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How To: Take Better EDC Photos

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#1 mikejulietpapa

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 02:23 PM

I’m far from being called a professional photographer but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy taking photos and learning about photography.
 
Having an interest in gear also means that I like to do a little show and tell by way of photos. As I look around this forum and other places online, I’ll often see photos of someones everyday carry contents and think to myself that if they just did a few small things, their picture would look so much better.
 
Note: These are just tips based on my experience. I’ve played with a few techniques and these have seemed to help me. They may help you too but feel free to keep experimenting on your own.
 
Generic Tips
 
  • Take time to lay out your gear. While a [literal] pile of gear may be what you’re going for and that photo may turn out great, organizing the individual elements can be very pleasing to the eye.
     
  • Use the best camera you have. Many people, myself included, use their smart phone as their primary camera. Actually, I just recently got a new camera for Christmas but most phones are capable of shooting great photos, as long as you have proper lighting.
     
  • Unless you’re going after a certain effect, find a location with bright yet even lighting. You may have to move things around if you’re getting a harsh glare or “hot spot”. I prefer to find a nice outdoors location on an overcast day.
     
  • Consider your backdrop. Is it boring? Sometimes the texture of a wooden table or a stump in the woods can do wonders. Stay away from shooting photos on an unmade bed and try to make the photo more interesting.
 
 
Test Shots
 
I decided to lay out my EDC (minus the phone because I was taking photos with it) and do a few test shots in different environments. These were taken on the Nexus 5.
 
 
Test Shot 1
 
This was indoors and with minimal ambient light and some glow from my computer monitors. The background is a black wood desk. Photos this dark tend to be grainy/noisy and don’t allow a lot of detail to come through.
 
12107204873_67a9a3383d_b.jpg
 
 
 
 
Test Shot 2
 
This shot was still indoors but in more lighting. Indirect florescent on a metal desk background. Not bad but there was a small shadow of myself holding the camera that got in the way a little.
 
12107209973_7c471dac57_b.jpg
 
 
 
 
Test Shot 3
 
This shot was outdoors on a sidewalk during an overcast day. The indirect light was great because there were no hot spots from the sun. The only problem I had to deal with was the wind as it kept blowing my notebook away.
 
12107208013_5591512f87_b.jpg
 
 
___________________
Let me know if you have any questions and if anyone out there can add to what I said (or even correct me), please leave a reply. I hope these tips help and we see a lot of awesome gear photos in the future! 

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#2 B3dlam

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 04:47 PM

An interesting background is a must I picked up a shemagh and pretty much the only thing it gets used for is as a background for pictures of gear.  A simple way to achieve lighting similar to the indirect lighting you get on an overcast day is to point a bright white light at a white wall. the reflected or bounced light is far softer and gives good fill. 

 

Direct lighting with sharp shadows can definitely create some awesome effects as long as you have enough fill light to get all the detail along with the shadows. 


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#3 Jersey0311

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 06:32 AM

I can't help but notice the NYC Metro Card in your EDC

 

I'm thinking about attempting some shots using the fancy picture editor apps available for the iPhone. Instagram actually has some good ones, I just am not a big social media person.

 

Is picture quality one of the things that are judged during EDC contests, versus just content alone?


Edited by Jersey0311, 27 January 2014 - 06:32 AM.

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#4 DStevenson

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 06:40 AM

Surroundings seem to be the ticket for most pictures. Something that looks interesting but doesn't take away from the content.

Nice tutorial, thank you.


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." Benjamin Franklin

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#5 mikejulietpapa

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 12:04 PM

I can't help but notice the NYC Metro Card in your EDC

 

I'm thinking about attempting some shots using the fancy picture editor apps available for the iPhone. Instagram actually has some good ones, I just am not a big social media person.

 

Is picture quality one of the things that are judged during EDC contests, versus just content alone?

 

Good eye. I used to live on the East Coast and would visit New York City now and then. That card is actually from a trip my guy friends took a long time ago. I just found it recently and wanted to remember the fun we had. That plastic they use is pretty durable and I'm glad it's held up.

 

Sometimes filters can detract from the image. Not always though. The two I like the most (and are on iOS and Android) are VSCO Cam and Snapseed. If you use Instagram, you'll have to crop your photo into a square. Not bad but you may want more "space."

 

Picture quality and content are both important. Using a low quality camera won't disqualify you or anything, but it's easy to tell who took the time to best set up their shot.  -- "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln


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#6 Jersey0311

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 02:51 PM

Good eye. I used to live on the East Coast and would visit New York City now and then. That card is actually from a trip my guy friends took a long time ago. I just found it recently and wanted to remember the fun we had. That plastic they use is pretty durable and I'm glad it's held up.

 

Sometimes filters can detract from the image. Not always though. The two I like the most (and are on iOS and Android) are VSCO Cam and Snapseed. If you use Instagram, you'll have to crop your photo into a square. Not bad but you may want more "space."

 

Picture quality and content are both important. Using a low quality camera won't disqualify you or anything, but it's easy to tell who took the time to best set up their shot.  -- "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln

 

Unfortunately for me I'm still stuck in the NYC metro area. Thankfully I moved out of NYC, but it was to NJ so it wasn't much of an improvement by any means. I'd prefer to relocate somewhere like TX or AZ, or even NOVA, but it is what it is.

 

For those of us behind enemy lines that can't legally carry firearms (I do when I'm out of state), does lack of one take points away for contest purposes?


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#7 mikejulietpapa

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 03:22 PM

... For those of us behind enemy lines that can't legally carry firearms (I do when I'm out of state), does lack of one take points away for contest purposes?

 

Because the laws vary greatly based on location, owning or showing a firearm does not add to nor detract from your chances of winning the EDC contests. 


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#8 9chase26

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:44 AM

Good post Mike.  I've been using Camera+ for pictures and editing on my phone.  It has some of the best choices for enhancements (like exposure and gradual rotation), IMHO.


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#9 RebornAdventurer

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for the informative post, will definitely put some of your tips to use shortly for an EDC post.  One question... what's the little rhino?



#10 mikejulietpapa

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:23 PM

Thanks for the informative post, will definitely put some of your tips to use shortly for an EDC post.  One question... what's the little rhino?

 

The rhino was just a freebie from Huckberry. They threw it in with my order one day and it was in an envelope stamped "Lucky Rhino". 


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#11 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:52 PM

They do that sort of thing from time to time. I've seen other folks with them and its always basically "They sent it so I carry it..."


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#12 RebornAdventurer

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:47 PM

The rhino was just a freebie from Huckberry. They threw it in with my order one day and it was in an envelope stamped "Lucky Rhino". 

Nice, freebies are always good.  :)







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