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Subject: Taking a decent boardgame pic with my smartphone... rss

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Greg Lorrimer
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I see too much very technical advice on taking pics, and even lens recommendations. But still the bad photos come through. But I believe that with just 4 practical tips, and no money needed, you can often take a fairly decent pic with just a smartphone.

So here's my guide to the smartphone crowd.

Constructive criticism, please. (I've been getting nit-picky criticism over on the general forum).
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Tomello Visello
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** This much is worthy ...

2)Move the boardgame to a window or surround it with plenty of lamps to get light on it.

5)or go pro: place a ‘whitebalance target’ in the scene.



** ... but I'd much rather encourage people to start out with something as simple as a $100 camera in the first place



** I am unable to critique the end product at the size given on that page. Make something equivalent available for examination in your gallery here.

 
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Greg Lorrimer
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Oops! Seems that the inclusion of an amazon link has caused Wordpress to suspend my site.
 
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Niels Muñoz
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Could you post the text here?
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Greg Lorrimer
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mazinho wrote:
Could you post the text here?



Sure, but it'll be a bit rough and ready as I've got to zip. I'll adjust it later.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/56317/boardgame-photograp...
 
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Tomello Visello
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TVis wrote:
** I am unable to critique the end product at the size given on that page. Make something equivalent available for examination in your gallery here.


This image fails an important rule of thumb for me: an image must be able to at least achieve BGG size "Large" in order to be informative.

I can see the broad form of the board but there are no details about it that I can inspect. I can tell that there are illustrations on the lower left of the board. In a good image I should be able to read the text with them. In this case I cannot even tell what the illustrations are; I only see the general coloring.

Overall I would say this is washed out; over exposed. Only the arc of green-backed illustrations looks correct. Oh, and the wood grained paneling in the background.

 
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Greg Lorrimer
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Quote:
This image fails an important rule of thumb for me: an image must be able to at least achieve BGG size "Large" in order to be informative.


That's not what the page addresses. BGG requirements are a totally different subject.

Quote:
Overall I would say this is washed out; over exposed. Only the arc of green-backed illustrations looks correct. Oh, and the wood grained paneling in the background.


It's a smartphone pic. The point is that it is much better than the original. The capabilities of the phone can't be helped.

I think you've missed the point of the page. It's not to make a technically perfect photo but some short and simple techniques to improve the results for ordinary users not amateur photographers.
 
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Tomello Visello
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itsastickup wrote:
Quote:
This image fails an important rule of thumb for me: an image must be able to at least achieve BGG size "Large" in order to be informative.


That's not what the page addresses.

Nonetheless it is an issue for the viewer, and you're trying to demonstrate a better product while falling short.

Quote:
I think you've missed the point of the page.

I think you've missed the point of the critique. This is not an image that sets much of an example to be emulated when you're trying to illustrate how to "take a fairly decent pic with just a smartphone."


I consider it especially disappointing in light of your companion thread, Soooooo many bad pics. Oh my goodness. It's got to stop.

 
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Greg Lorrimer
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TVis wrote:
itsastickup wrote:
Quote:
This image fails an important rule of thumb for me: an image must be able to at least achieve BGG size "Large" in order to be informative.


That's not what the page addresses.

Nonetheless it is an issue for the viewer, and you're trying to demonstrate a better product while falling short.



I think a bit of commonsense is needed here: there are a huge number of things that one could go in to to make the perfect BGG pic, but the site is a short guide to make a big improvement in what is a more common problem with BGG pics: underexposed and pale/blueish pics. It does that.

Quote:
Quote:
I think you've missed the point of the page.

I think you've missed the point of the critique. This is not an image that sets much of an example to be emulated when you're trying to illustrate how to "take a fairly decent pic with just a smartphone."


It's a smartphone pic, it will never be that good (maybe excepting some modern phones). And to flatly contradict you: it is a dramatic improvement on the example as well as many BGG pics. And that IS the point.

Quote:

I consider it especially disappointing in light of your companion thread, Soooooo many bad pics. Oh my goodness. It's got to stop.


Since it is not a bad pic (nor a particularly good one) I fail to see the source of your 'especial' disappointment. You are nitpicking.

Tell me honestly: is the advice on the page good or bad? Forget about you critique of the pictures.
 
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Eric Nolan
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It is hard to separate the advice from the images included, and when that advice purports to about how to take better photographs then why would you want to?
 
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Tomello Visello
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itsastickup wrote:
Tell me honestly: is the advice on the page good or bad? Forget about you critique of the pictures.

I did already do so above.

Much of it is quite ordinary. The fact that you have assembled these into a simple list does not elevate it as a presentation. And the pictures undermine your credibility.

 
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Greg Lorrimer
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Hivemind wrote:
It is hard to separate the advice from the images included, and when that advice purports to about how to take better photographs then why would you want to?


Since the one on the left is bad, and the one on the right is clearly much 'better' (albeit not perfect), this doesn't make any sense. This is about taking pics with smartphones; and except for the better smartphones, they're never going to be very good.
 
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Greg Lorrimer
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TVis wrote:


Much of it is quite ordinary.


Of course it's ordinary. The point is, is it good advice, written well and that fulfills the objective to significantly improve picture quality in just a few simple steps?





Quote:

The fact that you have assembled these into a simple list does not elevate it as a presentation. And the pictures undermine your credibility.


