Chip Photography Thread

horseshoez

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Great thread, some excellent tips, especially the photo box setups! I'll definitely be putting some of these to use once my CPC arrives - will need to figure out a solution for a box and lighting. I do have a Canon speedlite 430ex ii, which I've found works pretty well indoors for providing indirect light. I'm definitely no pro photographer though.

Question re: uploading the photos to PCF: what's the recommendation? I understand that uploading directly isn't the ideal way to do it?

Look forward to seeing the pics you take down the road both here and the pr0n threads.

Method for uploading I’ve resorted to lately has been Imgur. I just upload there first, copy the link then use the [ img ] photo URL [ /img ] to show it in a post. Avoids the forum upload tool from compressing it. Just remove the spaces in that command I wrote. I did that to avoid it showing a red X in this comment.
 

Nanook

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Question re: uploading the photos to PCF: what's the recommendation? I understand that uploading directly isn't the ideal way to do it?
Best way to do this is to upload your pictures to some sort of photo sharing site. There are many. Some are free and others charge a nominal fee. You then grab the code from there which they call bb code - I think it stands for bulletin board and just paste it in here and then the pictures will show directly like mine do
 

horseshoez

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Thanks, I totally missed that!

I don't have an imgur account, but I've check it out.

You don’t have to. You can do it as a one-time upload every time. Only advantage of having an account is to keep the stuff you uploaded in one place easily accessible in the future.
 

LeGold

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One reason to upload directly on PCF is that it's all here, and you're not dependent on a 3rd party site that might suddenly disappear. Comes with a price though, that of quality reduction :/
 

horseshoez

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Here’s a step by step using screenshots,

1) Open Imgur app
2) Click the + sign to upload
3) Once uploaded, click on the person icon bottom right to go to your uploads
4) Hold down on photo you want to upload and when prompted whether via iPhone or other smartphone, Copy Link and use the [ img ] command to link it in your post.

2A3E19D1-85B1-4114-B894-44E3FE2403B3.jpeg
E26DC860-0827-4ADE-82DE-276D024CA00A.png
94885E01-176D-46D2-BE26-B68CF78B35D9.png
08BC848D-9077-4311-B70E-38424089D903.png
 

Poker Zombie

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Just keep in mind, if you use something like Imgur you are beholden to their rules.

Photo sharing sites were one of the massive downfalls of Chiptalk. When the sharing sites changed policies, CT had no more photos.

If you want the pics to survive forever, save them to PCF. The resolution will be lower, but it will last as long as PCF does. You can always include a link for anyone looking for a higher-res photo.
 

Nanook

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One reason to upload directly on PCF is that it's all here, and you're not dependent on a 3rd party site that might suddenly disappear. Comes with a price though, that of quality reduction :/
This is a good point
 

TX_Golf_N_Poker

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One of the biggest problems with phone cameras is that they will try to "white balance", an automatic process where the phone tries to identify something white, then adjusts the colors around that one spot. This prevents everything looking "green" (old fluorescent lights), "yellow" (incandescent lights), or blue (more natural light).

An easy way to resolve this is to add a sheet of white paper to the photo where you can later crop it out. I tend to go for an old IKEA white table top for the close-up pics.

View attachment 633483

  1. Plug your phone into your computer with a USB.
  2. Unlock your phone. You may have to "Allow" device to use phone data.
  3. On a PC, find the drive that looks like your phone. My current phone is named "Missy" (All my phones are named after Doctor Who villains)
  4. you can check under "Phone" or "Card" depending on how it stores photos, or just click in the search box (mine says "search Missy") and type ".jpg"
This will pull up every photo on your phone. It is not fast - in fact it is dreadfully slow. Somewhere around 5 minutes. But you will get every pic, thumbnail, and shared photo, that your phone has ever processed without being deleted.

There are other ways of doing the search, including perusing through the files on your phone, but this method is a catch all for everything in it's micro-bowels.
Thanks for this procedure! It went smoothly. Only took about a minute to locate 4800 photos on my phone. Both PC and phone are brand new, and my connection was USB-C on both ends, so that probably helped to speed up the process.

