Your Expertise Required

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Mike, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. Mike

    Mike Guest

    My new boss has asked me to research digital cameras before I start my
    job on the 1st Aug. We need a digital SLR camera which is ideal for
    taking photographs of furniture/interior decor in a prodominantly
    indoor studio enviroment (will less regularly be used to photograph
    pieces in a scene outdoors eg. focusing on furniture but with a
    landscape in background).
    This is a professional interior design company so high quality
    photographs are essential. This will require a good camera and any
    other necessary studio photography equiptment like reflection and
    flash light devices.

    The budget is £1600-£2000 but this will have to cover the cost of all
    equiptment. My new boss already has 2x Calumet light stands so lights
    will need to be compatible with these. He also has paper rolls and a
    tripod but nothing else.

    I have got the latest issue of Which camera which recommends a Nikon
    digital SLR but apart from that I don't know where to start.

    The camera and equiptment will be used by my boss but more commonly
    me so it needs to be simple enough for us to learn how to use.

    Any help with this mission would be very much appreciated.

    Any Help Will Be Much Appreciated

    Mike, Jul 17, 2008
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  2. Mike

    savvo Guest

    You also need to know how to use a digital SLR camera. Contrary to
    advertising / popular belief, photography is not now just a matter of
    buying an expensive camera and letting it work everything out for you.
    So hire a professional photographer.
    This will require someone with photographic competence.
    A good two-head lighting set will set you back ~£1000. That doesn't
    leave much to buy SLR and lens, not to mention all those little bits and
    pieces to clamp stuff to other stuff, hang reflectors off etc.

    Then there's the time you are going to waste shooting and reshooting
    trying to get things looking halfway reasonable.
    Seriously. If your having to look in "Which Camera" for your research
    you really need to forget the idea and hire a photographer.
    I think I've made my point. You won't produce any results that will
    reflect the professionalism of your interior design work without using a
    professional photographer.
    Good luck with it. I know your boss is going to refuse to hire a
    photographer and expect you to train yourself with whatever kit you end
    up with.

    You will both regret it.
    Hire a photographer. If you happen to be anywhere near Gateshead, hire
    savvo, Jul 18, 2008
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  3. I could not agree more. Just the skill involved in understand how to
    compose and align interiors so that the image does not look imbalanced
    or skewed is something you can not learn without using a camera
    professionally for years - even some professionals never master it, and
    it helps to have done time using large format.

    You won't even know how focal length affects the apparent shape and
    solidity of furniture (and therefore its apparent size and weight), how
    using lights (even only two) can create depth and texture, how to create
    shadows which look light real sunlight and eliminate dirty-looking
    shadows which look like crap studio lighting - etc etc etc.

    Just to give you an example, a professional will know when to position
    the lights a long way from the camera and in the last place you would
    expect, and how to use a polariser to show the surface of materials like
    wood, glass, ceramics and plastics beautifully. And that polariser may
    not be on the camera, and it may cost more than your budget allows :)

    Use a professional - reserve your in-house camera for recording stuff
    which a professional can't be present to handle, like work in progress,
    the 'before' shots of before and after.


    Icon Publications Ltd, Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane, Kelso TD5 7BB
    Company Registered in England No 2122711. Registered Office 12 Exchange
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    Tel +44 1573 226032
    David Kilpatrick, Jul 18, 2008
  4. Mike

    Chris H Guest

    No it won't
    Calumet are doing some kits that are not expensive
    Possibly. But it is where I started looking at the market.
    Not true. You have no idea who good the OP will be when he gets his
    hands on a camera.

    Try a Nikon D300 if you are leaning to Nikon. I am sure some one will
    suggest the Cannon equivalent.
    Chris H, Jul 18, 2008
  5. Mike

    Rob Morley Guest

    The basics of getting a properly exposed shot with reasonable
    composition aren't hard, but the subtleties of lighting can be a fair
    bit more demanding - I think I have quite a good eye for natural
    lighting but I freely admit to being pretty hopeless when it comes to
    using anything more complicated than a bit of fill flash.
    Rob Morley, Jul 18, 2008
  6. Mike

    Chris H Guest

    Very easy with modern DSLR's
    This is true... also the knowledge on who to get certain effects
    Me too. My product shots are mainly of electronics broads in a light
    Chris H, Jul 18, 2008
  7. Mike

    John W. Guest

    Thanks for the smile - "electronics broads in a light tent" :)
    John W., Jul 18, 2008
  8. Mike

    savvo Guest

    Read the whole sentence. I said a _good_ two-head lighting set. Yes, you
    can get a cheap Interfit set for £3-400. It _will_ fall apart after 3-4
    location shoots.
    Yes. It's a good way to get up-to-speed with what's on the market and
    what some journalist thinks of it. But if it's your first port of call
    on a research project to set up a professional photographic studio,
    you'll save a lot of time, money and frustration by hiring someone to do
    take your photographs for you.
    You know, if I didn't have years of knowing, from the embedded fora,
    that you're quite a reasonable, intelligent chap, your recent
    photographic postings would be leading me to the opinion that you really
    are an ignorant, arrogant arse.
    No. But I have a fair idea of what is actually involved in producing
    acceptable photographic images of location interiors in an acceptable
    timescale. Having a flair for composition is only the start of a very
    big job.
    Or a D200, D80, EOS30D for several hundred pounds less. The choice of
    camera, as long as it's rugged enough to stand a bit of travelling
    without crapping out at the most inopportune moment, is the least of the
    problems at hand.
    savvo, Jul 18, 2008
  9. Mike

    savvo Guest

    Thankyou very much.
    savvo, Jul 18, 2008
  10. Mike

    Trev Guest

    He is going to need a shift lens at least taking photos of furniture that
    you want to sell means The have to look Square not with sloping and out of
    proportion sides. Its a job for a technical camera with tilt and shift.
    giving a DSL to just anyone will not do
    Trev, Jul 18, 2008
  11. Mike

