Feedback wanted (gun pics)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by glocke12, May 15, 2012.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    The first blaring thing to me is the background. Is that a sleeping bag? Was the camo necessary or did you feel it "manned up" the whole image? Overall they're fine but to me the majority of them are not interesting. They looked like shots you'd take in an effort to sell off the product. Of course you have to understand, I don't own a gun, I've never shot a gun, and I can't say I'm all that interested in guns so ymmv. Someone else may come along and sy it's super cool and the shots are really great. The second shot though is probably one that is most appealing to me.

    Could you have cleaned the gun beforehand? It looks dirty ... is it supposed to be that way? Also, maybe if the gun were on some sort of tripod so that it wasn't just "laying" there. Does that make sense? I think there are interesting shots to be had of guns, I just don't think these appeal to me personally. I mean absolutely no offense. I should round this out by saying I googled "gun photos" and they're all just as uninteresting to me so it is hugely possible that this subject simply doesn't appeal to me enough to find value in what could be a great shot. :( Sorry.
  3. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
  4. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008

    Thanks Jessica...All feedback is appreciated.

    The backdrop is a mil-surp poncho liner and is just a piece of old military gear I had laying around...I used that to hide other things (basement walls, assorted items that were laying around on the table I used for this)....I wouldn't mind having a "real" photography backdrop but they are expensive.

    As for the gun being dirty, thats probably just oil residue you see...these were taken with it being brand new and fresh from the box.
  5. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    What is the purpose of these photo's?

    Are you selling the gun on eBay? If so then great photo's!

    Are the photo's being hung in a gallery and considered art? If so then sorry but they don't cut it!

    If you are taking them for yourself then it doesn't matter what other people think you want to take pictures of a hobby that you enjoy.

    If you go into the photo taking process with an objective then it would be much easier for us to help critique and tell you how well you did!
  6. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    I didn't state the purpose because I wanted unbiased feedback, but since you asked, the photos are for insurance purposes and to also share with friends on other forums.

    With these, I was really trying to improve my skills at photographing inanimate objects (make the pictures more interesting/"artsy").

    Where have I failed and/or what can I improve upon ? Background, lighting, post-processing, etc.///
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Well, such things are not always compatible. As was said, these photos are great for insurance purposes. Anything you change to make them look better as art would start to make them worse for an insurance company. Not every image can be all things.

    But if you're trying for something less literal, my suggestion is to mount the gun on a pole about 20 feet from a large background. (Like, a brick wall or garage door.) Get the camera further away from the gun and zoom in. Your goal is to throw the focus on the wall out a bit.

    Set up a flash a few feet to the side of the camera and aim it at the gun. Shoot near the end of the day while the sun is going down and set the flash to appear twice as bright as the sunlight. Then expose for the flash so the gun looks right and the world looks dingy and dark. Try moving the flash further and further along the edge of the gun making it darker and darker as the light wraps around to the back. How far can you go before you lose the image entirely? See where you end up.

    Want more? Rent a fog machine and have the smoke cascade down the wall.

    None of these are rules. I'm just throwing out a bunch of idea. Take some, ignore others. The only REAL answer is to get out and play. We can tell you exactly how to take good insurance photos, but you've already done that. To make good art takes trial and error. Consider this me pointing a finger in the right direction, but where you end up will likely be very different than what I've described.

    If I had to find one "rule" for you, I'd say that getting the subject far away from the background is always a good place to start.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Background's too busy. Not really any good leading lines- study product photography in gun magazines to see how AR platforms are usually photographed. Lighting is uninteresting too. Weapon is too dirty for images out of environmentals. Oh, and 9mm sucks ;)



    If you have kids in the house, I'd be wary of submitting an image with the dust cover open and no trigger lock.

  9. AlexH macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    I think in this case, background and environment are everything. You can photograph the subject, but I'd work on finding the right environment that gives a little authenticity and grit to the subject. Barn, shooting range, etc. Be creative!
  10. Dhelsdon macrumors 65816


    Feb 5, 2010
    Canadian Eh!
    Even better - on top of a paper target with some casings laying beside it :)
  11. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    As someone who handles rifles, I'd say there were too many repetitive photos.