That would only be true if I were presenting this as 1)how to make perfect photos, b)the 'better' pic were not actually significantly better. (And the 1st pic is explicitly to illustrate a typically poor pic, which it does).
 
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Keith Wynn
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Good job, Greg. Your article was helpful to me!

I have to say, if folks have a problem with your article, it would serve us all better if the critiques were sent in private (by gm). If they have constructive comments which add to the conversation, they would be well received here.

There's nothing worse than coming to a thread for some insight only to find a hundred posts about what the OP did wrong. If you don't like it, move along or gm the op. Either way, be positive!
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Greg Lorrimer
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Sundog wrote:
Good job, Greg. Your article was helpful to me!

I have to say, if folks have a problem with your article, it would serve us all better if the critiques were sent in private (by gm). If they have constructive comments which add to the conversation, they would be well received here.

There's nothing worse than coming to a thread for some insight only to find a hundred posts about what the OP did wrong. If you don't like it, move along or gm the op. Either way, be positive!


Thanks so much for that, Sundog.

I think what may be the main problem is that some people took exception to my original thread which opened with a tongue in cheek criticism of BGG pics. It was taken as rude and, presumably, personal. Then the flood of criticism followed on from that. Sigh! I actually feel a bit sad, like I wasted my time.

Here it is:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1611891/not-enough-you-are-...

But it won't stop me doing more of these kinds of things, if I think of another.
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Chad Martinell
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Thank you for the information, it has certainly given me some things to think about when I take game photos in the future.

Here's the thing though... and I understand your arguments against the critiques of your photos, but I agree with others here.

The photos you use to illustrate your points are a way to provide credibility to your instruction. If the readers don't agree with your aesthetic, then they won't be motivated to utilize your techniques.

For example, I disagree with you that the second photo is "something better". The before photo is more aesthetically pleasing to me. The colors are vibrant and make the board interesting. The only issue I have with it is the glare at the top of the board.

The something better photo by comparison is washed out and much of the detail of the board is lost. The colors are muted and unappealing.

Finally, I do want to address your comments regarding the thread in the general forum. Art is subjective. Photography is art (and science, yes). Your opening remarks in that OP were presented as a definitive statement that "you are wrong, and I am right". Whether you meant it to be tongue-in-cheek is irrelevant, because it didn't come off that way. When you start off with an insult, you are likely to get a negative response.
 
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Greg Lorrimer
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chadmart wrote:
Thank you for the information, it has certainly given me some things to think about when I take game photos in the future.


Thanks.

Quote:
For example, I disagree with you that the second photo is "something better". The before photo is more aesthetically pleasing to me. The colors are vibrant and make the board interesting. The only issue I have with it is the glare at the top of the board.


Well, that's interesting. You're not the only one who has said this. On my calibrated, colour accurate screen it's quite the other way around, and the image really isn't washed out to any significant degree (I actually hadn't noticed). I can only imagine that the screens people are viewing these images on are skewing the images, though that's a guess.

Quote:
Finally, I do want to address your comments regarding the thread in the general forum. Art is subjective. Photography is art (and science, yes). Your opening remarks in that OP were presented as a definitive statement that "you are wrong, and I am right".


Well, sure, that's how they've been taken, but I didn't say that, nor was there the arrogance that is in your rewording of my actual words, meant to be present. It was meant to amuse. I can only suppose that people are quite touchy these days.

Quote:
Whether you meant it to be tongue-in-cheek is irrelevant, because it didn't come off that way. When you start off with an insult, you are likely to get a negative response.


I really can't see how pointing out that people's photos are terrible is an 'insult'. That's strong language. It's criticism at best. But, yes, incredibly people have taken it that way, but notably not all.

The modern phenomena of taking offense started about a decade ago, and this is really, to my mind, an alarming example of it. Or perhaps it's a male thing, of being, as it were, challenged by another male, whereas a female respondent didn't take offense and was 'baffled' at the response.

Or maybe the two of us are quite simply autistic and everyone else socially fine tuned.
 
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Greg Lorrimer
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chadmart wrote:


For example, I disagree with you that the second photo is "something better". The before photo is more aesthetically pleasing to me. The colors are vibrant and make the board interesting. The only issue I have with it is the glare at the top of the board.

The something better photo by comparison is washed out and much of the detail of the board is lost. The colors are muted and unappealing.


Here is the histogram of the 'bad' pic:



It's clearly underexposed by at least a stop if not more. And then there's the bad colours, blue whites, for instance.

Here's the histogram for the 'better' pic:



Correctly exposed and the colours are nearly accurate.

Objectively, there's no question that people are not seeing these images correctly. Underexposed always means too dark unless there are atmosphere clues in an environmental type photo, but even then I would say that that degree of underexposure would require the photographer to pump up the highlights to get a pleasing pic.
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Shaun Morris
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itsastickup wrote:


Tell me honestly: is the advice on the page good or bad? Forget about you critique of the pictures.


The advice itself is solid. The writing is clear and concise.

I do however agree with one of the biggest criticisms in that the photos are far to small. Neither photo actually displays any real detail of the game. Based on the thumbnails the left photo appears underexposed and the right photo appears borderline overexposed. Including larger photos would go a long way to making your point more effective and reduce at least some of the criticism being levied against you.
 
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