I have joined DT since 2004 and I must say I am one of the few thousand photographers in DT then. I used a Canon Powershot A80 point-and-shoot camera to shoot all my previous photographs without any tripod or artificial lighting, all using natural light coming from my home window. At that time, DT did not have this function called Acceptance ratio. These are the few photographs I have taken.
The blackberries were taken closeup (literally bringing my camera near) in a plastic case placed on top of my pregnant tummy when I was lying on my bed with the sun shining in from the left.
After I gave birth to my child I didn''t really have time to take photos as you know how busy it is with a newborn. These are a few photos I have taken (all with natural lighting and without tripod).
Including my stress...
I thought that was how easy photography was until I bought my first DSLR camera. I started taking photographs under the same natural lighting, I believed I had a few rejected, and a few accepted below.
and even a night scene
I thought that was easy.
Then I began to take note of the aceptance ratio. I didn't know what it was. I read up the forum and realised it's something everyone is concerned of. At that time, my acceptance ratio started dropping.
When I started taking isolated photos in my new house with not much natural light, my acceptance ratio started dropping further.
I read up on the internet that lighting and tripod are needed. I didn't believe it was REALLY necessary due to my experience with the canon point-and-shoot camera previously.
These are the photos I have taken overseas with my DSLR without a tripod.
And also recent photos outside without a tripod.
However, I did not give up taking closeup isolated photos. I asked on the forum regarding using flash and most of them replied using flash to take isolated photos and Magi even gave me a good website using a business card to bounce the flash. I tried that and these are the photos taken using the bounce flash method and a spotlight shining down from my false ceiling. I thought so THAT was the answer to my problem! I even found out flash was the answer to froze an action, like water spraying and fan turning!
However, recently I got photographs rejected for my toy sports car and seashell using the spotlight and bounce flash method. I kept submitting them and was rejected again for incorrect exposure and lighting. I was really getting frustrated as I thought I have found my answer. I then bought a white bulb for my lamp which was having a yellow light. I read up the internet and youtube and found out how to use aperture and shutter priority. I used my gorillapod which was given to me as a Christmas present. And I tried taking my shell again using all that.... and FINALLY! IT WAS ACCEPTED!
This photo below was taken with aperture priority of higher f/stop with flash and zoom without my gorillapod as I have nowhere to bind it.
Eversince then, my photos became clearer and whiter.
Here is what I did...
1. Bought a white light bulb on my lamp and use a white printing paper, wrapped around the neck of my lamp in a tapered v shaped to diffuse the strong light to soften the shadow.
2. Use my gorillapod, or sometimes I stand my camera on steady boxes.
3. Place my object on a white paper.
4. I place my object in between two ceiling spotlights and my 3rd light will be my lamp which I can move it around.
5. Set white balance against the white paper.
6. Switch your dial to aperture mode. To have more focus, switch to higher f. To have a specific focus with blur images at background, use smaller f. Take note your position of your camera must be further away but zoom in on your focus. I press my shoot button halfway down to auto-focus.
7. Since I move my lamp around, I always use a timer for my camera to ensure non-shake.
8. When I take the object, I experiment with the lamp location, either nearer to the object or nearer to the camera lens. Try to have shorter or least visible shadow possible.
9. Know your camera. As my camera usually looks good in the screen but when I process it on my laptop, it always look darker, I try to take photos with brighter iluminance.
10. I take the same shots with different Fs. starting with F5.6 to F8.
11. Before you press the shooter for auto-focus and timer, make sure you have positioned your lamp and do not move it before the picture is taken. The position of the lamp will affect the shutter speed to which the camera auto calculated according to your illuminance.
12. I did not use flash.
When using photoshop...
(I use Photoshop Elements 2.0)( I know... that's the only program I have from my Dad)
1. If the photos background are white enough, you don't need to actually do anything except save it in max size.
2. If you wish to clip photos like my seashell, I use selection tool and mask to paint my whole seashell. If I overpaint, I can switch to selection mode and push the selection (dotted lines) back to the edge of the object. After that I go Select--> inverse, Select --> feather 10 pixel and Edit--> cut.
And that's it. Time to upload it and wait for 127 hours pending or even more... :D