Firearm photography is for skilled photographers. The forged or cast metals soak up light and create a less detailed picture. Learning how to photograph firearms is similar to relearning how to use a camera and take photos. However, Jeff Lynch can provide detailed instructions on how to take the perfect photograph of any firearm.
Controlling the Light
When it comes to light sources, bigger is better. A large light source that is close to the subject creates softer lighting and captures more details. It is not recommended to photograph firearms in direct sunlight. The reason is that sunlight is a harsh light that the firearm will absorb. Photograph the firearm in a shaded area outside for the best results.
One Big and One Small Light
Use a diffusion panel as the primary light source to create shade. A combination of fill flash and natural light will keep the details of the firearm pristine. A simple desk lamp with a CF bulb can provide highlights. A CF bulb will prevent natural light from having a different color as the artificial light. Incandescent bulbs tend to have a yellow hue when photographed with diffused sunlight.
An outdoor studio is the most advantageous place to photograph firearms. A shaded area provides the perfect primary light. Photographing the firearm on a white surface is beneficial because of its reflective properties. Light reflected from underneath the firearm will keep details along the outside perimeter of the firearm.
Maintaining a firearm requires regular cleaning. When photographing a firearm, it is important to keep the gun pristine. Fingerprints distract from the firearm’s beauty. A firearm with oil will distort a photograph. It is important to remove gun oil before taking photos. Reapplying oil is important after photos are taken. A simple field strip and cleaning are necessary to remove oil, lint, and fingerprints. Black-oxide coated or parkerized firearms can be cleaned and oiled. This is to even out color differences between the frame and slide.
Picking a camera that produces high-resolution photos is an important key. Turn off any built-in flash to allow the diffused light to surround the firearm. A tripod will eliminate a shaky hand from ruining a photograph. The lowest ISO setting(80 or 100) will improve the image’s quality. Using the optical zoom will keep the quality and sharpness of the firearm intact. Selecting a manual or aperture mode will allow the photographer to control the camera’s depth field. A higher aperture means a smaller lens opening and greater depth to be captured.