add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up authorcheckmark clipboard combo comment delete discord dots drag-handle dropdown-arrow errorfacebook history inbox instagram issuelink lock markup-bbcode markup-html markup-pcpp markup-cyclingbuilder markup-plain-text markup-reddit menu pin radio-button save search settings share star-empty star-full star-half switch successtag twitch twitter user warningwattage weight youtube

Need PC Photography Advice!

saracatlee

20 months ago

Can any photographers out there give advice when it comes shooting photos of your PC with all the LEDs on? I spent $1000 on a Lumix G85 and it shoot gorgeous photos and videos but when it comes to taking pics of my PC with the LEDs on, all the colors are washed out and not as vibrant as I expected. I've seen other builds and when I ask "what camera did you use" and they reply "iPhone" I can't help but wonder if I'm doing something wrong in my camera settings. Keep in mind I'm not a photographer.

You can see what I'm talking about in my build, especially the second picture: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/8LbXsY

I had to really add saturation in my editing software to make it look like that, and even then it still looks weird. Here's an example of the look I'd like to achieve, and this was taken with a smartphone: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/ZtNQzy

Any tips?

Comments

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Adjust the ISO to a lower level, along with maybe adjusting shutter speeds until you find a good photo. Just try these settings until something works.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, if you have HDR, turn it on.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Just something general, but try to take pics outside in like good scenery.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello saracatlee,

I also shoot micro 4/3, own 2 Olympus OMD cameras (EM1 II and EM5 II) and a Panasonic GM5.

I have never tried taking pictures of a LED lit computer, but I can make a few suggestions, that are going to be useful for any pictures where you have bright light sources that you're trying not to "wash out." I can also make some suggestions on how to mimic the iPhone "look" for this photo in terms of perspective and depth of field.


The first component to getting a good picture of an environment with colored source lighting, is to try not to over-expose those light sources, or if you do, only barely. This type of picture may be challenging to accomplish with a single exposure, because there is a lot of dynamic range at work here in your case with the black interior against bright lights.

Almost all cell phones these days are using sophisticated methods of combining multiple exposures to produce a high-dynamic-range image when there is a lot of low light and still subject involved. You can build your own high dynamic range image by placing the camera on a tripod and taking multiple exposures 1 stop apart, then processing them in an editor like photolab or lightroom, then using separate HDR software to "mux" them into a single shot. When doing this, the range of photos taken to produce the HDR miage should include shots that expose for the darkest shadows, and others that expose for the brightest lights, so that you have full, unclipped properly exposed color information for all parts of the image.

It may be possible to get enough dynamic range out of a single shot... your G85 has an edge over an iphone in terms of raw sensor performance and dynamic range by about 2 full stops...

http://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Apple%20iPhone%207,Panasonic%20Lumix%20DMC-G85

Those 2 stops of additional dynamic range, when combined with some post processing to lift the shadows and a properly exposed-to-the-right shot of the PC may work well. The shadow lifting process will generate some noise, but this can be processed out (resulting in a loss of detail). However, if the intended destination for the photo is just web/social media stuff, then you have a lot of resolution to "burn" on pulling up shadows without any concern.

Use the lowest available native iso setting to maximize the dynamic range of the camera. Shoot RAW to preserve the full dynamic range of the image, you'll want to edit this after the fact for best results. Camera processed JPGs will "dispose" of dynamic range with exaggerated contrast/tone curves applied agnostically to all images.

Use exposure metering tools on the camera to expose for the lights (histogram). The rest of the image may appear nearly dark in the viewfinder, that's fine. Adjust the exposure until the "light sources" in the image are not showing up as over-exposed on the histogram or being "painted orange" by the over exposure indicators. Expose "to the right" of the histogram without over-exposing to capture the maximum dynamic range possible with the camera. If you're not sure.. take several photos at different exposures to experiment on in post process.

Shoot in manual, shutter priority, or aperture priority mode. (I prefer aperture priority for this type of work personally).

Open the raw in a raw editor like darktable, photolab, lightroom, etc. Use the adjustment tools to lift the shadows, pull down the highlights, and manipulate the tone curves and/or contrast/saturation etc, apply the usual set of local contrast/sharpening to taste. Adjust color to taste. By assuring the highlights aren't blown in the original photo, you should have full color data to work with for the LED color sources. I like to use a program called rawpictureviewer to rapidly preview raws and look at their exposure. It shows a very detailed histagrogram, and when properly configured for your camera, can show what percentage of pixels in an image are over-exposed on each color channel. This can be a helpful tool in learning how to expose on your specific camera for best results.

If you capture the image without "blowing" the highlights, then from a raw editor, you'll have plenty of color data to work with to give the image some god punch.

As an alternative to all that work, your G85 likely has an "HDR" mode that does basically the same thing described above for you. I would still advise shooting in a mode that you can control exposure compensation up or down a bit (recommend pulling down a bit for more saturated colors from the HDR). In my experience, HDR mode has drawbacks in these cameras, as it just doesn't apply as much careful processing as you would yourself to those images. It typically produces "bland/flat/compressed" looking images as a result of too much dynamic range in the final image.

Some other things to consider....

Keep in mind that a cell phone uses a very small camera sensor. It can take a close shot of a computer with the entirety of its insides in focus with a low f-stop ratio because the effective aperture size is still small. If you want the full depth of the computer to be in focus, while filling the frame, on a larger sensor camera like the G85, you may have to use a smaller aperture ratio than the camera may default to in auto mode.

I was just looking up the iPhone 8 specs... I believe that picture you linked was likely taken with the "telephoto" lens on the iPhone, which I estimate is probably around 10-11mm F2.8 on a ~5.4X crop factor sensor size relative to full frame. You're shooting a 2X crop factor camera, so you'll probably want to shoot around 28mm mm focal length at about F8 aperture to achieve a similar depth of field.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

THANKS SO MUCH!

Sort

add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up authorcheckmark clipboard combo comment delete discord dots drag-handle dropdown-arrow errorfacebook history inbox instagram issuelink lock markup-bbcode markup-html markup-pcpp markup-cyclingbuilder markup-plain-text markup-reddit menu pin radio-button save search settings share star-empty star-full star-half switch successtag twitch twitter user warningwattage weight youtube