1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Photographing mounts

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Joe Simmons, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. One of the main things I see photos look better, when the background is a neutral color. Never use black, the mount does not pop out and becomes lost in the blackness.
  2. B.S.O'Hare

    B.S.O'Hare Member

    John, I disagree. If a person has the lighting equipment and knows how to use it, you can highlight the "edges" and separate the two, even with black on black. I do believe waterfowl should not be photographed on black, however.

  3. I like taking pictures, take it with me whenever possible, but I really never gave it a thought to use it in Manuel mode, thanks for the tips guys, once I get the hang of it I'll move on to learning the photo program
  4. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    X2 even the walls in my showroom are black. Spot lights makes every mount appear to be alone and doesn't just run together. My backdrops for photography are also black. I'm sure some will disagree, which is ok too because I may learn something here also.

    In this photo, I wanted to focus on the whole deer, and in the next my focus was just the nose of the deer.


    But to me, the black seems to make my eye focus on the subject more and not wonder all over the place.

    Here is one with the black backdrop.

    I must have been having a bad day when I mounted this one. LOL That deer will never come back to MY beauty shop to have it's hair done. ::) But photographing your mounts will sure show you your flaws. Arguing with John here, because I think the black makes the mount jump off the black. Opinions?
  5. Kevin Halle

    Kevin Halle Well-Known Member

    I used to experiment with different color backgrounds over the years. I have come to the conclusion that my photos look so much better with black backgrounds. There may be an item or two that the black doesn't go with but I'm pretty much using black anymore. I also use umbrellas and indirect lighting. Stopped using automatic setting a while back. Big difference. Experiment and see what works best for you.
  6. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    The pics in the Mckenzie catalogue that have a deep blue in the center, is that done with lighting, green screen, or the back drop itself?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. This has been really helpful, thanks guys, lots of variations from everyone!
  8. Jared it can come from any of those but I would be inclined to say that it is a backdrop with spotlights to highlight behind the mount. Doing it that way helps eliminate shadowing being both cast on the backdrop and also helps illuminate the mount in areas that do not normally have light present, even with a flash. What I have come to find thus far with backdrops is that you want to look for a complimentary contrasting color, if that makes sense to you.
    Here's another link that explain the different popular colors and why they are used: http://www.adorama.com/alc/0012235/article/What-color-is-your-seamless-background
  9. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    Thanks! Much to learn!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    thanks for the info Mac...been trying to figure out the manual settings ....those links you posted are great
  11. slater56

    slater56 Member

    I've been looking to buy a new camera, any recommendations?
  12. It depends on what you want to use it for. I just got the Canon SX50 HS for the 50x optical zoom and for general use. It's fairly reasonable for $329.00 when I bought it. I haven't used it to take any pictures of mounted fish yet. This is the first camera I ever purchased that I am staying away from auto and learning what the camera can do.
  13. Slater JUSTFISH is right, its going to depend on what you want to do with it. For general photography a nice DSLR camera like a Nikon D40 / Coolpix series and the Canon Powershot series that JUSTFISH described would probably do more than you could ever want. When I went digital I got a refurbished Nikon D40 on EBAY for less than $400 and that was roughly 4-5 years ago. (I'll bet you can get one now for under $200 and my experience with them has been great!)

    As I learned more and more I ended up buying an older but more advanced Fuji S5 but that was only after I learned more about manually adjusting for better exposure while shooting mounts at the World Show. Do yourself some homework online, read reviews and check out http://www.adorama.com and http://www.bhphotovideo.com. These are two good sites to find info and do comparisons.
  14. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    I used to use black backdrops, but it was too difficult to get the exposure correct. It seems easier on a backdrop with a pattern like a brown muslin. I try taking some with a flash, but have the roll up door open and other lights on so the flash isn't so harsh, but it's not nearly as good as it could be. I also always take some without a flash, but nearly always these are slightly out of focus in parts of them. I noticed even in this thread the pictures where people posted pics were slightly out of focus unless it was outside. A deer's nose might be in focus, but the eyes are just slightly off. It might look okay on a webpage, but it bothers me if the whole thing isn't focused unless it's an intentional effect like blurring the edges.
  15. O'Hare is you use the right equip,emt, black is fine. but I have yet to see a taxidermist other than Ken or Larry have the right equipment. I cruise through some websites and see dark poorly lighted galleries. I dont think most of the taxidermist have a clue when it comes top photography.

