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I use either a flat bed scanner with a cloth over the knife, or a digital camera (Sony Mavica 91). I don't get exactly professional results, and I don't have Jim Weyer's skills. The flat bed scanner has higher resolution, and the camera has more flexibility and mobility.
Neither works well with mirror finishes.
The scanner works better when I crank up the brightness. Play with the angle for the least bad lighting, rotate the image later as necessary. With the Mavica, I've gotten the best results, combined with Corel Photo Edit 3, by taking the picture at 1024x768, 72 DPI resolution, and reducing it to 640x480 or less with higher resolution.
Touching up and cropping in an image editing program helps the results.
The ones on my webpage below were taken using a 35mm Pentax K1000 fully manual camera. They were indoor shots with artificial lighting so I also had to use a tripod, especially for the super closeups. The close-ups were done using a set of diopters that screw onto the end of the lens. You lose depth perception and light by using them, but they are WAY cheaper than a set of bellows, so I suppose there is a trade off. That setup has allowed me to take some good knife pictures and some great outdoor detail photos of flowers.
As far as getting the image on the webpage, I had a friend scan them for me. The scanning always seems to darken the pictures, and I have a new crop to send him soon, so I will see if he can lighten the next batch up a step or two. Digital camera would be great because you can instantly upload the image, by the sounds of it, and skip the scanning step, but you probably have to pay a pretty hefty sum for a nice one, I would imagine. If you are really interested in pictures of some knives I would recommend finding someone with some decente quipment and check out a few books on basic photography. Once you get the hang of f-stops, shutter speed, and aperature settings, then there isn't a whole lot of composition for recording details of knives. You can bring some art into it, but simply taking shots to put on the web for others to see doesn't require a whole lot of composition. In fact, I used a paper shopping bag for the background on my last set, so I'll be interested to see how they turned out. Also
shot them in the shade outdoors. I'd even be willing to take some photos for you if you would send me the knife or knives. I enjoy doing it for the sake of a hobby that I don't get to do much anymore, and I have some spare time for about four weeks here. I would require money for the return insured postage and film, but I wouldn't charge for the service itself. A roll or two of film and return shipping...maybe $15 total give or take? I wouldn't charge for my time. I could either send raw film back or get them developed (another five and a half bucks here). I'd be willing to do it. Problem is having to part with the knives for a few days. Let me know if you're interested in doing anything like that. Otherwise I'd suggest getting your own camera and getting to it. I ought my camera and lens about 10 years ago, probably, for around $125-$150. Fully manual cameras are getting hard to find, too these days. Anyway, the tripod is my dad's, and the diopters were under $25.
The above is done with a scanner. The finishing touches are done in Adobe Photoshop 5.
The above shot is with a Kodak DC-260 Digital camera. As are all the images we took at the Blade Show.
Before I got the DC-260 I used a Nikon F-5. The DC-260 gives me very good results for the web and removes several steps from the process. Also you can not tell how the image really came out until you develop the film. Not so with digital cameras as you know right then how it looks and if you do not like it you can delete it and shoot again.
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