How to Photograph a Pipe

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jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
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3,151
Monterey Peninsula
For users of smartphones or small cameras mostly:
Reduce the contrast between the pipe and its background. Specifically, don't photograph a dark pipe on a white background. Nor a white or light pipe on a dark background. The reason is many cameras on auto exposure average out the light, so dark pipes get underexposed, and light ones on black get under exposed.
Have the light come mostly from behind the camera. Indirect natural lighting is best. Not direct sunlight nor flash if it can be avoided.
Some smartphones allow you to choose the focal point and it will also set—to some degree— the exposure to that area.
For experienced photographers none of the above need be said as there are countless ways to make adjustments. Please add any further comments below.

 

danielplainview

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Mar 30, 2014
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wv
That’s good advice to follow. I use my iPhone for posting pictures. The drawback: I can only get the grain to show if I have very bright direct lighting. No glare, no grain.


 

workman

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Jan 5, 2018
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Thank you. I will keep that in mind when I get around to take some photos.

 

dochudson

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May 11, 2012
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Cheap or homemade light box and a small tripod will greatly increase your odds of getting quantity pictures.

 

olkofri

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Sep 9, 2017
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Shameless plug: Quick n' Clean by Window Light
In addition to bringing out texture, side light from a window will also add a nice longitudinal highlight to the stem and/or the pipe itself if it's got a smooth finish, not unlike what one'd get with a strip softbox:



 

chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
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I just point and click with my phone. Seems to get good results, and I'm not terribly techy.


 

npod

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Jun 11, 2017
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This a great topic JPM. Thanks for starting it. I’m very involved for years in the fly fishing boards focused on fishing photography and I am also a medical photographer. The techniques for both of those interests translate well to pipes (i.e. flesh tones, fish scale colors, emotion, capturing detail and tones and color, etc). I’ll post some more thoughts this weekend when I have time, but for now the number one skill to understand is lighting. Catch the light and the pipe will stand out. Best to avoid snapping a quick in the basement with only a ceiling light or using the camera flash. Thus, taking pictures in the daylight is the best way to get a good pipe photo, excluding DoF, shading, creative light, and the like. BUT, avoid harsh sunlight, that will screw up a photo fast. And the iPhone 8s and X are phenomenal cameras! I am very impressed with the new technology. You don’t need high end equipment. Also, a white sheet or white t shirt to diffuse the sun helps and I use that technique frequently.
Outside at late afternoon, the golden hour, iPhone 8s


Next to an open window with direct sun light, but a t shirt to diffuse the light, iPhone 8s



 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
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Monterey Peninsula
Excellent points, 'pod! And nice illustrations. A plastic gallon milk jug can be cut in half for a decent makeshift light diffuser, also.

 

olkofri

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Sep 9, 2017
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Foamcore sheets (or anything similar) are your friends: use them to bounce and diffuse light, or to fill in shadows if placed on the other side of the main light.
BTS:


Result:



 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,734
3,151
Monterey Peninsula
Yes, good skills apparent. In general, let's try to keep this aimed a bit more at the inexperienced.
And, while lighting, arrangement, subject contrast, and focus are all right, there's a real bad reflection in the glass. Shame! :)

Iphone X, natural light through windows.

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
352
76
My phone doesn't take near the quality of pic seen here.
The most important thing, phone or not, seems to be "indirect, natural light". I've taken good pics just going outside on a sunny day and taking pictures in the shade.

 

chasingembers

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Nov 12, 2014
17,336
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My phone's nothing special. A $50 Samsung Galaxy Luna Pro. I use it for all of my internet use and shopping, plus pics.