What I learned is that my photos are not being saved (or taken) at the max capability of the S21 cameras. My most recent photos with the S21 are 4000 x 1800, or 4000 x 2252, depending on the aspect ratio of the pic. But older photos that I took with my 4 year old S8+ were actually slightly higher res - 4032 x 3024. So 7-9 MP, versus 12 MP with the old phone. I need to do some research on setting up my new phone to take higher res pics.
 

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Any recommendations for a decent light box, big enough to shoot a full set up to, say, 1000 chips? What should one aim for, 60cm (24in)?

Seems the Amazon one linked in the other thread is sold out and not available in Europe. How about options such as these:

1) SAMTIAN 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €79.99

2) HAVOX HPB60 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €159.99

3) FOSTIAN M60 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €83.69 with Prime discount


Alternatively, I considered whether, instead of a light box, I could just set up a drop cloth on my floor and supplement with either a reflector or a light or two. I have a considerable amount of natural light in my place, which is why I wonder if this would be a good alternative, or does a light box give a better end result?

(Not necessarily exactly like this, but you get the idea...)
1613042594643.png
 

Nex

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In reply to a couple people advocating against flashes earlier..

If you want the best image quality possible with the most control over the look, flashes are the best solution. They shine much brighter than static photo/video lights so you can run your camera on the lowest possible ISO setting for super low-noise images, while keeping a fast shutter speed to avoid even the slightest amount of camera shake blurring (can happen even on a tripod if using a very high-res camera and too long shutter speeds). Plus, the exact lighting is reproducible over and over again, unlike the ever-changing daylight. Static photo lighting has way less power than flashes, so you'll either have to up your ISO or resort to slower shutter speeds. Given the right equipment and effort, you can absolutely create artificial flash lighting that will look like daylight.

That said, you do need dedicated external flashes and also light shaping equipment - soft boxes, wireless flash triggers, lighting tripods -, otherwise the photos will not look good. Camera-internal flashes, and in general any bare (non-softened) flashes, look horrible. So does direct lighting. If you are not at least a serious hobbyist photographer and only occasionally snap a few chip pics, the investment likely won't be worth it. Even chinese firecracker quality equipment does cost some dough.

In regards to photo tents -- I have one, and I'm not too fond of the resulting images. The lighting inside is somewhat boring in my opinion. Barely any defined shadows due to light coming from every angle, hence a very clinical look. Not moody at all. Good for product shots if you sell some stuff on eBay, but not for creating art.
 
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Nex

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This is one of my favorite photos to date - although I didn't put any effort into dusting off and rotating all the chips to show the best part of their edges, and screwed up a couple of camera settings. I already cleaned up a lot of ugly spots in Photoshop but there are still enough left. Blacklight very recommended for crazy looking photos if you have clay chips with UV reactive colors!

Meanwhile I also got new lenses and a higher resolution camera without low-pass filter that significantly up the image quality I can potentially get.

The denomination visible in the lower left is currently being re-done with a different edge spot design, and I plan to do a fresh photo shoot with all my new equipment and more careful subject cleaning/arrangement when the new chips arrive.

DSC_4893c.jpg


Also did a couple of splashed pot photos like this one.
Had no proper light shaping equipment available at the time, and it was very frustrating trying to find an angle where no chip inlay would have any sort of reflection on it. Focus/DoF could also be better. I like the slight blur in the background, but when I redo these, I'll have the sharpness go all the way to the foreground.
DSC_5017q.jpg
 

Changster

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In regards to photo tents -- I have one, and I'm not too fond of the resulting images. The lighting inside is somewhat boring in my opinion. Barely any defined shadows due to light coming from every angle, hence a very clinical look. Not moody at all. Good for product shots if you sell some stuff on eBay, but not for creating art.

I have to agree with this. I just went through all my chip photos on Fickr to pic out some pics to post in another thread, and I didn’t choose a single one that came from chips lined up in a tent. They just felt dull and lifeless to me. The chips that had indirect lighting from a window where the chips were just laid out like on a mat were much better. Good shots from live playing also felt much more intimate to me.
 

