Photography On The Tabletop 

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Now that the days are getting shorter it is a good time for working indoors on tabletop photography whether it is to make a photographic record of valuable items, to illustrate adverts on ebay or purely for enjoyment. However, for those who have mainly taken photos outdoors using available light, possibly supplemented by fill-in lights, it is often daunting task to get started. Cyrill Harnischmacher’s book entitled Tabletop Photography, which has the sub-title Using Compact Flashes and Low-Cost Tricks to Create Professional-Looking Studio Shots, provides a large amount of useful information for both the beginner and those with more experience.

tableto photography ISBN 978 1 937538 04 0
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The short chapter on basic theory relating to sharpness & blur, the effect of different focal length lenses and the key issues relating to light is followed by one entitled Technology. Having made the point that the small size of compact or system flash units make them ideal for tabletop photography, the author discusses the various types of units available and the various ways of triggering them. Having stated that a standard zoom lens of 24 to 100mm is more than adequate, he also discusses the use of wide angle and macro lenses and stresses the importance of using a lens hood.

A fair amount of space is then devoted to equipment such as flash control, special light shaping tools as well as reflectors and diffusers before going on to discuss setting up of a tabletop studio. This is followed by a short chapter on useful accessorieswhich describes the way that one can use a wide range of normal household items for securing things in the position the photographer wants. It shows how glue, tapes of various types, clamps, pins and even transparent nylon cord can all be put to good use so as to obtain the required set-up.

Further chapters covered basic techniques, gives tips on how to choose and use lighting to deal with a whole range of different surfaces ranging from shiny metal to transparent ones. There are illustrations of the effects of changes in lighting and showed the effect of varying the lighting. Space is devoted to specific areas such as product and food photography. Hence, overall, the book covers the required technology and then moves onto the techniques needed to get good results.

The chapter on DIY accessories underlines the practical nature of tabletop photography and the way that the photographer can put his ingenuity to use to obtain the best results.

Those new to tabletop photography will find that this book is a useful primer while the more experienced will, nevertheless, find a range of useful hints and tips.  Overall, there is a lot of useful information in this hardback book which has a cover price of £18.99 but can be obtained from Amazon for £9.34. Published by RockyNook its ISBN is 978-1-937538-04-0.

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