Hornpipe2 Posted October 14, 2009 Share Posted October 14, 2009 (edited) I love love love seeing pictures of people's game rooms on here, but as many of you know, the pictures often don't do justice to the room itself. We've spent so long putting everything in its place and building up a nice collection, so it would be great to let your pics show the detail you've invested. The good and bad news is, it's not your camera - it's you! At the little 640x480 shots of a still-life in a room we post here, your camera is fine. Bad news because you can't just buy a new camera and get better shots... and I know how much we all love new toys. You'll just take the exact same shots with a newer piece of gear. Good news because you can fix some of those problems right now! So here are three simple tips anyone can apply to get better looking photos now. I'm a hobby photographer and I've found that with just a slight change in methodology, the quality of your photos will improve drastically. Try it next time and just see what you think. In fact, these are widely applicable to any photos you shoot, but it's especially helpful for when you have a lot of time to set things up - like, say, pictures of a gameroom! 1. Ditch the flash. Find out how to disable the flash on your camera NOW. For all we care you may as well stick a piece of black tape over the darn thing. On-camera flash (not the external kind you stick in the hotshoe on top) suffers from two big problems - #1 it's very weak, failing to illuminate anything more than about 4 feet in front of your camera, and #2 it shoots in the same line as your lens looks, which means all your objects look super flat (with those garish "dark wall shadows" behind everything). We don't walk around with head lamps on all day, so we're not used to seeing things being lit from that angle. The end result is that stuff close to the lens gets full-blown white shininess, while things further away end up not being lit at all, and turn out dark dark black when the camera attempts to compensate for your poor setup choices. One great way to illustrate people's obsession with the dinky flash attached to their camera is to go to a concert and watch the crowd. People who are hundreds of feet away from the stage still fire away with the flash perhaps hoping the light will reach the band. Not a chance. Enjoy your brightly-lit images of the backs of people's heads : ) "But it's too dark to take pictures without flash!" Then put some more lights in! Open window shades, and turn on overhead lights and lamps. Seriously, why use that little 1 inch square strobe to light your whole room? (If things are still too dark, you will want to take your camera out of Full Auto Mode and get the shutter to stay open longer, letting more light in. This is a slightly more advanced topic and could take some experimentation, but I'll elaborate if you want.) 2. Put the camera on a tripod. "My photo is blurry" is 99% of the time NOT a focusing problem, it's a problem of "camera shake"! Even if you think your hands are rock solid, you'd be amazed at how much they move in the time it takes to snap a photo - especially indoors, where the shutter must stay open much longer to compensate for the reduced light. If you don't have a tripod, bum one off a friend - or just set the camera on a solid surface. Then turn on the self-timer, press button, and wait. That way the act of pressing the button doesn't disturb the camera. Bingo, instantly sharp photos. Here's an area where a cell phone camera might let you down, as many don't offer self-timers or tripod mounts. I'm sure you could rig something with rubber bands or whatever if that is all you have to work with. 3. Fill the frame. Your subject is the SNES and games on the shelf, right? Then why are you standing 10 feet away from it? Get close. Put your camera into "macro mode" and get closer. Zoom (but never digital zoom). Check the viewfinder not just for your subject but also what's around it, and make sure you're not accidentally getting your dirty socks in the corner of the frame. Hope that helps. I'd be glad to contribute more later, but this should help people correct the initial problems with their photos. ETA: This was fun to write up. I may try making a short video later just for fun (same info). Then someone can come tell me how to make better videos! Edited October 15, 2009 by Hornpipe2 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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