Eloe2000

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Any recommendations for a decent light box, big enough to shoot a full set up to, say, 1000 chips? What should one aim for, 60cm (24in)?

Seems the Amazon one linked in the other thread is sold out and not available in Europe. How about options such as these:

1) SAMTIAN 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €79.99

2) HAVOX HPB60 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €159.99

3) FOSTIAN M60 60x60x60cm Light Tent - €83.69 with Prime discount


Alternatively, I considered whether, instead of a light box, I could just set up a drop cloth on my floor and supplement with either a reflector or a light or two. I have a considerable amount of natural light in my place, which is why I wonder if this would be a good alternative, or does a light box give a better end result?

(Not necessarily exactly like this, but you get the idea...)
View attachment 633896

I don’t like light boxes myself. Photography is all about lighting. Light boxes are great for evenly showing and lighting every detail of an object clearly. This is great for product because the viewer wants to be able to objectively evaluate the physical nature of the object. They help light objects “well” objectively. But that means just flat and even light.

However, I would argue, with chips you want to engage the viewer emotionally. You want to use lighting dynamically. You want to use shadows and highlights effectively to create mood, drama, focus, mystery, depth, intrigue, etc.

Don’t get me wrong. Light boxes are cheap, easy to set up, produce good results, but if you are trying to go all out and are using OCF (off camera flash) I would use at least two light sources with different diffusers (diffusers could be any type of softbox, parabolic, etc).

Umbrellas: Shoot through mbrellas are fine to soften the direct light on the subject but if you are in a white room you get a lot of bounce all over the place and loose control overall. Bounce umbrellas increase the size of the light source but you get lots of spillover light everywhere.

Softboxes: (umbrella stem or styleThese are ideal in my opinion for these circumstances because they will provide nice soft light and a lot of control over the light in most of your shooting circumstances (a regular house sized room with white walls and ceiling).

Bare bulb (no diffuser direct light): Your main light is called a or the “key”. You can use an additional bare bulb light as a rim or a kicker positioned either from the side or rear of the chips without a diffuser to give a highlight and create a more dynamic look. You still want your key lights to be diffused however.

Bouncing: (using a speedlight not the in camera flash) you can bounce your flash by pointing it off white walls of the room or by using white board or paper. This is a fast and easy solution which can give you some dynamic lighting but will also completely light up your background. This however may be a fast and easy option if you can turn off almost all other lights in the room and if your just photographing your full chipsets on the table.

Something like this is cheap and produces great results with off camera flashes or led panels.

ECB101C1-9EE3-4FFF-91F4-4072D7C4CF5D.jpeg
 
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Eloe2000

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I haven’t read the whole thread yet but I see some debate over flashes etc. Flashes are great and may give you the most power, but given the fact that we have control over the ambient (existing lighting in the room via window light or ceiling lights), the subjects are still life, and the fact that we can mount our cameras means that we don’t need that power or speed.

I just wanted to mention another option that I use in a lot of circumstances these days and used for those Casa Mango cards mold chips photos. And that is LED panels. I specifically recommend this one below. It has continuously variable output and color temperature (white balance blue/white) and you can control it using an app.

For the Casa Mango cards mold photos I used one of these in a softbox.

8B10A544-39C8-4FCF-9F38-A4C4A0470C5D.jpeg
 

Nex

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Configurable color temperature is not unique to static LED lighting though. You can simply gel a flash.
If you go with the chinese firecracker variant it doesn't even cost that much - only the "pro" grade variant (MagMod) is super overpriced.
Basic_Kit_1000x800.png


Natural lighting, while cheap and often gorgeous, is hard to work with if you have a very clear vision how your photos should look. The light never stays the same, it is always changing. Hence you only really have one shot (pun intended) at creating the photo you want. A few minutes later the light has changed - more intense, less intense, color temperature went warmer or colder. Cloud passing by the sun? Have fun waiting. The only control you have over natural light is blocking or diffusing it, and changing the direction (reflectors). Won't help much to say "hey sun, could you please be a little brighter?"

