Calling all shutterbugs...need some pic help please.

I am trying to improve my pics and would appreciate some constructive criticism. Here are a few I made with a Kodak Z990 on automatic with a tripod. You shutterbugs out there…what could I do to improve? No…I can’t spring for a new camera :frowning:


One quick comment i’d say is that the pictures are too ‘busy’, my eyes don’t really know where to start looking.
What is important in this picture?
So i’d say that even though the tree has a nice and interesting texture, it’s distracting from the main element of the picture: the flashlight.

For basic pictures your camera seems to do good… i dont really see anything wrong with the look of the overall photos.

(One of) the main problems with taking close-ups of objects is depth of field. In plain-speak; getting everything in focus.

You’ll notice that when you get the front-end (bezel, emitters) in focus, it starts to get soft (out of focus) about half-way down the battery tube.
This can be used to great effect in some situations (known as selective focus) but more often than not in product photography, you’ll want the whole
item in focus.

You have to ‘stop-down’ to a small aperture (f8-f11) in order to do this. If you’re shooting in full-auto mode, it might not be possible to choose this.
Switch to aperture-priority (or manual) mode, select f8 and play with the settings (plus/minus on the exposure compensation dial - also shutter speed in manual mode).
Small-sensor cams like your Z990 have an inherently greater depth of field so it’s not too much of a problem.

A really good thing you’re doing right now is using a tripod :slight_smile:

just play with the camera :stuck_out_tongue:

P.S. how many fingers do you see in this picture :bigsmile:

Stick with the golden ratios.

Choose your lines and angles appropriately.

Adjust your depth of field to keep your subject and soften the rest.

Place your focus carefully.

All this will help the photo major on the major things and minor on the minor things.

Interesting…hadn’t thought about the background being too ‘busy’. I’ll try a variety of backgrounds in the future.

Also was wondering how to keep everything in focus. Will try the F8 setting next time.

The camera also has trouble focusing on extreme closeups (macros?). Any advice there? I can’t seem to figure out manual mode…

Closest focus range on your camera is 3.9 inches

I think your images are sound. Cameras lack of manual override is limiting how you can present what you really saw in person.

Here is a little bit of editing on one of your images to compensate for camera.

Image you posted:

Image edited for color, contrast and sharpness:

Nice…I can see how my pic looks washed out compared to your edited version.


Hmm…I’m pretty certain I was further than that, but still having focus problems.

A few small sections of cardboard painted flat black come in handy when doing small object photography. You can use them to subtract light from certain areas and eliminate reflection.

Vignetting applied. Maybe a little heavy handed, but you get the idea.

Dale would be a good one to ask.

If you are up for a challenge: take a few pictures indoors, on a plain background, of a flashlight in macro, and keeping the lighting and the camera in the exact same place, take a few pictures of with different parts of the flashlight in focus. toss the set of images into a program of your choice and “stack” them together.(AKA merge, varies with program). If all want well, you will now have a perfectly in focus picture.

Nice one, Kodachrome40. I can see that you’ve adjusted the levels/black point etc.
Mostly, files direct from the camera need a little tweaking to bring out the ‘pop’ in the image.

As far as backgrounds go, I’d try to pick a colour that contrasts with the item being photographed.

I thought the yellow paper kind of contrasted nicely with my LXP18650. Shot using window-light only with a white reflector.

For the Kodak Z990, it seems to have PASM settings.
P stands for Program, it’s the auto mode
A stands for Aperture, you choose the aperture, it changes how much light will enter but also the field of depth. It’s what’s you will use
S stands for Speed, you won’t use it
M for Manual, it’s also interresting but go for A.

Your main problem is that not everything is in focus, the background is more defined than the flashlight. For that problem, don’t use the automatic focus. I think you don’t have a manual focusing ring so you have to find how to focus only on the center, then focus on the flashlight on the center, don’t release the shutter midway and shot how you want. Normaly the flashlight will be in focus.
Now the field of depth. The more you are close to the subject, the more the depth is thin. It’s the same as the aperture is wide open. So you want to close the aperture, it’s the F setting, the higher the number, more it’s closed (higher field of depth but less light come in, not a problem as you are on a tripod)
So with A setting, start with F8 and try to go higher but not to F22.
The background is to charged to, the tree is a complex partern and it will distract from the subject, try a plain background, few pattern.

The golden ratio was mentioned, there is also rule of thirds but seems to already use it, maybe unintentionaly.