably a bit less important.

    Most of the pitfalls you'll see in the viewfinder, but be careful about reflection of your light source or the window in the floor.

    Finally, best would be to take an empty card and put it aside once you have taken the photos, and shooting in RAW format (depending on how far you want to take this...): original captures on a memory card are rather stronger proof than processed files from a hard disk... Also, try and include something that shows it's your floor you are shooting.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with the workman,

    Remco

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    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    All very helpful, Remco. I never would have even dreamed of the last two points, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    Only other thought, Janis, is to consider whether being able to identify size is going to be important. If so, lay something of a known length inside the picture; i.e. a ruler, or anything that people can use a reference point to judge size.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    Hi Janis,

    Sorry to hear that

    ... in addition to the excellent advice above ...

    Depending upon light angles and the exact nature of the damage, a polarising filter may enhance or hide the damage - obviously don't use one if it makes it look better

    But keep some shots taken 'without' as well.

    Think twice before attempting any cleaning or repair yourself, juuuust in case it makes it worse - they'll obviously only be liable to damage they caused.

    Good luck,

  6. #6
    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    Also a good idea. The damage is to the whole room, so I am thinking one shot of the entire floor and then a series of shots that could be overlapped to show the extent of the damage. I can see this starting to turn into a real learning opportunity: managing direct light, shadow and reflection, making use of the panoramic base on my tripod... Maybe I will pick up a nodal rail and turn dross, for lack of a better non-expletive, into gold. Thank you, Donald.

  7. #7
    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for shooting a hardwood floor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    a polarising filter
    Another learning opportunity! I don't actually have one, but it might be a good time to pick one up and see what it does. You guys are making me feel better already. Virtual kisses all around.

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