If my subject doesn't move and I'd otherwise have all the time in the world to perfectly set up my shots, I want absolute control over the light as well. Else it's moving targets, and highly frustrating - even more so if you are still somewhat inexperienced and need some time to change all the camera settings. If the scene I was shooting was not perfectly reproducible anyway - like people outdoors, or events - then it wouldn't matter that much to me.
 

Eloe2000

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The yellow/blue variance of “white” light is called color temperature although commonly referred to as white balance as it is on cameras. Indoor lighting tends to be warmer (yellower) and window lighting tends to be colder (bluer). If you are using an editing problem, adjust temperature in camera, and definitely if you shoot RAW you can adjust this in post and the temperature of your light doesn’t matter much. You run into problems with mixed source temperature lighting because there is nothing you can do about that i camera or through editing. So unless your are using temperature variance intentionally and creatively then you should make all of your light sources the same temperature.

Tip: What I am getting at is that if you are using window, then just use window light and turn off your indoor lights. If you are using indoor incandescent lighting or using artificial light via flashes or whatever then close the blinds to cutoff the cold window light. You want to avoid mixed lighting like below. I didn’t want to call out anyone’s photos but this just happens to be a good example and make me think of this. There is clearly a bare bulb overhead warm light (standard ceiling light) on a table near an open window. So you get yellow harsh light coming from above and to the left and then blue light coming from the right. In this situation you would want to shut the blinds or turn off the overhead light.

4A5A79F5-251D-44B6-966B-82DECF534FC6.png
 

Eloe2000

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Configurable color temperature is not unique to static LED lighting though. You can simply gel a flash.
If you go with the chinese firecracker variant it doesn't even cost that much - only the "pro" grade variant (MagMod) is super overpriced.
Basic_Kit_1000x800.png


Natural lighting, while cheap and often gorgeous, is hard to work with if you have a very clear vision how your photos should look. The light never stays the same, it is always changing. Hence you only really have one shot (pun intended) at creating the photo you want. A few minutes later the light has changed - more intense, less intense, color temperature went warmer or colder. Cloud passing by the sun? Have fun waiting. The only control you have over natural light is blocking or diffusing it, and changing the direction (reflectors). Won't help much to say "hey sun, could you please be a little brighter?"

If my subject doesn't move and I'd otherwise have all the time in the world to perfectly set up my shots, I want absolute control over the light as well. Else it's moving targets, and highly frustrating - even more so if you are still somewhat inexperienced and need some time to change all the camera settings. If the scene I was shooting was not perfectly reproducible anyway - like people outdoors, or events - then it wouldn't matter that much to me.
Mag Mod makes good stuff (I have several of the kits for me and my photographers because we need to change quickly) but there is a super cheap and easy professional quality option for anyone here ...

0004878D-7A9E-4ECA-ACAC-46EFC9A9174E.jpeg
 

Nex

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Like I said, the chinese firecracker quality version can be had for cheap. Professional grade? Not really. The thin flimsy gel sheets tend to get creases fast. But if you only do studio work with it, it is not as much a problem as if you also used the flash outdoors, so it absolutely is a viable option for the hobbyist.
 

Eloe2000

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Like I said, the chinese firecracker quality version can be had for cheap. Professional grade? Not really. The thin flimsy gel sheets tend to get creases fast. But if you only do studio work with it, it is not as much a problem as if you also used the flash outdoors, so it absolutely is a viable option for the hobbyist.
Sure, I mean the output quality is the same. Not the quality of the product itself for sure. I just mean to point out that I wouldn’t recommend a Magmod to anyone here for the purposes of controlling temperature for photographing chips. I would recommend one of the cheaper options and spend that money elsewhere.
 
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Lil Tuna

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The yellow/blue variance of “white” light is called color temperature although commonly referred to as white balance as it is on cameras. Indoor lighting tends to be warmer (yellower) and window lighting tends to be colder (bluer). If you are using an editing problem, adjust temperature in camera, and definitely if you shoot RAW you can adjust this in post and the temperature of your light doesn’t matter much. You run into problems with mixed source temperature lighting because there is nothing you can do about that i camera or through editing. So unless your are using temperature variance intentionally and creatively then you should make all of your light sources the same temperature.

