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Studio, Portrait, Still Life, Lighting Equipment and Technique Continuous and Strobe Lighting. (The Sun is considered continuous!) Great ideas are really ten a penny! Technique in setting up the subject is, of course, essential. However, the ability to bring out form, texture, tonality and color is where the skill in lighting provides all the keys to engraving one's ideas on the delivered picture.

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  #1  
Old December 28th, 2009, 10:27 AM
Erie Patsellis Erie Patsellis is offline
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Default Am I being too much of an artist/perfectionist????

Background: Third party arranges a location product shoot of a shower enclosure. I arrive, the product is nothing like what I was told, has polished chrome trim on the shower doors, area is filthy, and on and on. I manage to pull off the shoot compositing 4 images with various lighting and alot of work in Lightroom with gradient filters. Crisis averted....While there I also shot some generic product beauty shots (they manufacture custom artificial granite/marble countertops and shower enclosures, this is a new product made from recycled glass), just in case they need any for brochures and such.

Fast Forward two months and I'm working on a layout for a brochure for the same company, using the aforementioned picture. Customer loves layout, but is concerned that the counter is not in focus fully front to back (20" deep counter, shot about 18" away with a 55 Micro-Nikkorat @ f22, not gonna get anymore DOF and I'm already way past the optimum aperture for sharpness). I prefer the look (see attached image below), as the softness behind the text draws your eye to the copy, not the product behind, but it's a hard sell. Using gradient high pass filtering on 2 layers, I've been able to sharpen enough to suit the client, hopefully.








So, put simply, do others here find it an acceptable image? (had I known that I'd be shooting countertops and the like, I'd of used the Sinar and scanback, but short of going back to a box truck for location work, we can't bring everything in the studio can we?)
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Old December 28th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Erie Patsellis Erie Patsellis is offline
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if anyone wants to see the full res version, I have a pdf at www.shelbyvilledesign.com/cover.pdf as well.

erie
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  #3  
Old December 28th, 2009, 11:14 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Erie,

I personally don't find the slight defocus at the backsplash to be at all offensive.

What is curious is that although the logo's baseline is apparently exactly parallel to the backsplash joint, to me it looks rotated a tiny bit counterclockwise.

It's the same kind of subtle visual illusion that causes typeface designers to put the bottom of the bowls of rounded characters below the baseline, or that makes architects slightly rotate (with respect to the street line) a house on a slightly sloping street.

Just for the record (and I in no way mean to even suggest that you should have done this), note that the depth of field dilemma this shot poses is what tilt lenses (or tilting fronts) were designed for.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 11:19 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Erie,

I know the feeling of being taken to a location to shoot and the room is utterly unprepared! You've done a commendable job. Still, the only thing that counts is how the client feels and then whether or not what's being paid is worthwhile for the effort.

Here the first consideration is of time. One can get sucked into prolonged PS work when reshooting might be faster. For focus, if that's what the client wdemands, it's not an artistic consideration. If the counter is available, I'd reshoot with the camera on a tripod, focus bracket and reassemble with a focus stacking software or else I'd rent a T/S lens.

The shadowing of the letters and contrast might be optimized, but perhaps someone else did that?

Asher
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  #5  
Old December 28th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Erie Patsellis Erie Patsellis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Erie,

I know the feeling of being taken to a location to shoot and the room is utterly unprepared! You've done a commendable job. Still, the only thing that counts is how the client feels and then whether or not what's being paid is worthwhile for the effort.

Here the first consideration is of time. One can get sucked into prolonged PS work when reshooting might be faster. For focus, if that's what the client wdemands, it's not an artistic consideration. If the counter is available, I'd reshoot with the camera on a tripod, focus bracket and reassemble with a focus stacking software or else I'd rent a T/S lens.

The shadowing of the letters and contrast might be optimized, but perhaps someone else did that?

Asher
That was the other disturbing part of the job, I had 8 people standing around waiting for me to finish so they can pack it up and load it on the truck. What should have been an hour, tops, turned into the better part of the day.

