Saturday, 31 January 2015

Foldio take 2

ok so from my last post, following my explorative suare with my new foldio i was left a little wanting for more. whilst some results were ok-ish i just could not get a single good photo using a white background. so i set about trying to master it.
ill keep this post short. because there was no good outcome really.
i tried every setting and in the end, when i was about to give up.. i took a photo on the cameras default 'auto' setting. and managed to take the best picture of the night.
and still...not a great shot really. but that was the best i could muster. at this point im a little deflated. whilst the foldio was a hasnt really quite come up trumps. i feel the promotional images that suggest all you need is a foldio and a camera phone can produce great results. i havent posted a image from my phone. because they were all total crap (iphone 5s) whilst using the foldio i am capable of capturing the colours and hues of the model how i see them in my eyes. the pictures are turning out not to be as crisp as i have previously been able to achieve

so i revert back to my old 15 quid broken to hell frankenstiens lamp (held together with bolts and clips and glue and anything else that stops it from falling apart)
additionally i also use the foam background that came with my foldio. as well as the same camera. and took a photo using same setting etc as i would of done previously before owning the foldio.
comparing the 2 images side by side. i would probably have to say that the second image is by far superior. whilst the colours are more accurate with the foldio..i just simply cannot get a sharp image. and as a result i feel it somewhat washes out the model.
the second image being just my camera and an old beaten up lamp ends up exagerating the colours somewhat and there is a little flash reflection. but also inturn i am getting a much sharper image.

now im no photographer, but i have managed to take some decent pictures in the past. so maybe i have a lighting issue? so lets combine the 2 together. the foldio with my old lamp angled in front of the foldio pointing direct at the mini.

so the flash is turned off because it seems impossible to take a picture within the foldio with my flash on. and with all this lighting. i shouldnt really need it anyways. so again i feel another slightly out of image is created. i do not have shaky hands. but for some reason when the flash is turned on..the camera seems to lock onto its target better.

what have i learnt?
nothing at all. lighting doesnt seem to be the issue. but i still feel im getting better images by still following my old ways. but my old lamp isnt going to last forever. infact i think something broke of it when i was moving it to take the last image shown above.
maybe a tripod would do the trick? i dont really wish to go out and spend xx cash on a tripod when i dont have any faith that it will do me any good.
do i need to buy a new camera? i dont think so. and ive gotten by for a long time with this camera and its served me perfectly well.

so what do you guys think? anyone else got one of these foldios or having similar problems to me?
if so how did you solve them?

anyways  i tried not to make this a rant. nor make it a review as such. but kind of think i failed on both of those.
but hope you enjoyed the read :)

Sunday, 4 January 2015


Ok so Xmas is now out of the way and 2015 has begun. with any luck i can have a better success at finding time to post more blogs, but we shall see on that matter.

for xmas i got me a foldio. what the hell is a foldio right?
well if you have read any of my posts you will often read my grumbles about photography. im constantly looking for ways to improve in that area so long as it doesnt cost me an arm and a leg.

well a foldio is a portable photography studio.

Cheap and affordable. and based on the above instruction gif.......its easy to set up too.
so for me was this my miracle worker for taking better photographs? surely not!
no longer would i have to set up multiple clunky heavy lamps, making sure everything was perfect for a shot..all i would need to do is unfold and go.

so first thoughts taking it out of its box.

in the box i got 
1 foldio. with sleeve to pack away into
3 soft rubber photo backdrops (white, grey and black)
(NO BATTERIES) i thought everything came with batteries these days??? clearly not lol

its kinda flimsy. but i can live with that. its portable so flimsy makes no difference whatsoever.
I bought the 2 LED strip version thinking, well more light is clearly a positive thing right?
needs 2 batteries of course, now I know why they aint free! lol

anyways this thing is super easy to set up. It fits together with magnets. and once the 2 batteries are fitted they also click to the magnets. I felt this then game the Foldio a little more stability and made it a more solid box than I had initially thought when I first set it up.

so. plug in your batteries and on comes the 2 led strips. pretty good lighting for a little box. things are looking promising from this point. of note, there is no switch to turn on the lights. you have to plug and unplug the batteries to to on and off. I think this leaves potential for wear and tear, but I guess only time will tell on that front.

so from the set up..initially I was a little dubious. But for what it is. its good and I think this is definitely a better option for me. the ease of set up is a definite plus point. the fold away amd easy storage is a mega plus point as opposed to some bigger more solid structures used for photography.

so now was time to put it to the test!
i decided to go with the white background to start with. I tried various exposure settings. with flash and without flash. so here are my results along with other trial and tribulations.