Tip: What I am getting at is that if you are using window, then just use window light and turn off your indoor lights. If you are using indoor incandescent lighting or using artificial light via flashes or whatever then close the blinds to cutoff the cold window light. You want to avoid mixed lighting like below. I didn’t want to call out anyone’s photos but this just happens to be a good example and make me think of this. There is clearly a bare bulb overhead warm light (standard ceiling light) on a table near an open window. So you get yellow harsh light coming from above and to the left and then blue light coming from the right. In this situation you would want to shut the blinds or turn off the overhead light.

View attachment 633949
No worries on the call out, I like to learn what and what not to do. Your assessment of the photo makes total sense, I can see the yellow you are referring to.
When I go to take pictures in the future, it’ll be good to know this stuff. I seriously never thought about it taking these photos.
 

Eloe2000

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No worries on the call out, I like to learn what and what not to do. Your assessment of the photo makes total sense, I can see the yellow you are referring to.
When I go to take pictures in the future, it’ll be good to know this stuff. I seriously never thought about it taking these photos.
To be honest, most of my photos on here are just cell phone photos not following my own advice. I don’t like to think about this stuff unless someone is paying me haha. I think it is the simple basic pointers that would have the most impact elevating the most common photos though, which I should probably follow too haha.

I am happy to share any knowledge I have, but I think the most helpful thing I could do on here related to photography is more of the “how to take kick ass photos with your phone and household light” as opposed to the overly technical tips.
 
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Marius L

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My two tips for improving chip photos that people can do without upgrading their gear. Been mentioned earlier in the thread I'm sure, but worth saying again.

1) Natural light from windows and daylight is the way to go! Gives great realistic colors and adds depth from the beautiful softish shadows.

2) clean up your backgrounds. Try to isolate the chips you wanna picture. Remove mess in the background.
 

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I am happy to share any knowledge I have, but I think the most helpful thing I could do on here related to photography is more of the “how to take kick ass photos with your phone and household light” as opposed to the overly technical tips.
To my way of thinking there needs to be two threads/Tutorials that are stickies here. 1st one is basically a "How to photograph chips for dummies" This one is meant for the 90% of the people on here that have never used and will never use a dslr or a light tent or off camera flash or any of that stuff. Most young people today have a phone and household light and that is it. If you or anyone else could put that together and get it to be a sticky aimed at those people then I think that would be a really nice addition to the site.

2nd Tutorial would be aimed at the other 10% of the guys that already have some gear and already know how to take a decent picture of a chip or chips, but want to take it to the next level. How to take it from a product picture that looks decent, but doesn't have life or character and step it up to "Photography as Art.". This would be more of a "How I would do it as a Pro if someone was paying me to take pictures of my chips."

If you are willing to spend the time necessary to put together a couple tutorials like that I think is would be a tremendous resource.
 

Eloe2000

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To my way of thinking there needs to be two threads/Tutorials that are stickies here. 1st one is basically a "How to photograph chips for dummies" This one is meant for the 90% of the people on here that have never used and will never use a dslr or a light tent or off camera flash or any of that stuff. Most young people today have a phone and household light and that is it. If you or anyone else could put that together and get it to be a sticky aimed at those people then I think that would be a really nice addition to the site.

2nd Tutorial would be aimed at the other 10% of the guys that already have some gear and already know how to take a decent picture of a chip or chips, but want to take it to the next level. How to take it from a product picture that looks decent, but doesn't have life or character and step it up to "Photography as Art.". This would be more of a "How I would do it as a Pro if someone was paying me to take pictures of my chips."

If you are willing to spend the time necessary to put together a couple tutorials like that I think is would be a tremendous resource.

I agree 100%. I intend, not in the short term, to put something together as a sort of 101 class on using your cell phone and house hold environment and lighting in a way to maximize chip photo awesomeness.

To that extent I should probably lay off the beginner tips here as this thread seems to have evolved into more of the real enthusiast “take it to the next level” type thread.
 
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