March 8 2011 - Photo Jottings

March 8 2011


I thought it would be interesting to start showing some interior/exterior shots from the Sony A700 and Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 lens, (info), and how I went about shooting the scene, since there are a few people out there that have asked.  I’m choosing that camera/lens combo because it’s pretty much outdated now, but totally usable, and helps illustrate the simple fact that your camera doesn’t matter, even when being paid good money.  My new Sony A580 is superior in image quality to the A700, but I still use the A700 for most work, because I’m so comfortable using it, and it’ll take me some time to get “comfortable” with the new camera.  In fact, I may even wait for the A700 replacement before doing a permanent camera switch.

The shot below was taken a few years ago when I had little off-camera flash experience, and little Interior photography experience.  I don’t like turning down jobs, even when I’m in over my head!  Anyways, with the camera and lens mentioned above, the settings were; F/7.1, ISO 200, 10mm with no supplemental lighting.

There are a couple of things I like about the image, and a couple of things I don’t like.  First, the image is somewhat “flat,” meaning there isn’t a lot of contrast, especially on the beautiful cabinetry, click image for a larger version.  Secondly, I used 10mm, which is too wide for interior photography, that focal length makes things look odd partly because of perspective (heavy horizontal convergence) and stretched edge issues, and the distortion at 10mm is “mustache” type, which is almost impossible to fix right.  I didn’t know that back then.  I also should have asked for better props, like flower arrangements, and a food prep scene etc.  I don’t like some of the counter top stuff; the coffee maker, phone and monitor should have been removed.   I do like the fact there are no reflections, and nothing is blown out. Colors are accurate, and I think the composition is good despite the clutter.

The initial flash shots were poor due to “hot spots,” shadows and reflections all over the place, a result of poor flash use, so I ended up using a 3 shot HDR set (photomatix).  I used a fairly heavy amount of post processing work to get rid of the typical “HDR” look, like lousy color shifts and ugly shadows and highlights.  I also fixed the lens distortion as best I could, (most noticeable along the cabinet door on the left), then straightened and cropped the shot.   The final image shows off a very expensive complete kitchen remodel in Tucson Arizona.  In the end, the client was happy, and has hired me for other shoots.

click for larger version
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