Re-Re-Re-Photography Done…

I finally got finished with all this photography stuff and am pleased for a change with the outcome. But before I get into that I have to point out something and I’m wondering if it’s been happening to anyone else. Over the last couple weeks, whenever I attempt to leave a comment on a “blogspot” blog, I get an open ID error. It seems random as if I sit there long enough it will eventually go through. I’ve actually been on some blogs where I had to re-submit the comment up to 15 times to have it go through and some where the comment window comes back blank and I have to re-type whatever it was that I wrote. It takes a good 30 seconds after hitting send for it to go through normally and multiplying that over and over is not only frustrating but time consuming and makes me feel like an idiot for sitting there re-hitting the send button and typing in another squiggly word verification. I’m on wordpress so I would assume since most of the potter blogs are on blogspot that they are not having this problem because they don’t use “open ID” to submit a comment but I really have no idea. Anyway, yesterday it seemed a bit better but it’s been ridiculous of late and I was just wondering if anyone else had the same issue. Back to photography… I started to shoot the pieces that I got back from the show in Chicago and I decided to go back to the beginning and they started turning out much better. After uploading some to the etsy shop, the good pictures (I was having issues with a blue cast on the background to varying degrees depending on the color and size of the piece) made the not so good ones look even worse so I decided to go back and re-shoot everything and re-upload everything that I could. The backgrounds are gray just like the background in reality and the shop looks better than ever. Check it out if you have a hankerin’… I’ll be posting pieces every day for a week or so. Here’s the link. As I’m sure is true with most or all potters, sometimes you just have a fondness for a piece. For me this piece is that one…

I have been referring to it as the fishnet bowl because it looks like fishnet hose but it is also evocative of other things. Maybe part of the reason that I’m so fond of it is that it was a total back breaking bear to decorate… the diamond pattern took much longer to execute than some of the other patterns I use. And as is the case with pieces of mine that I become attached to, it seems sometimes that maybe I’m the only one with that attachment and inevitably people seem to gravitate to something else and that’s very good too. I haven’t posted this to the store yet but hope to soon. Anyway, I’m not sure how instructive this will be but I’ll try and outline how I finally got rid of the subtle casts of different hues on the neutral background. When I decided to do my own photography for real, I took the lead from my good friend Jeff Campana’s post about getting good shots… here. My first result after getting the photo tent was on this post. They were adequate but there’s that blue cast. So here’s what happened as far as I can tell. In Jeff’s post he specifically suggests using Eiko 250 watt, 3200 Kelvin bulbs, which you can get at any local camera shop and they’re not terribly expensive. I did this but still had the blue cast. Over time I got 3 lights, one above and two from the sides all with the Eiko bulbs but my room was narrow and I had them too close so I started putting t-shirts and gauze cloth between the lights and the photo cube. Eventually I became frustrated and started using smaller bulbs (not the Eiko’s) and changing the white balance settings to preset ones trying to get one to match the light or by manually setting a custom white balance with different lights. So basically, I gradually started using different kinds of bulbs… this was mistake #1. The key I think and mistake #2 which might be the bigger of the two mistakes is that I always set my white balance by setting up the lights, putting a piece in the photo cube, leaning a white card against the pot and focusing the white balance setting thingie on that card. I was complaining to Jeff one night over beers and he asked why I was doing it with the card and it never occurred to me but I think that was a relic from the old days when a friend’s and my office space was down the hall from some commercial photographers in the late 80’s and I used to go down and watch them take pictures of varnished turkeys and other fake food for magazines. So to recap… I put the Eiko bulbs in all the lights, I moved the side lights all the way to the walls of the room so they would be as far as possible from the cube and I set the white balance (per Jeff’s suggestion) on the graduated background inside of the photo cube with no piece in the cube. This immediately gave me a neutral background and then all I had to contend with was brightness and contrast which I still have some work to do with but I feel like I’ve made a step forward. Here’s some pieces that I did post to etsy in the last day or so (clicking the first goes to etsy, the others enlarge)…


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12 Responses to “Re-Re-Re-Photography Done…”

  1. Patricia Griffin Says:

    Hi Jim! I read this post with interest as I STILL haven’t set up my photo cube and started down this road. Thanks for the link to Jeff’s blog post on the subject as well. It’s spurring me on to get going.