    I would snap the following:

    - from barrel down or slightly off the barrel and angle towards the middle of the ar-15

    - repeat from stock forward

    - definitely a close up shot looking down the sights

    - a full length shot laying down

    - somehow stand it up (something behind propping it up?) then a vertical shot.

    It would be a fun day at the range with one of those.

    And Jessica's right, that D7000 is so awesome, it's picking up the little bits of dust lol

  12. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    For straight insurance records, keep it simple. Use a clean background that shows what the gun looks like with a few well-lit close-ups of the important parts like the serial numbers or other identifiers. That's all insurance agents and police would be interested in. Showing it with a trigger lock is a good idea. Including a shot of your gun safe with all your weapons and ammo will prove that you secure your guns.

  13. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2003
    Not enough fill. Shadow areas go completely black, impossible to see detail there in some photos.

    Background material is too reflective at certain angles. A cloth camo fabric (instead of plastic/ nylon) might have worked better.

    OTOH, you wouldn't want insurance photos to look too polished. The adjuster might think you just downloaded some sales brochure and faked the receipt.

    ... And why 9mm, if not Class III? Just askin' ... ;)
  14. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies. Like I said, purpose was twofold, insurance and to also work on skills at photographing inanimate objects in a way that makes them interesting(i.e. more polished).

    So, in a nutshell:

    Different, non-reflective background.

    Pay more attention to highlights and fill areas.

    and of course different poses. I know there were redundant photos in here..there was a purpose for that.

    Class III: Forms are getting mailed this week so I can short barrel that puppy.
  15. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    I disliked the photos too ... but it wasn't because of the inanimate object in them.

    As others have pointed out, the background was too busy ... yes, it may have been 'less bad' than a cluttered basement (or whatever), but less bad isn't really what one wants to strive for.

    Similarly, as insurance / documentation illustrations, they should probably more follow a flat presentation (think 'Engineering Drawing'): skip the odd angles and partials. For small details such as your sights, close-ups are appropriate...some of these were mostly okay; I'd try to fill the frame more with them.

    However, I wouldn't suggest having "insurance" illustrations that show the weapon with loaded clips (especially if it may be inferred that a loaded clip is in the weapon): this can raise uncertainty that you're not handling or storing the weapon safely.

    Similarly, even though it breaks aesthetics, having the ejection port dust cover open and with a chamber flag insert will document safe handling practices. Sometimes there can be more read into an illustration than what's ever intended....such as that that box of 9mm was manufactured at East Alton, IL in December 2004.

    Of course, if you're looking for more interesting illustrations, there's always stuff like purposefully induced failures:


  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    This is probably not much help, but I would look at how the gun manufacturers photograph their products and try to mimic that as much as possible. Abstract out of focus backgrounds, flat backgrounds like black Kevlar, aluminum, steel, the James Bond style of a gun on a desk with a holster, mag, passport, etc (probably more appropriate for hand guns) or full action shots with models seem to be the way they (Colt, Glock, etc) do it.

    Looking at your photos, I think the only thing distracting is the bright camo surface. The lighting and angles all look good although some have a more flat look and others more shiny saturated look (flash?)... I prefer the treatment that has a bit of highlights and contrast showing off the finish better.

    I like the suggestion above of mounting the gun on something with a distant abstract texture you can get out of focus and then photoshop out the support to have the gun suspended in mid air. Or just getting some black weave nylon that looks like Kevlar to use as a surface... That will allow you to add the ammo and mags without the distraction of the cammo.
  17. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    loaded clip pictures are not insurance company..

    what exactly is the issue with the box of 9mm I have displayed?

    and, while i appreciate the advice, chamber flags are for range use and teaching purposes, and trigger locks are households without guns safes or households with children...:D
  18. PodPacker, May 16, 2012
    Last edited: May 16, 2012

    PodPacker macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2006
    Where to begin?

    You're initial mistake is to think that you would be able to use "artsy" photos for insurance purposes. That is a typical "cheap client" request "Make the pictures look awesome, but also make them for everyday use." To prepare an image artistically requires lighting set up and background preparation as well as finding a unique perspective on the subject matter. Insurance companies want to be able to see everything in detail and be able to properly identify each part to be sure that when a claim is made there is no error or falsification.
    That being said, when you look at pictures of products online you will notice that they have a solid background that is either black, blue, gray or white. Your camo backdrop is cool, but it is distracting and when you think about it, everyone has done it. Why not shoot it on textured metal background? Lowe's, HD maybe even your hardware store have sheets of metal) Set up a paper target as your backdrop. Think of things that are complementary to guns and you will have a good start.


