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Old December 12, 2007, 05:05 AM   #1
Mike1951
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Join Date: December 8, 2005
Posts: 22
Which photo software? Setup suggestions?

I haven't got a creative or artistic bone in my body. I need to photograph my long and short guns for backup. I want sharp photos showing detail and would rather not have a background at all.

The last time I did this, I used a copy stand with two lights and my 1.5mb Fuji. The only editing I did was to crop as small as possible. I was using a white sheet for background. The firearms were laid flat on the base of the copystand or else held upright using a wood clamp. Long guns were done in sections, as I had little zoom and no wide angle capabilities.

Now, with three times as many guns, I need to do it over. I have better cameras (5mb, 6mb)with more capabilites. The copy stand may still work for handguns. I bought some white foamboard (background) and I think I can soften the lights with some cloth.

But I have never had a background for my long guns that I was satisfied with. I have laid them on an army blanket before, as that is about the limit of my creativity.

I am leaning toward ripping a piece of plywood about 24-30" wide and affixing two columns of wooden pegs. I want to be able to support a long gun, with or without stock, from all four sides. My idea is to use some more of the white foamboard on the surface of the plywood as a background. Then to either eliminate the background or cut/paste areas of white over the strips holding the wooden pegs.

I wasted a month looking at articulated tripods before realizing they weren't worth the cost to me. So this plywood would be leaned at a 30-40 deg angle, either on the tailgate of my pickup or by making some sort of easel. The idea is to have an angle of the subject that my regular tripods can be set perpendicular to.

I've been using PC's since the '80's and I'm a whiz with spreadsheets. But trying to understand a graphics program, I might as well be trying to read Latin. I have Paint Shop Pro v8 installed, but even it confuses me. I might be willing to buy Photoshop Elements except for my fear that I would also be unable to use it.

Is there not a way to either pull the subject from the background or else to completely white out the background?

I would appreciate any and all suggestions on my ideas, software suggestions, or anything else constructive.

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Old December 12, 2007, 02:20 PM   #2
ronc0011
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Join Date: November 1, 2006
Posts: 539
Well this may not be a lot of help but I have always used “Photoshop”. You can probably get older copies of it out there, you might try ebay. It does virtually anything you might want to do with graphics files. This is a picture I took of my rifle and then in Photoshop I took out the background which was a white folding table. Photoshop also lets you adjust light and dark areas of the image and a whole host of other things.

I suggested an older copy of it because Photoshop is rather expensive if you get it new. Even if you get it as academic software it’s still a little on the pricey side.

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Old December 12, 2007, 06:39 PM   #3
Lurch37
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Join Date: August 6, 2006
Location: Middle of Nebraska
Posts: 703
There are much better photographers than me but I will throw my two cents in.

The best luck I have had in taking pics of my stuff has been outside in natural light. Try not to have a "busy" background. A simple piece of cardboard works great underneath and behind a rifle. I used a table place mat for all my handguns/rifle pics. It was a color that didn't soak up all the sunlight, but didn't reflect it back either. Experiment until you find a combination thats works for you.

I have used irfanview for years as my photo "software". It's free and does what I want, but your needs may require something more.
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Old December 12, 2007, 09:45 PM   #4
CmpsdNoMore
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Join Date: October 15, 2007
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I use GIMP. It's free...

http://www.gimp.org/
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