    Even many of the awesome mounts being draped against black back ground just dont work, the lighting is lost and the edges of the mounts are poorly lighted. Like shooting pics of fireworks, Hard for 95% of the people ti get good pics everytime.
  16. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    I noticed even in this thread the pictures where people posted pics were slightly out of focus unless it was outside. A deer's nose might be in focus, but the eyes are just slightly off. It might look okay on a webpage, but it bothers me if the whole thing isn't focused unless it's an intentional effect like blurring the edges.

    That focus thing depends on how you set your camera. Admittedly, I'm in way over my head on the camera equipment I have verses my knowledge of using said equipment.
    I have a Nikon Coolpix, but I find myself going to the Nikon D200 most of the time. I have 5 different lenses for it, a separate flash where I can bounce the light, etc. I just haven't mastered the damn thing yet and probably never will. That camera has more capabilities than I will ever understand. I have umbrella's, lights, backdrops and all that fancy stuff. Probably over 5000 digital backdrops as well, but having it and mastering it is two different things completely. I would love to take a class sometime for sure. I also have the Adobe CS5 program, but damned if I can use it. Sometimes I think I did better with my old Pentax ME Super and film. LOL

    I have most of the equipment, but having and knowing how to use it is two different things. ;)
  17. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Antlerman, I agree that it depends a lot on how you set up your camera. I have a cheap digital camera that cost $200 when new 7 years ago. I don't have a tripod so if it's too dark, the shutter stays open too long and the mount gets slightly blurry. I used to have a great cannon back in the '80's that I could take great pics with manually adjusting the aperture and shutter speed, but with the digital I'm in over my head and don't want to spend a fortune on a new camera. I suspect that's part of my problem, but I've noticed the same thing in lots of pics posted on this site so it must be common with others as well. Some of the best pics of my work that I have were taken by Rick Carter at his studio with professional equipment. It made a big difference so maybe I should invest in newer equipment.
  18. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    On the higher end camera's you set the area of focus. Could be center, top left, bottom right....etc. I think mine has something like 12 to 18 different focus pins, or whatever it is you call them. Like I said, this camera's options and capabilities is Master's Degree equipment in the hands of a 3 grader. LOL
  19. I have a 10 year old Olympus digital, It will do manual aperture or shutter preferred, just like my old film camera (Konica TC) I still like the film, but you know the problems. With the oly. I can take some pretty darn good pics. with great depth of field. I also have a couple Nikon cool pics. I really dont car for them all that much as both cast a blue shadow on the photos like some of the Japaese color film did. Even with the photo shop programs its hard to take out the blue.
  20. When it comes to point of focus, the "gotcha" point is AF or your autofocus. Your eye may be looking at the eyes or the ears of the mount but your AF on the camera is looking and focusing on the nose. That was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn and going to manual focus eliminated that problem right out of the gate. When I do use AF I use the area of focus that Antlerman talks about but for the most part I use manual focus, I just get better results that way. JohnC, I never encountered the "blue" with the Nikons I shot with. I will ask a few of the other folk I know and see if there is a way to eliminate that. For photo editing I use Photoshop CS4. I have been using Photoshop for a long time, but its just like the camera you use. You have to devote the time to learn the program as you would the camera. I am no master by any stretch but have learned to do a lot with it. Like my taxidermy work, I'm just slower than most! LOL
    Boarhunter check into the D40. It is reasonably priced and it really is a great entry level camera. You should be able to find a package on Ebay that will do all you ever need. Good luck!