Generally i take my photos with a mid to low exposure setting, the above image used these exact settings, with flash turned on...i cant say im that happy with the result. so next i turned the flash off to see what came out there.
Ok..if dark and moody is your thing then this is great..but not for me. i think the image is way too dark. however from this I'm seeing the benefits of not using a flash (as my flash always seems to bring unnatural colours out of my paintings) but its too dark. so i then go for a higher exposure with no flash
definitely an improvement. bit still lacking somewhat..what am i doing so wrong as opposed to the wonderful images i see taken on the foldio website? anyway. I persevere.
moving on from the white background as i feel its brightness is sending my digital camera onto wobbly hell!
onto the black background
back to flash on for this one and low exposure...the results....just no no no. an unnatural shine is created from the multitude of lights, and again the unnatural colours seem to spring forwards. so time to turn the flash off and give it a try.
hmm...we seem to be getting somewhere. those eyes look deep and sunken as they are supposed to. shine on the model is substantially reduced. however im noticing less focus to the image. maybe i need to tweak with my camera a little but when i turn off the flash. it takes super fast images that dont even seem to want to focus first (unlinke when flash is turned on)
so this is looking better right? the mini stands out bold and natural, and very close to how i see it when i hold it in my hand and view it. this for many is a massive problem with digital cameras as they very often seem to want to create things that are not there in order to "enhance" the image. enhancements are going on. the picture is far from perfect. but its a definate step in the right direction for me. so on we move. next up..the grey background.

NO NO NO. back to the flash on this time and my mind is made up...the flash combined with these LED lights just isnt working. i understand background imagery etc can effect a digital camera and thus various methods are required. generally when setting up with a light setup, pre foldio, i would always have flash on..but from this image above. it just doesnt work. so process of elimination is kicking in again. and its time to turn the flash off.
ok now we are getting somewhere. again due to my shaky hands and over eagerness of my camera to take a photo with flash off. its slightly out of focus...but the image itself looks good i feel. it captures the figure exactly how it is needed from that image i was happy to go ahead and produce a final image.
this was simply cropped in photoshop and having auto levels adjusted on it. again as per the original..its slightly out of focus but i can work with that.

From here I decided to see if i could take another shot of something else and get an image that mirrored the model perfectly to the human eye.
looks pretty good if i might say so!! it seems that the grey background. no flash and lower exposure settings suit my camera much better. inturn i need to stop drinking coffee or figure out how to slow my camera down so i can get those no flash shots a little more focused

i also wish to work more on producing better photos with the white background. because my initial shots above just dont cut it, and are by far the worst batch from my initial tests above, I prefer working with a white background for most show and tell sort of photos and so this is something i wish to improve on. ill go back to the drawing board and focus on white background and various settings and so on until i can get some pictures that actually look like they have a white background and show the image in a bright natural looking light.

at this point my camera batteries died on me and with no spares around i packed away in no less than 5 minutes. much quicker than previous setups. again i wasnt comfortable pulling out those batteries. i sense one day im going to pull a battery out and the fitting it is plugged into is going to disintegrate in my hand...

so my thoughts on the foldio?

i like it.!!!!!
i do need to work with it more, most definitely. and whilst i feel some of the promotional shots for this can be a little deceiving in leading you to believe you can become a master with simply a foldio and a mobile phone. i also think there is (as always) a lot more to it than how they try to simplify things. but the foldio works and im looking forward to using it more. testing and trying to get even better photos than my first initial trials.
if you are like me and also have problems taking photos and are never happy. i would highly recommend the foldio and going at it as i have above. trying various settings etc, until you are getting better results. im happy with my final 2 images above and this was all with a cheap camera and a if i can get good results. im prety sure anyone can!