    Chris H Guest

    I know what I think I meant

    PCB's my light tend it too small to get broads into. (Unless a
    Chris H, Jul 18, 2008
  12. As you are a professional interior design company hiring a professional
    photographer would make a lot of sense. For instance, what do you think of
    amateur interior designers? The same principal applies. A digital SLR will
    produce nice sharp photos but will look somewhat 'amateur' unless you and
    your boss know what you are doing. It certainly would be worth comparing
    the cost of the two approaches and maybe buying a relatively cheap (but
    still good) digital SLR and getting your most important photos done

    Roger Blackwell, Jul 18, 2008
  13. Mike

    Rob Morley Guest

    Don't you think that's a bit excessive? AIUI we're talking about stuff
    a couple of steps up from estate agent shots.
    Rob Morley, Jul 18, 2008
  14. Jeez, hasn't _anyone_ bothered to read they guy's post before replying?
    He hasn't even started his new job yet and you're all suggesting that he
    tells his boss to hire someone else. FFS!

    To the OP, just suggest a mid-range digital SLR kit with a zoom lens
    that's on the wide end of things.
    Eg. Olympus package a 14-42mm lens with a few of their cameras.
    Plonk it on a tripod. Try to get your lighting as even as possible.
    Learn how to correct any obvious distortions in Photoshop or whatever.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 18, 2008
  15. Mike

    savvo Guest

    Yes, but my real advice (run away from that job before it's too late)
    would have been off-topic and likely to be even more ignored than the
    photographic advice.
    And accept that your attempts will likely never convey the professional
    approach you bring to your interior designs.

    If this were a Taxi or garage door business or any of the other amateur
    looking crap that falls through our doors and fills the yellow pages I
    wouldn't be so bothered. But this is a design company, surely, as such,
    they understand the value of making the right impression upfront?

    Your advice is perfect for a camera club competition entry, worthless
    for professional imaging.
    savvo, Jul 18, 2008
  16. Mike

    savvo Guest

    You've obviously never seen the care taken over high-value property
    photography. It is a different world from the "girl from the office
    snapping with her digicam" treatment that most of our houses would

    But yes. Given that this poor sap is taking on a job that requires
    photographic skills he has not got, a technical camera would be salt
    _and_ vinegar on a very large wound.
    savvo, Jul 18, 2008
  17. I think 'Linette' might just be female, but I could be wrong! ;-)
    Seriously, you could do what I've done throughout my career, which is to
    use my photo skills to take 'snaps' in order to communicate what I want
    to a professional photographer.

    Without that, too many professionals have, IME, taken what they thought
    I wanted rather than working to the brief I provided. That wastes time
    and often their money.

    A side benefit was that I learned better the advantages and
    disadvantages of different professional approaches.

    But I don't know enough about interior design or photographing ID to
    make any useful recommendation.

    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
    the meaning of "discussion" with "digression".
    Michael J Davis, Jul 18, 2008
  18. Except when she's posting as 'Mike' perhaps. It's all very confusing.
    Willy Eckerslyke, Jul 18, 2008
  19. Mike

    Chris H Guest

    I have the Interfit tungsten heads that we use for photographic work
    (mainly with the light tent) also for lighting at exhibitions. They are
    on reasonable 3 metre air damped Calumet stands not the interfit ones.

    They are probably not what you need for 5 days a week studio work
    Hmm it depends how fast you learn. Though if you are "a professional
    interior design company" you do need to get it right and there is more
    to it than just pointing a very capable automatic DSLR

    It's not so much the quality of the pictures in sharpness and colour
    but the composition. That is an art. If you have the artistic touch you
    could probably get good photos from a modern DSLR.
    They may be able to do it. Though all the professional high end
    designers I know (Ok I only know a couple of people in that sort of
    field) would have just called a pro photographer without even thinking
    of doing the pics themselves. So reading between the lines horses for

    Of course it could he that the boss wants to buy some camera kit on the
    company and is simply concocting a reason why .
    That is usually fun I would think... many people with conflicting
    schedules and things to do.
    That is the important thing. No matter how good the kit. The best
    camera in the world (a Nikon, obviously :) will take technically good
    photos and in hi res, accurate colour etc but the composition and
    lighting is up to the person taking the shot
    I forget the D200.... just looked around There are some good deals on
    the D200 at the moment. Almost giving it away. Considering it was "the
    camera" a year or two back it might be worth snapping one up as a spare
    or upgrade from a lesser D**

    As you say a D80 would probably be OK

    Of course it could he that the boss wants to buy some camera kit on the
    company and is simply concocting a reason why
    Chris H, Jul 18, 2008
  20. Mike

    Chris H Guest

    Do you have the web URL for this interior design company? One look
    should tel if they should DIY or go for a pro.
    Chris H, Jul 18, 2008
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