Great job, MetallicAcid, I think you have some natural talent to be honest
Originally Posted by Xyro TR1
MetallicAcid, do you mind if I make a couple suggestions?
Try to diffuse the light you're working with to eliminate the "hotspots" you're getting. A white sheet or piece of paper in front of the lamp will help immensely.
Set your white balance manually to get rid of the yellow tint. And on that note, I would recommend taking your pictures in a dark room if you're going to use the lamp you're using, because the mix of natural and artificial light kinda throws it.
I have the opposite view on most of this--I think he did some nice work here using hard sources and mixing colors. I think using more difficult tools and still having a strong result shows a discerning eye, and makes these pictures stand out from the herd.
The key for me is that neither the mix of colors nor the use of a hard source in these photos detracts from the aesthetics or from rendering the subject clearly. Mixing colors can in fact be extremely beautiful if done with intention and a judicious eye.
The point about white balance however is very important, and pretty major in most of these shots since the iconic ROG red is rendered as quite orangey. Definitely think about white balance and the color of the light every time you take out your camera to shoot. But for these shots, you can possibly tweak it back where it should be using a photo editor like GIMP. It's hard to tell, but are the fans on the H80 rad orange, or red?
Anyway, while IMO this is a strong group of photos, there are some ways I think each could be improved, so I'll give a few quick impressions:
Originally Posted by MetallicAcid
I like the out-of-focus perpendicular plane of the GPU cooler on the bottom, that really draws your eye toward the center. The top (PSU?) is rather plain but I don't think I mind it as this gives the photo a documentarian feel. You could probably crop that out some but I would leave a bit of it in. The hot area right-center on top, and the metallic elements along the bottom edge, could both probably bear a little darkening in a photo editor, which would make them less distracting and further draw the eye to the center. The overall composition might have been enhanced if you moved the camera to the left so the motherboard recedes in perspective more, but it's hard to say without actually being behind the camera if that would come to anything. I think what would really improve this photo though as it is, would be if it were possible to get some of the natural blue light to pick up more detail on the GPU cooler (by repositioning the case, or using a mirror or some tin foil or both). Mixing colors really works well when you have different planes lit with the different colors. The main drawback here IMO however, is that the detail in the center on the motherboard isn't especially interesting on its own, especially since the ROG logo is chopped in half and upside down. For me this photo is more about the composition and contrasting textures.
The hard light really works and is very nice on the fan here IMO, giving some dramatic and deep shadows. The left side is very dark however and there are large underlit areas with no detail. This might partially be due to the entire image being slightly underexposed, but I would also have tried to get some soft natural light into the left side to pick up the detail and fill in the deep shadows, and possibly catch the source itself as a few highlights in some of the reflective elements like the face of the CPU cooler. Compositionally, for me this picture is about the fan and the corsair waterblock, possibly the memory sticks too, making the other elements farther to the left extraneous. So I think this would be a stronger frame if you made sure 100% of the fan was included, and position the frame (either in-camera or by cropping later) so only the key elements are shown.
This is a really nice composition IMO
I like the red curtain peeking behind the case, and the plants, chair, and pictures give the image a lot of interesting elements and color, without being distracting. The only quibble on framing would be to maybe back off or zoom out a little so you're not cropped quite so close to the corners of the case on top and bottom. The overall image, however, is overexposed as the window and tabletop on the left are way blown out. I don't mind the window itself being being pure white but the other hot areas distract from appreciating the star of this shot, which is of course the case. The color balance here is also probably the farthest off of the bunch, as the entire image has a distinct magenta hue (compare the wall color with the photo below).
I would also have tried rotating the case slightly or moving the camera a hair to take away the hot reflection of the window kicking off the metal inside the case. That might be ok at a lower overall exposure though. This image is also the only one of the bunch where I don't think the hard light is helping--I would have moved the lamp or whatever artificial source you used over to the right side and used it as an indirect bounce, or softened it as someone else suggested, to pick up the front of the case with a warm reflection, which I think would give the brushed aluminum a really nice look. This would also take the distracting shadows off the back wall. Given however that you are using the window to do so much of the work here, the key would be getting the artificial source to balance properly, either by having a bright enough bulb to put in the lamp, or knocking the window down with a sheer curtain or screen.
