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I'd like to capture a subtle finish on a guitar
Posted By: Aegon, 01-16-2008, 07:50 PM

Please help me photography my guitar. It has a quilted maple top, which creates a dark/light stripe finish. The finish looks really nice in person, but the photos I take show no contrast and look plain.

My photo is attached at the bottom.

Here is someone else's:

Neither photo really looks like the real thing in person. The actual guitar has darker darks. I don't know how to describe the difference.

I tried it with flash and it only washed out the contrast even more.

Any help is appreciated.

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01-16-2008, 08:27 PM   #2
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I couldn't do much with your picture, but how's this?

I mostly used my software to darken the highlights, and bump the contrast.
01-16-2008, 08:39 PM   #3
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Yes, that looks more like the real thing.

Any tips on how I can do it without post processing? I'm trying to build my technique!
01-16-2008, 09:18 PM   #4
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In post your best friend should be curves. Curves gives you very specific control over the contrast of the image.

In camera, to get the texture of a surface is to use side lighting. Try putting the guitar in front of a window (not with direct sun shining through it) with one edge of the guitar pointed at the window (perpendicular to it). Then photograph it straight on. The light will "rake" across the surface of the guitar and give depth to the texture. The actual surface of the guitar is slick due to the gloss finish, but the light will flow through that and still bring out the texture underneath.

01-17-2008, 01:36 PM   #5
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side lighting and less exposure.
01-17-2008, 01:49 PM   #6
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The weekend is coming and the sun is forecast to arrive soon too. I'll give it another shot soon.

I may also ask my model to clean up a little. A good polishing is in order.
01-17-2008, 02:03 PM   #7
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You need to take a different angle into consideration. Post Production won't help here. The reason why it looks like and washed out is because your camera angle lies in the reflections family of angles. This is due to the angle of light and camera position on a surface that produces direct reflection. (you're purty polished geetar ) Your photographing right into the light, especially when you used the on camera flash. on camera flash = bad. Bear with me as I try to illustrate.

            Light          ___camera
source |(o)|
\ /
\ /
\ /
\ /
What should help in this situation is moving the camera outside on the reflections family of angles or moving the light so that the camera is no longer in that zone.
\ /
\ / ___camera
\ / |(0)|
\ /
This should help. This formatting took a while to do! Hope it helps!

01-17-2008, 03:26 PM   #8
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nice diagrams, I get your point. Thanks!

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