Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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(insert repeat comment of being new here)

I'm not happy with the quality of my pictures. I'm sure some of it is my choice of background, namely i don't have a good plain flat surface at the moment. I can get some posterboard im sure but I don't know what color or how much light I need. I don't have many options in the way of lighting and don't want to spend a fortune on a good setup. What I would like to know is, what are some easy tricks to improve the quality of my pictures? I've tried fiddling with them in post but i have a hard time getting good color contrast and crispness of picture. It's a lot easier for me to just take pictures in the wild though if only because lighting is less important. I've included some examples for an idea of what I am doing and hopefully someone can point out what I'm doing wrong.

Also i keep getting an error for trying to upload or embed most of them, probably from the files being too big, so heres the link dump.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u6tKS3 ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KnI_8N ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d7hJBi ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eH_wwS ... sp=sharing

And for comparison, animal picture I took
Attachments
random animal photo I took, It explains how I feel most of the time.
random animal photo I took, It explains how I feel most of the time.

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Well I mostly do wildlife photography myself, and have only ever seriously photographed guns twice, but the first thing I notice is that your lighting is very harsh. For a cheap attempt at improving things, try getting a couple of clamp lights (like this one https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Deluxe-Al ... lamp+light) and covering them with a thin white cloth to diffuse the light. Then set up one lamp on one side of the gun and the second lamp on the opposite side. That should give you nice, even lighting without harsh shadows.

Another idea would just be to take pictures outside on a slightly overcast day - again, nice, diffuse, and even lighting.

Here's an example that I shot outdoors. I was on a covered porch on a partly cloudy day, so the light was diffuse and coming from the sides. I laid the gun down on a piece of black poster board and shot from directly above. One thing about using the black background is that it reduced contrast so that all parts of the frame needed the same amount of exposure. if you have dark guns against a bright background, then you run the risk that either the gun will be underexposed, or the background will be overexposed.

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88+ recreational uses of firearms
1 defensive use
0 people injured
0 people killed

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Maybe set yer camera for a smaller size image from the get-go, like 640.

Don't worry so much about the exposure settings, just use the default.

Have decent lighting, and hold still. Maybe defeat auto-focus and look before you shoot.

Save time by composing yer shots to avoid cropping, and remember every time you open a j-peg some bits are lost but that file transfers most easily into forums.

i.e., an un-modified image taken with such parameters. And booze!

Subs
May my meager existence be remembered as a hagiograph.
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DSC00984.JPG

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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I'll concur with everything mentioned by Subs and Eris. The more you do before taking the picture, and it's really not that much in the long run, the less you'll have to do after.

That being said it doesn't hurt to know how to tweak them a bit after the fact either. With a nicely set up picture like Subs' you can do ~30 seconds worth of tweaking to color levels and wind up with a more vibrant picture that brings out more detail. (Photoshop being the overpriced name brand way of doing the work. If you're cheap about computer programs that you only use infrequently, like me, you can get by with GIMP, you'll just have to seek out alternate tutorials or get good at translating from PS to GIMP.)
He roughed us, then he cuffed us
And he took us off to jail
No picture on a poster, no reward, and no bail
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DSC00984(1).JPG

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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As for photo editing software, Lightroom will be great - if you want to spend money. If you don't want to spend money, though, there's a free alternative called Darktable https://www.darktable.org/ that I use for my own photos.

And I second atxgunguy's recommendation of using a tripod. I kind of take that for granted, but I guess not everyone thinks about it.
88+ recreational uses of firearms
1 defensive use
0 people injured
0 people killed

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Also, you might want to look into building yourself a simple light box: https://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexp ... y-Lightbox

The components cost next to nothing, save your own time in putting it together.

Photographing long guns indoors is diminishing returns at best. A nice tree stump/rustic fence, and a overcast day are going to better than anything you can do inside.
LGC Texas - Central Region President

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Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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so after digging out some poster board, putting some tissue over my flashlights, and hanging said flashlights on whatever was available, i took these pictures. They could be better since i still used the phone instead of taking them with my camcorder, but i really didn't feel like setting up the tripod and camcorder with all the little details to try and make it look right via manual settings

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_ic0JH ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1six25_ ... sp=sharing

I would direct upload but i got the proper error telling me the files are too big for that.

...I really need to work out manual focus. Next time I'll use the camcorder and the tripod, for now though I have other things I need to do >.<

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Anyone have a suggestion for cheap, bright, and positionable lighting? diffusing lighting i found is as easy as getting white tissue paper, wax paper, or shining a light against a piece of posterboard. The hard part is keeping everything in position because i can't really just build a light box. Storage is at a premium at my place >.<

The closest I have is leaning a bunch of posterboard against the underside of my desk and turning off the overhead light and trying to hang flashlights or lanterns covered with something off of my desk drawers. Its not optimal but I don't really want to spend money on fancy lighting when i already have a problem with spending too much money on firearms :see_stars:

On a side note, I got some altamont rosewood grips for my S&W 66 that look amazing and i need to show those off.

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Next, you'll find a piece of white paper or cardboard or the top off a cat litter bucket to reflect the natural light into the dark areas.

Digital photog experiments are hella cheap.

CDFingers
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The Wheel is turnin and you can't slow down; you can't let go and you can't hold on.
You can't go back and you can't stand still--if the thunder don't get you then the lightnin' will.

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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CDFingers wrote: Tue May 08, 2018 10:56 am Next, you'll find a piece of white paper or cardboard or the top off a cat litter bucket to reflect the natural light into the dark areas.

Digital photog experiments are hella cheap.

CDFingers
Yep, reflectors can be good for that. I have a commercial reflector that folds up for easy storage, is silver on one side, and on the other side is gold (to produce warmer lighting). Things like that can be had cheap if you don't want to make one yourself.
88+ recreational uses of firearms
1 defensive use
0 people injured
0 people killed

Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Stiff wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:12 am
Wino wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:37 am Bot resurrections seem to be on the rise.
That’s a good name for a band.
You mean "Bot Resurrection?"
:laugh:

Yes, but should it be techno (on the nose), death metal (kinda on the nose), or bluegrass or ethereal/romantic acoustic (ironic)?

Regardless, robots gonna kill us all.
IMR4227: Zero to 900 in 0.001 seconds

I'm only killing paper and my self-esteem.

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Re: Firearm Photography: why do my pictures look like crap? (beware link dump)

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Richardse wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:11 am Thank you guys for sharing some knowledge related to good photos. I'm mostly an Instagram maniac and I love it when my photos look great there. You can create some fascinating stories with all the applications available at the moment for editing. I'm pretty sure you know most of the classic ones but for me the hardest one was to be able to get my pictures from [link removed]. I want the other day to do some stories of my grandparents with me in some cool pictures that we had taken back in the day. This application worked extremely well I have to say.
Got you. Bye spammer.
Glad that federal government is boring again.

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