Online, Monthly Teddy Bear Magazine

M

Photographing Teddy

Part One - Page 4  

 

The End Result

So, what can you expect in return for your investment of time and energy?

You can expect to take your photographs from “Ho-hum” to “Holy cow!” … as these eight photos of my bear, LOVEY, will hopefully illustrate. 

Each picture looks dramatically different from the next, but

bear pose and camera position (I used a tripod) were held

steady throughout, and only the conditions, as noted, were manipulated.

No light was provided at all. Camera was set to AUTOMATIC, which forced use of the FLASH.  This bear looks startled and scary, instead of like the cute little cub it actually is.

Ceiling fixture, single-bulb
light was provided.  Camera was set to AUTOMATIC,
which forced use of the
FLASH.  There’s just not
enough light available
to shoot this teddy bear
well.
Fluorescent tube lights were used for illumination.  Camera was set to AUTOMATIC, which didn’t allow “Fluorescent”
or “White Balance” settings
to function, causing an odd greenish color cast.  Teddy
looks sea-sick and the picture   is unappealing.
Fluorescent tube lights were used for illumination.  Camera set to PROGRAM and “Fluorescent-Type 1” selected for lighting type (parameters
for my specific camera.) 
WHITE BALANCE measured
for existing conditions.  These steps eliminated the odd color
cast and produced whiter whites…but the photo is still
a bit dark. Probably because
I am shooting against a dark matte, textured background which sucks up a lot of available light.  The picture is good enough to take to my computer, though, so my photo session ends here.
Photo has been downloaded
and, using PhotoShop, edited
for BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST.
Photo has been edited further
for LEVELS (similar to B&C)
and to adjust HUE and SATURATION so that the
colors represented in my
photo more closely match
the colors of my actual bear,
which is heavily shaded
at ears and muzzle  in tones
of purple and pink.  I hold
the bear right next to my monitor when adjusting
colors for the truest match.
Photo has been cropped
to better focus the eye
on the bear itself.
Photo has been tightly cropped to highlight the colors and details in the face.

 

Some Final Thoughts Worth Remembering:

If you take a lot of pictures, it’s extremely useful to keep a spare battery for your camera, with a charger plugged in, recharging that spare at all times, so that you’re always ready to go.  Count on roughly $30 – 50 additional expense for this much-advised, luxury add-on.

The best digital photographs in the world will look discolored, fuzzy and terrible on a low quality or poorly calibrated computer monitor.  Make sure your monitor is in good shape and broadcasting true colors before passing judgment on photo quality or photography skill set.


Generally, teddy bears photograph best when set against backdrops that contrast with their coloring.  For example, a cream colored bear looks best photographed on a dark (maybe purple or indigo) backdrop.

This theory falls apart a little bit when it comes to photographing VERY DARK bears, which are extremely difficult to photograph well. 

In the case of very dark bears, I find that a mid-tone – rather than starkly contrasting, opposite-colored backdrop, usually in a very unrelated color (dark brown bear on bright blue backdrop; black skunk on red backdrop), works the best.  Do consider using extra lighting when photographing very dark critters, so that you can bring out the texture of their fur and detailing as much as possible.

Credits

When I first started bear making around early 2004, much

of my earliest photography know-how came from a most

surprising and particularly gracious and helpful mentor -

and now, good friend – bear artist, Michelle Lamb. Credit,

and then some, is due her for cheerfully sharing tips and

pointers on bulb use, light tents, indoor versus outdoor

photography, grooming and styling of bears, and how

to avoid the dreaded “hot spot.”  Thank you, Michelle.

 

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