How Do I Take Better Pictures?

Baking By Chef_mary_mac Updated 21 Apr 2006 , 6:22pm by MichelleM77

Chef_mary_mac Posted 17 Apr 2006 , 9:59pm
post #1 of 19

Hello Everyone! I am new to this website but not new to baking and decorating. I've been rather proud of my creations these past couple of months but my pictures just don't do them any justice. I have a Kodak EasyShare CX7300. The problem I'm having is the flash creates horrible glares but if I don't use it the pictures come out kind of grainy looking. I've tried playing with the exposure option as well as trying to fix them with computer programs but it doesn't always help. I should also add that my house is surrounded by trees and there is little natural light for picutre taking. Some of the pictures i have seen here are wonderful! how do you guys do it? I have posted a picture so you can see what I mean.

18 replies
Doug Posted 17 Apr 2006 , 10:35pm
post #2 of 19

ok...having just checked the specs on the camera

1) it uses digital zoom only .... a very BAD thing -- that is a chief reason your getting such grainy (proper term -- pixilated) pictures. same thing happens in traditional film photography when you take a very small section of negative and blow it up.

2) due to design of camera, the flash is too close to the lens -- typical of point an shoots --- which causes all kinds of glare/reflection problems

these types of cameras are meant for the fun vacation shots where the closest anything gets to the camera is about 6 to 8 feet. to overcome that short of getting a new, better camera.

1)...don't use the digital zoom...get in as close as camera will allow and still be in focus. according to specs this is about 2 feet 8 inches (and yes use a tape measure to verify...even the pros measure for critical product shots)

2) use the very highest setting for picture quality.

3) put camera on tripod!!!!

4) forget the flash....instead use several lamps w/ the natural color bulbs (the pale blue ones in them) to light the item. Best type are those luxor style lamps (on adjustable spring arm with directional shade)
hint -- line one lamp's reflector w/ aluminum foil for a "brighter" reflection
and put a piece of thin typing paper over the other for a more diffuse light.
place the brighter one to right (key light), diffuse one to left (fill light).

lights form a right angle with each other and are above that cake at about a 45 degree angle.

large pieces of white paper can be added to reflect more light onto cake and black paper to keep stray light away.

if you have a corner in your house that has light colored walls, set cake beauty shot up there as the wall will acts as reflectors. works best w/ white walls -- unless you like the "floating in a void" look then do in front of a black background.

5) once you have the picture, load into computer and use photo editing software to touch it up, crop, change background, etc.

Your camera is only good for up to 8x10 photos and that would be pushing it. best to keep to 4x6 or 5x7 sizes.

you can digitally "blow-up" the photo in the computer, but keep above size limits in mind (will be easily able to preview results this way).

patton78 Posted 17 Apr 2006 , 10:43pm
post #3 of 19

I have almost the same camera and sometimes I have your same problem. I have found that it is caused by getting too close to the cake. Just step back a little further, not much, see if that works for me!

cmmom Posted 17 Apr 2006 , 10:49pm
post #4 of 19

I have a Kodak EasyShare DX4330 and not too crazy about it either. However, I've found out that there is a setting (mine has a picture of a flower) that is used to take pictures of objects only 15 inches away (something like that). I still have to play around with lighting because the flash does not work on this setting for some reason. Check out your handbook and see if you have a similiar setting! Good luck and beautiful cookies! HTH

Doug Posted 17 Apr 2006 , 10:54pm
post #5 of 19

hmmmm.....just had another quirky thought.

do you have a scanner???

have you tried putting your cookies on it and scanning them???

that would give you a very high resolution image....maybe too high -- every little bubble and other imperfection

could then modify in photo editing software.

this is an example using a 7" tall Christmas stocking

(reminder -- the images below have been reduced in size and image quality -- down to just about 2.5 inch at largest dimension and only 800 pixels. -- from scanner direct can get a extremely detailed the order of 600 or even 1200 pixels per inch)

Cake_Princess Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 4:32am
post #6 of 19

This seems like one big happy Kodak family. LOL... I have a Kodak Easyshare Z740. It works great. 10 x optical zoom 5x digital zoom. 5 MP. LCD/EVF. a number of pre-set settings or manual option. Manual gives more control over your pictures. Video with sound as well as a whole bunch of other things i have not experimented with yet. But I am just finding excuses to take pictures of stuff with it.