The color balance here, in contrast with above, looks to me pretty close to how it would appear by eye. In particular, the red elements on the motherboard are RED and the wall, chairs, and plant leaf all look natural. So this image hints at the potential results from mixing colors, which I think can be very attractive.
The interior of the case is lit quite nicely I think, in particular the area around the CPU and memory sticks. I also love all the highlights and colors kicking off the pipes on the GPU cooler
I really like the shadow and highlights that the hard light gives, but the side of the radiator fans is a little bit too bright, as is the side of the big fan in front. Without professional lighting tools however those issues are probably most easily addressed in a photo editor. The red fan blades IMO look kind of sickly in the bluish light, so I would have tried moving the lamp around to see if I could get some warm light on there while also keeping those nice tube shadows. It's not always possible to light two elements perfectly with one source though so ideally I would use a second fixture of some sort just for the fan blades, which would then necessitate some way to snoot it so it only hit the fan and nothing else.
Compositionally, I like the classic strong angle. However, the case is being cropped out a little bit at the top, and is a bit tight at the bottom, so I would widen out so we can see the whole thing. Remember, the case is your star so let it shine! I see a few quibbly issues about other framing issues here--the chair behind the case has some weird shadows from the light coming through the motherboard tray; I would put the back side panel on to block that, and maybe move the chair around to find the perfect spot but I think it's fine where it is. There's a sliver of something dark, a coffee cup possibly, at the extreme right bottom edge of frame; I would remove it. The plant and drapes on the left are kind of in between being in or out; widening out to capture the full case might fix that, otherwise I would reframe or move the case a little to give them a little bit more prominence. There seems to be a reflection of a square brown ceiling fixture in the top of the case so I would change the angle or turn the case to remove that as it's a little distracting. Lastly, it looks like there are some tiny crumbs on the tabletop to the right of the case (also visible in the previous photo), so you definitely want to wipe up and have everything meticulously clean before taking beauty shots
On the plus side, I like the bright doorframe behind the right edge of the case; I think it gives a nice silhouette to the grilles and vents and gives the frame some depth, although it might be better if you lined up the doorframe perfectly with the edge of the case so the bright part is only behind the case and not next to it. If you did that then I would use a photo editor to paint out the light switch on the wall next to the doorframe.
OK I admit that was a pretty anal list of details just now
, but I went there because I think this is my favorite shot of this batch and I do really like it
It's a good illustration though of the kind of level of detail and attention you need to take to change a good shot into a truly awesome one. One last thing that would improve this shot is a little bit more depth of field so the entire interior of the case was sharp in focus. Put your camera in aperture mode and use a tripod if you aren't already, so you can do as long an exposure as needed.
Really nice detail of the guts of your system. It's overexposed and the color balance is making all the reds look orange, but I like the lighting. You moved the lamp around to find just the right spot, and it shows
You could zazz it up by trying to reflect some daylight blue on the GPU pipes, or using a mirror to try and kick some blue from the window as a backlight through the holes from behind on either or both sides. The blown-out corner of the front fan on the left edge is very distracting so I would either frame it out or find some way to block the light from hitting it (or fix it in the photo editor) .
This shot has a moodier and more dramatic feel so the deep shadow areas are fine, but that also makes those little peeks of blue on the left so important since they break up the deep inky blackness. I would have maybe raised the camera just a little bit so you can see the ASUS logo a little more clearly on the GPU fan. I think this one would also be improved with a bit more depth of field if possible; since the lens is pretty close to the subject you might need a macro lens to do it. Also, the pipes look a little smudgy from this angle so I would have tried to shine them up some.
Anyway, I really like your shots, keep it up! I hope you don't mind the detailed critique but I wanted to give a real opinion since I think you definitely have a flair for taking photos.
In terms of lighting styles and mixing colors etc., there's no one "right" way to do it, the bottom line is to look critically at every inch of your frame and trust your eye. If it looks good to you and you're achieving your goals with crafting a given image, then it's a success.Edited by threephi - 12/12/12 at 9:02pm