    I could do a bunch of neat things with this, but I don't get paid to do that. I get paid to make it look good so that the prospective buyers know what the product looks like.
  19. Lebowski, May 16, 2012
    Last edited: May 16, 2012

    Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    looks like some pretty good scratches on the barrel and stock for being right out of the box... and i would have spent the money on more lenses but thats just me. I do not see the point of a 9mm AR.
  20. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Might not have been the original intent, but they're now out on the internet where they can be data mined and legally discoverable.

    Nothing per se - - it just serves as an example for how easily there can be more information in an illustration than one may have realized. FWIW, I didn't bother to check the images' EXIF, but with geolocation data now becoming more commonplace, the image may have also pinned down your location too...for example, consider if it were so flagged as being taken in NJ, where the Colt AR-15 & CAR-15 series are explicitly banned, IIRC.

    Specific use standards vary. I've seen some where the local practice requires a chamber flag even when the weapon is off the range. IIRC, I believe I've even seen instances of flags being used while secured in a safe/vault. Sorry, no smiley here.

    In any case, each element within an image will result in viewer interpretations that shapes their opinions and perceptions .. but what's less evident is that elements that are missing from an image can also do this too.

  21. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    I was hoping for interesting, photogenic guns, classics like the Colt Anaconda for example. Top-breaks, historical or other worthy models.

    Instead there are breathless shots of something that might excite readers of Sgt. Slaughter comic books. Not good. And Camo is suitable only for hobos these days.
  22. 100Teraflops, May 16, 2012
    Last edited: May 16, 2012

    100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio
    Hey Glocke12,
    I like some of the photos, but particularly when the rifle has oil on it! I love the way it looks! I used to be a weapons maintenance freak, but some old habits die hard! He He I'd rather shootem' than cleanem'! You are catching some flack in this thread, so I say "you keep shooting"! - Bryan Peterson (Couldn't resist!) :D

    You'll never learn if you don't try! I say include more photos of entire rifle next time, but that's my .25! Obviously, the people who question an AR-15 chambered in 9mm: do not shoot regularly, as 9mm ammo is much cheaper than .223 or 5.56mm!

    Anyways, how many rounds through it and are there magazine feed problems? I am debating purchasing an AR-15 chambered in 9mm!
  23. glocke12, May 17, 2012
    Last edited: May 17, 2012

    glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008

    I know...not sure whats up with that...but this being macrumors I sort of expected that. I just stay positive and ignore the trolls or else they keep coming back.

    Some folks did give some good feedback that will be helpful though. Thanks goes to those guys!

    After I find a better backdrop I will come back for more feedback I mean..I'll try to get pics that include the whole gun. The lens I was using for this isnt really wide was my Nikon 24-70 (which on a DX camera means it is really ~35-105).

    As for 9 mm in an AR platform, there are many reasons for it that the other folks arent aware of. It is fun, 9 mm ammo is cheap, it is low recoil and low noise when using subsonics (which means chicks wont be afraid of shooting it), you can use it at indoor ranges that don't allow 5.56.

    I took it out last night for the first time and ran 200 rounds through problems at all.
  24. Jonathansm macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2011
    I'm sorry you feel that way.

    I love guns. Nice pics BTW and nice gun. But I must say that the background is kind of districting but I do get why you picked it.
  25. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Actually, some of us are regular shooters- we just prefer that long arms be long-range. 100yds? Feh! My AR (MT-HBAR, 20" BBL, 1/7") has the muzzle energy of a 38 Spl. at 800 meters with my preferred load.

    If cost is a big issue, then pellet gun ammo is a lot cheaper.

    FWIW, you can get Federal 5.56mm "green tip" ammo in a can for .10/rnd more than Winchester white box 9mm in a cardboard box. My preferred load costs me about 2.9x the 9mm box price, but that's hand loaded with good components and is much, much more accurate than anything out the box.


Share This Page