I took my cookie pics and gumpaste roses with it. I also used it to make the avatar of the rose I made.

Originally Posted by Doug

hmmmm.....just had another quirky thought.

do you have a scanner???

have you tried putting your cookies on it and scanning them???

LOL... I have tried scanning cookies before. LOL... It will work too LOL..

Don't ask why I was scanning cookies.... LOL

MichelleM77 Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 12:41pm
post #7 of 19

I don't have any suggestions, just wanted to say that I have a Kodak too. LOL!! I don't know what kind, the specs in the last posted sounded right to me. I left it in the car and am too lazy right now to go and get it. icon_razz.gif

bekahd Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 12:58pm
post #8 of 19

Awesome explanation! I'll have to try some of your suggestions. 5 rolls of film to go develop this week, and I'm not sure any of my cakes will look quite right on any of them.
Your sketch was especially helpful.

Keep up the good work!

KHalstead Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 1:19pm
post #9 of 19

I've had the same problem with my camera with the flash causing a horrible glare on the thing I'm photographing....I find that it works best when the light source is behind me....and I back way up from the product...if I'm doing a cake I try to come down to eye level or slightly above to get a shot of the top and side simultaneously...but I back waaaaaayy up and just use the zoom to zoom all the way in...this way the flash doesn't interfere but it still casts enough light for the photo to come out properly.

geeyanna Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 1:28pm
post #10 of 19

Hi All,
Kind of along the same do you "perfect" the surroundings where you take your picture? I want to take a picture minus the personal items in the picture...just the cake. Do I have to clear a huge are like a professional photo shoot? That would be a bit tedious to do but,....if I have to I will.

sofiasmami Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 1:34pm
post #11 of 19

I have a canon but I find that the flower setting works the best for me

mushbug9 Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 1:43pm
post #12 of 19

I too have a Kodak Easyshare. Mine is the 6700. I had the same problem at first and it is definatly a lighting and distance problem. I just try to take 3 or 4 pictures with and without flash at different distances with the overhead lights on and off. With all those options at least one of them usually comes out good enough to keep and post. Good Luck.

Jenn2179 Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 1:53pm
post #13 of 19

See if your camera has a macro setting. That is the setting to use when you take close up pictures.

Doug Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 2:01pm
post #14 of 19

for super simple background....

get a white king-size sheet.

put a table about a foot or two in front of window

put one end of sheet over top of curtain rod ..clothes pin/clamp in place

drape sheet over table so that it forms a continuous curve (no folds--no bends)

place product in on table

light using diagram i supplied above -- and remember to measure for you cameras closest distance.

take photos after dark so no light comes in from window.

this is called a white seamless set up -- low rent style!!! a standard set-up used in pro photog for product shoots.

here's a link to online lesson about this photo lesson

check out the other lessons too.

Doug Posted 18 Apr 2006 , 2:07pm
post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by Jenn2179

See if your camera has a macro setting. That is the setting to use when you take close up pictures.

excellent suggestion.

unfortunately, camara manuafacturers rarely put this feature on the inexpensive consumer point & shoots. rarely does it come on a camera costing less than $600 or more and even then it's usually on digital SLRs only (special lens). I've got my eye (thanks to tax refund) on one of the few pro-sumer models that has it -- unfortunately discontinued so ebaying to get it.

reminder....check for cameras that have OPTICAL zoom (higher number better) and not just digital zoom. digital zoom is pretty worthless.

Chef_mary_mac Posted 21 Apr 2006 , 5:47am
post #16 of 19

thanks for all the advice. doug you helped a lot. i understand that I should buy another camera if i want better pictures but seeing as that is not possible right now i have to do with what i have. this is a pic i took using your advice doug. much better don't you think?

pinkopossum Posted 21 Apr 2006 , 10:27am
post #17 of 19

really nice pic - alot of improvements! thumbs_up.gif

Doug Posted 21 Apr 2006 , 2:01pm
post #18 of 19

yes! much improved. glad it all came together for you.

and since i don't do cookies (yet)....still waiting for someone to try scanning the cookies.

MichelleM77 Posted 21 Apr 2006 , 6:22pm
post #19 of 19

Do you live near a college or an art school where you might be able to get a student to do pictures for you? I would think they would either be free or nearly free since this would only help the student. Just an idea.


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