Photographing Your Work

Distracting Background

I’ve served as a juror for high end craft shows for many years. One issue that always stands out is how people photograph their work.  Some people have elaborate sets, props and backgrounds, and the piece that they are trying to photograph gets lost in the background.  They feel that the “artsier” the image the better, when a plain image is sometimes better.  I am no expert by any means, however, when you can see the work clearly then you are ahead of the game.  Below you will find some general guidelines to help you obtain the image you want so your acceptance into a “Pen Contest” or a juried craft show gets easier for you.

Clean Background & In Focus

Out of Focus

First and foremost, make sure your piece is in focus!  If you are using a digital SLR camera do not use the auto setting.  Use the aperture setting (lens opening) on your camera and set it as high as you can (f16 or f22) to get the most depth of field (focus) as you can.  This will assure your photo will be in focus from the front to the back.  A tripod is helpful to hold your camera to steady the image. Please consult your camera’s manual for exactly how to use it manually.

Lighting is very important.  A dark picture cannot show the detail in the work.  Natural sunlight is best

Dark Image

but it can give you very harsh shadows.  Use a light tent and light the image from three sides, (top, and left & right sides).  By lighting from three sides, you soften any shadows you may get. The light cancels out the shadows.  Using one source of light will usually produce harsh shadows.

Use a plain background.  You want your pen to be the main focus not what you are using as a background. I personally like using a clear pen stand to photograph my pens. If you do not use a stand for your photograph, and you just lay it on your background, your pen will tend to roll and not lay the way you want it to.  Use some tacky putty, museum wax or a tiny piece of scotch tape rolled up and stuck to the back of the pen.  This will allow you to position the pen in the way you want.

Although a digital SLR will probably give the best results, you can still get very good results using a phone or tablet that have a good camera. There are many photography apps available that can help with aperture & focus. Do not use any built-in filters, they won’t make your photo any better. There are attachments for phones & tablets that will allow you to use a tripod to keep it steady for a sharp photo.

So, lighting, focus and a plain background will work most of the time especially, if you are trying to win a “Pen Contest” – get the hint!  Good luck and happy picture taking!

Alaskan Spalted Birch Has Arrived!

Alaskan Spalted Birch

Just arrived back form the stabilizer is one of my favorite woods, Alaskan Spalted Birch.  Birch is a light wood and these pieces are from Alaska that have started spalting.  These pieces have been stabilized to make it easier to turn and once a finish has been applied to the blank,  the true chatoyance of the wood can be seen.  These are “Eye Candy” to be seen!

Happy Turning – Barry

Short Vacation

Arizona Silhouette is going into our 7th year so it is finally time to actually take some time off.  Well I am only going to take a few days while Lenora will stay at the beach all week.  Arizona Silhouette will be closed for Monday and Tuesday but will open back up on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I will be off to the Washington DC Pen Show and be there for the weekend.  So if you are in the DC area come see me at the DC Pen Show.  Michael will be in the warehouse filling orders and answering the phones on Wednesday. thru Friday.Talk with you later – Happy Turning – Barry

Faux Cigar Kits Have Arrived!

Faux Cigar Pen kits

I want to thank Dale DeHoff for working with Arizona Silhouette on this great Faux Cigar project.  These simple to make pens offer the cigar aficionado a great gift.  The pen blanks are made from highly figured exotic woods and burls.  The kit comes pre-tubed and turned.  All you have to do is some turning, finishing and assembling to have one of these one-of-a-kind pens!

Happy Turning – Barry

New Pen Blanks by Jason Burr

Lonely Starfish

Jason is our latest Artist to join the Guest Artist team at Arizona Silhouette.  His unique style of using seahorses, starfish, butterfly wings and flowers that are carefully placed on air brushed pen tubes make these objects come to life again!  See for yourself at the link below! 

http://www.arizonasilhouette.com/category/jason-burr.html

New Pen Kits Arrived!

Sleek New, Geta Pen

Just Arrived, two new pen kits!  The Geta is a sleek contemporary pen kit that comes in four (4) finishes.  The second pen kit is the American Liberty based from our great symbol of Freedom the Statue of Liberty.  These pens are a single barrel pen kit that are easy to make! Happy Turning- Barry

PS – Stay tuned, an exciting closed end pen kit coming soon!

American Liberty

Cap American Liberty

Arrowmont & Marc Adams School of Woodworking

Arrowmont Pens

Thank you Mark Gisi for showing the class last week at Arrowmont  School of Arts & Crafts how to make your  famous style of segmenting.  The pool cue and Triton ball point pens as well as many other fine writing instruments were made during the week long class.  I look forward to next month, July 16-20 to create these pens as well as many others at my next class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking.  Learn to make these at MASW in July (a few openings still left!)  Happy Turning – Barry