So you want good pictures of your Swiss-Army-Knife, how do you do it?
So glad you asked. I cant count how many times I have read various forums where people ask
what camera they need for knives, or what additional equipment they
need, or why dont the pics they take come out right? From time to time
there are some good answers, but if the explanation seems to simple or
or easy then they tend to be ignored or disputed by some of the better
known photographers as just plain wrong. I have seen some answers that
even get so technical that they start explaining the physics of how light
passes though the lens and how the color spectrum works. Talk about making
your eyes glaze over, not to mention some new guys are so intimidated that
they just forget about knife photography all together.
I think in some instances that
some folks like thier talents to sound a bit more complicated than they
Certainly there is nothing wrong with having lights and stands, reflectors,
diffusers and light boxes. The problem comes when you dont have a place to
leave it all set up. If you need to set everything up each time you want
to take a knife pic, oh what a pain that would be.
My solution for a quick picture is go outside, put the knife down and shoot.
Overcast days are great for that, plenty of ambient light with no hot spots
on the SAK's polished blade to ruin your picture. Sometimes however you
are "stuck" with a nice day with bright sunshine. Thats one of the things
we are going to cover first, because with a bit of practice it is no problem.
Ok, here we go. Way back when I first started this knife photography thing
I would get mad because the sun would be to bright, so I would try sticking
the knife under a tree for shade. With the SAK blade that was a problem.
It is like a mirror, what ever was in a position to reflect in the blade
would show up in the picture. You would end up with a red handled SAK with
the blade showing all the green leaves, not good. Then I would try and stand
directly over the knife, the leaf reflection was gone only to be replaced
by my face with a camera stuck to it, again not the desired result. Well
I sure wasnt going to sit for weeks waiting for a cloudy day, nor did I
want to be limited to waiting for sunrise/set. It occured to me that whatever
I see with my eyes it what the camera is going to see.
Forget the camera for a minute. Take your SAK outside and set it on the ground
with the blade open. Look directly over it, see your face? Now step back, walk
around from all angles. See anyplace the sun is making a hot spot? Turn the knife
a little and walk around some more. When you see that the sun is evenly lighting
your knife, grab tha camera and shoot from that angle. Problem solved as far
as reflections or hot spots.
Uh-Oh, the knife came out way to bright, evenly lit but way to bright. No problem,
use the same settings on your camera but bump the shutter speed up, faster the speed,
the less bright your pic will be. Using digital is a real advantage as you can
shoot multiple frames with different shutter speeds and pick the best one.
Anyway, this article is meant to show the basics of how to get started and allow
you to take quick shots with limited time spent. The photos in this article will
hopefully give a useful representation of the subject matter in the article.
Obviously there is far to much to cover in one article.
I am thinking of more articles that cover how to compose a photo suitable for
desktops, f-stops in relation to knife photography, lens selection, white balance,
digital photo manipulation and composing photos worthy of framing. I would
like to make these
articles to where they are easily understood without boring you to death with
the technical lingo that intimidates instead of helps. Please feel free to let
me know if there is any SAK/photography related articles you would like to see
help with a pic, email the photo (file size under 100k, I am on dial up) and
I will try to help you improve it.
Of course I will have to run all content and article ideas past the administration
of SOSAK Online.
All photos done using a Canon EOS 10D on a nice sunny day in the direct sunlight.