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Glittering strings.

By Manas
Which camera setting should have been used to create this image better ?

Tags: Black and white Close-up and macro Guitar close up Strings Object photography


mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2263 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 1:07PM
I think your problem here was not so much settings as light. With a subject that can be moved around, and is not going to disappear, it's worth looking for really advantageous circumstances - natural light from a window, with ideally a fine net curtain to diffuse the effect, that would be fine. You need to avoid bright highlights from reflections, but with care that can be managed. As high as 4000 ISO should not be necessary, you are suffering slightly from the effects here.

And then try a slightly smaller aperture, I'd go for F5.6. Careful selective focus can be very intimate and involving, you have focused on the centre of the strings, which is effective. But it would be nice to see a bit more of the strings in focus (they drift into softness very rapidly), and also more detail in the rosette, the decoration around the sound hole.

Nice subject, very tactile. I like the way you have angled and composed, with the arc balanced on the lower edge of the frame and the angle of the frets fitting in top right.
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4161 Canada
8 Feb 2019 1:11PM
Hi Manas.

Its nice to see you trying different subjects.

Musical instruments make great subjects, and in this case, youve decided to show the light shining on strings and parts of the guitar.

I should mention since you ask about settngs, - there really are not ideal settings for any shot, - they can vary, however the goal is exposure, using all the adjustments at your disposal.

This image, for me at least, is simply underexposed; I would prefer greater depth, using a smaller aperture, BUT you had low light, so that would drive up ISO, or drive the shutter speed slower.
IF you had a tripod, you could shoot this at ISO 200, f/8, and a slow shutter, - but that tripod is essential.

So Matrix metering is what I would use here, and allowing the image a brighter exposure makes the glittering really glitter; remember, shiny objects should shine. The -1/3 exposure compensation has no effect in manual mode also.

So you can see the mod which have exposure increased, and only that is done. To have achieved this at the time of shooting, you would need either more light, a slower shutter and a tripod, or a higher ISO, - but the ISO seems high enough, higher may have been a bit too noisy.

I did this in post processing, so you can do the same using LEVELS, simple drag the right slider to the left to meet the end of the large graph area.


dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1692 England
8 Feb 2019 5:30PM
The EXIF data shows that you are getting towards the edge of what you can do with hte caemra... If this was a grab shot in a museum or a shop, that's fair enough: if you took this at home, there's no excuse for not adding some sort of artificial light and controlling everything.

A single LED lamp is pretty cheap these days - I'm posting a shot I took of an IKEA lamp that I bought for around 12, which provides highly controllaboe directional light. I don't know whether you have these available in your country, but I'm sure there will be something similar. And, of course, older reading lights work, too, though they don't give such a tight and small beam of light.

Does the picture work? Part of me wants to see a bit more, to allow the strings to rest on a bridge at one end, at the least. That would make it less abstract, though. Another part of me wants to make everything pin sharp, stopping the lens right down.
pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2156 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2019 7:18PM
I would probably be seeking to make this far more abstract.

You obviously wanted the full circle to be inside your frame, but this isn't necessary.
How about having some of the attractive inlay, 3 or 4 strings on a diagonal (as here) and maybe a bit of the fret included. Then you could try having a larger depth of field so that you get more in focus, using a smaller aperture (higher f-number). You would be wise to use a tripod for this, or to keep your camera on a firm base.

You have done well to keep the instrument fully inside your frame, with no background showing.

I wonder what you used as your light source. If it was uncontrollable, perhaps coming through a window, you could have considered placing something underneath the guitar in order to lift one side and to get some angle on it, and have the light source falling on its front.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 692 England
8 Feb 2019 8:47PM
Camera settings alone won't significantly improve the shot,
True, a slower ISO, smaller aperture and use of a tripod will allow improved technical quality in terms of lower noise and improved depth of field.
If you had full control over the situation then this shouldn't be an issue. We won't know unless you tell us. Exif can't tell us if it was carefully arranged or quickly grabbed.

But you need to apply more exposure. You used Manual but you need to know what you're taking your reading from, and if it's not a modtone in the same lighting you have to adjust for that. Study and understand the histogeam on the back of the camera when reviewing a shot.
Alternatively, you need to make those adjustments in post processing.
Supplementary light, from a lamp suggested above or a reflector can help a lot in situations like these.

So it's not just camera settings.

Given your title, I'll try a mod.

dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1692 England
8 Feb 2019 9:11PM
Keith makes an excellent point - if you use spot metering, you either need to read from a midtone, or know where on the histogram you want the metering area to sit, and adjust exposure accordingly. If you're working in Manual mode like this, adjusting the exposure compensation setting won't work. You need to alter aperture or shutter speed or both.

If spot metering isn't giving you better exposure than matrix/area, then it's better not to use it.
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
9 Feb 2019 8:37AM
There's nothing much to add. Spot metering must be used correctly or it can be very inaccurate. I have several LED torches which I use a lot when shooting static close up images. Mine came from Aldi and often when they were reduced - me being a bit of a skinflint - about 3 each.

Manas 9 India
9 Feb 2019 2:10PM
Sincere thanks to you all. All of your suggestions & tips are well taken & will be practiced.



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