Rather than a limited tilt/shift lens, the Sinar with the scan back is a better proposition, I already own it and the color accuracy and profiling of the scan back is second to none. At least then I can define the plane of focus quickly and accurately. The client expects that I'm going to reshoot on my dime as well, I'm not sure I want to set that kind of precedent with them, they've already shown that they don't value the work.(see below about the logo) For every one of us that is professional, there's 10 people out there that will shoot it with a DSLR and a speedlight, regardless of what the end result looks like, for $50 in beer money. I've had to reduce my day rate significantly of late, to the point where I'm considering just stopping totally until we move to Eau Claire in the summer. The only thing worse than not having billable hours is having non billable expenses approach your billable rate, making $100 on an all day shoot. Even worse, the concept of IP and copyright is immaterial, if I don't surrender total usage rights in perpetuity (at no additional licensing cost), I won't get the work, plain and simple. This would have been inconceivable to me just a few years ago, I know I'm not alone, may other shooters in the area have the same complaint.

The customer is going to see if they have an order coming up for this color, so I can reshoot. My experience has been that if an image is sharp behind sharply defined lettering, the eye isn't drawn to the text as it is in this image.

The logo is a sore spot for me, I had designed something virtually identical, without the frog, and they didn't like it. (and didn't pay me for it...grrr, win some, lose some, but their pricing from that point forward offsets the 4 hours I wasted, many times over..) The went to a $200 an hour design firm, apparently gave them sketches of everything I had done, and they tweaked a little and charged them for 8 hours work. Funny world isn't it.

The lettering is actually black, but has a 4 color coated profile, when rendering a jpg from a pdf, Acrobat simulates the destination profile.

Part of the problem is geographical, a good paying job here is $9 an hour, nowhere near a living wage (but the business owners still drive Caddilac SUVs and live in 5,000+ sq. ft. homes). There's a massive disconnect between business profitability and employee compensation (i.e. those who are responsible for the aformentioned profit), far more than on the east coast (where I grew up) and other areas I've visited. Some may call it thriftyness, but taken to this extreme, where employees have to rely on second (or third) jobs to make ends meet, and that same attitude extends to vendors, with most now requiring you to carry an invoice for 45-60 days. (this is a more recent development) Don't expect the same from them should you want to buy from them, however. If I hadn't returned to school while retaining some of my clients, I'd be in a world of hurt right now. I've already canceled plans to upgrade equipment this year, instead holding on to my 20 year old packs and heads and trying to milk another year out of them.
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  #6  
Old December 28th, 2009, 01:29 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Hi Erie
just a short note to tall you (but you know already) that you're not alone.
Don't give-up!
Don't slow down your rates, you won't be able to raise them again!
They are also business men (and women!) who respect their contractors… let the other ones alone… I know it's eaiser to say than to do, but I did !

In another recent post I explained why I've been away from OPF for a while being to busy (here), below is a short quote:
Quote:
The last months and particularly the first 5 month of 2009 have been really difficult for us as advertising agency and by consequence as photographer…
Our reaction to the crisis and to the unmatched amount of competitors chasing our clients with ridiculous rates, have been to increase the quality of our work, being always more demanding with ourselves, keeping are rates to their level, and yes, in some cases even increasing them. We also have extended our niche with quite success to the architecture photography…
I hope you the very same, bon courage!

BTW the link to your website brings to a page stating that your domain name is for sale!

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  #7  
Old December 28th, 2009, 01:35 PM
Ruben Alfu Ruben Alfu is offline
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Hi Erie, I think the photo works fine in the art but, of course, the client has the final word. Now, as I understand, you made this photo without any specific requirements from them, so I see no obligation to do a new photo free of charge. Anyway, let´s hope the PS work saves the day.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 04:15 PM
Jericho Soh Jericho Soh is offline
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We all have an artist inside of us. The search for our embodiment of perfection can be a distraction at times and might prevent us from progressing further. Having feedback helps especially when we are too deeply engrossed to detact our obsession.
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  #9  
Old January 10th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Daniel Buck Daniel Buck is offline
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For product shots when you need to get the camera in close (18" you said?) This is where having a tilt lens or a monorail setup is nice.

(edit) oh saw that you already thought about that.

As for that logo you designed and didn't get paid for, don't let that happen again, a contract can help this, and getting 1/2 (or a fixed amount) up front too! Even though they didn't use the logo you designed, they still hired you to design it! if I have a carpenter build me a chair, I've got to pay him for it even if I never sit in it :-)
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  #10  
Old January 15th, 2018, 11:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Bump!

It uses an unused bump I had lying around and brings us a reminder of a previous good thread!

Asher
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