  2. Zygote Says:

    The pictures look great Jim. The effort is paying off.
    I’m in a constant struggle with my pictures and I rarely get to claim victory.
    I’d throw in a few exclamation marks to make my point, but I gave them up for the day.

  3. John Dorsey Says:

    These definitely look better than the earlier ones – more clearly seen colors and details, better overall balance.

  4. cindy shake Says:

    Love the brightness of your photos. As for the ID error it will happen to me if it is one of the first comments I try to leave and have not “logged in” on Blogger.

  5. meredith@whynot Says:

    Yes- it happens to me as well.
    And it is a pain.
    I love the movement in the fishnet pattern.
    But all I can think of is where is the hole?
    I could never wear a pair with out having a snag or a rip- need a little rip somewhere… would be sexy…..

  6. Miri Says:

    Nice photos. I’m on wordpress too and have been having the same problems with blogspot blogs and OpenId. Sometimes I give up, sometimes persist. I’m always logged into my wordpress account when this happens so go figure! Thank goodness you are on WordPress! 🙂

  7. artistatexit0 Says:

    James…Yes, I’ve had problems with the Open ID thing with Blogspot. Sometimes I’ll hit the preview button after the comment and that seems to work better…sometimes. Nice fishnet decoration on your bowl!

  8. Connie Says:

    Hi Jim
    My blog is wordpress and I always have problems commenting on blogger blogs. I’m happy to comment on your blog, because I never have problems.

    I feel so insecure taking my own images. But I finally have to because the photographer I used moved away, and his pricing was so good. Now it’s not worth it to use the photographers around here waaaaaay expensive. I’ve been playing around with my own images. My next post will be images I did with my photo tent. Hopefully you can tell me what you think. BTW, your images look great!!!

  9. Eugene Hon Says:

    Dear Jin and friends – I don’t seem to have a problem with posting comments. But then I am not that active as everybody else on-line. I instantly though about fishnet stockings when I saw the surface decoration of the bowl. Like it allot. When it come to photography of ceramics and designer products, I like to to be a bit more lively – the light causing reflections, obviously in the right places and often prefer shadows or contrasting backgrounds that don’t interfere with the work; too dramatic and artist license interferes with the work. However a shadow or dramatic light makes the images more alive I think- creates a mood. I often think some form of setting provides a warmth and context to the work. Styled settings brings the ceramics and or pots into a homely environment. It provides a context for the work. What it will look like in a home, be it minimal, country etc – providing the customer with a opportunity to see the work within a home or on a table amongst other products. So important to bring the work to life – styled often with food and or utensils. I did styling for many years now – working with photographers in their studios with proper lighting etc. It makes a huge difference – I like using extruded plastic with sharp lighting from below – brakes the surface and provides and aura round the base of the pot. I must really do an entry of the invitations I have created for our annual student exhibitions for the past twenty years. Anyway getting carried away.

  10. Rob Lorenz Says:

    Nice shots. I just posted something on my blog chronicling my inability to take a decent picture of my work. Perhaps this will help some. And those beer glasses look pretty tasty too. Of course they would look better filled with a nice, crisp Kolsch.

  11. kim hines Says:

    thanks for the photo tips. awhile ago i used jeff’s post as guidence to set up my photo area. i still get that blue cast on occasion though. i guess it’s time to get the proper lights.
    love that coffe mug!

  12. Skinzilla Says:

    I like the bowl so much I tried to buy it when it was on that show’s website but it didn’t work so I emailed them. Anyway, I like it too! Kinda punk.

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