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Saxophone Home Photography for all

The modern digital era has made necessary for anyone on the Internet to acquire at least a minimum of photographic skills in order to be able to use pictures for a number of purposes on the web.

Of course we all know the old proverb: “ A picture is worth a thousand words “ so, in many ways taking pictures helps anyone to better describe anything also when attempting to ask for information on something that we are trying to identify or perhaps sell.

While in order to pursue this goal it is not necessary, for most of us, to become an accomplished photographer and acquire backgrounds, studio lights or an expensive camera to make what we want to show particularly “ beautiful”, it is at lest desirable that we can, at the very least, document well what we want to show by making the best use of what we have available to us.

Unfortunately, these last few years, despite digital cameras having become reasonably priced and of a very good quality indeed, many have taken to use the mobile phone instead of the camera. In some case it is very possible to use the better phones and tablets to do that but it is obvious to me that the majority of people don’t own phones which are capable to be used for this purpose and if they do, they don’t really know how to use them.

So, in order to produce usable images, I would prefer using, a very modest but proper camera, to shoot any pictures of my saxophones and I would warmly recommend you to do the same.

Here a few simple instructions to do just that.

The best way to depict a saxophone is to lay it down flat on the floor or a low table.

So many put a saxophone on a stand and take a picture, from a high viewpoint , standing beside the saxophone, shooting, at the very best a decent picture of the neck. This won’t do.

I normally place the saxophone on a low white table. The room where I shoot these pictures has white walls and has two windows on each side.

Consider the fact that generally a saxophone is made of reflective metal and it will reflect what’s around itself.
So, shooting the pictures in a room with white walls and ceiling will certainly help taking a good picture. The closer they are to the saxophone the more the metal will reflect an even surface. However if you put you saxophone is a so called “ light tent” uniformly lit on all sides, it will reflect only a white surface making it appear made of a white or gold surface but because there is no reflection you won’t perceive it as be made of metal.

Some degree of reflection is, in fact, good. Our brains translate that into "an object made of metal ".

The window(s) provide a good light source for the purpose of showing your saxophone, you don’t really need a source of artificial light. Keep things simple unless you want to study photography and get to a different level.

First of all make sure that you have a tripod. You are likely to want to use a narrow aperture and a slow shutter speed (even if you shoot automatic) and, in order not to blur the pictures with undesired motion, the only accessory that I absolutely recommend is a tripod and a sturdy one too!

Place the camera more or less on top of the saxophone or at a slight angle and focus or make sure the autofocus is actually pointed at a relevant bit of the saxophone and not the background. If your camera has a “ macro” setting, often indicated with a flower or a tulip, select it and use it.

If you can chose the aperture use one with f-stop value around 8 to 11 this will guarantee the best optical results and keep everything in focus. Since even shooting with the tripod might cause a motion blurred picture when you depress the shutter release button, use the self timer of the camera, this will allow you also to move away because otherwise your image will be reflected in the saxophone.If you see that too much of the environment is reflecting in the saxophone, you can help a little the image if you put , for example a white styrofoam panel in from of the tripod to prevent its reflection in the saxophone.

I often shoot things with myself reflected in the saxophone and don’t always protect the tripod and still achieve decent result. Experiment! Good Luck!
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Useful & informative..
Thanks Milandro. This information is invaluable.
Thanks for an extremely useful resource
Very useful and informative resource. I have struggled in the past. Thanks very much.
Some very important basics for those starting out.
Great insight from a professional.
Thanks very much h for your expertise Milandro
Anyone that tries to sell a sax should read this.
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