Taking the highest quality photographic shots of a knife is not really easy. Sure, with modern cameras everyone can come up with a nice image of a knife, or any subject for that matter.
But giving life to the subject, capturing its essence, is not so simple.
Taking fine photographs of subjects such as custom knives involves a number of important steps. Several factors influence quality still-life photography, including the appropriate cameras, the lenses, and the most important aspect of all – the quality of the light that truly gives life to the subject. Photographing custom knives is particularly challenging because we have, in the same subject, very different types of materials. For example, sometimes we may encounter a mirror finished blade near a dark mammoth ivory handle with gold inlays.
These different materials require different intensity and amounts of light. Managing this aspect of the process is eased somewhat through post production computer programs like Photoshop.
When photographing knives, I often take different shots with varied exposures, lighting, and reflective properties that may not typically be present at the same time. Combining these subtle aspects of photography, however, allows me to produce an image that is real and stunning. Relying solely on computer programs to enhance or correct an image is a grave error. For me, it is of primary importance to produce the finest images possible during the photo session, utilizing the tools of the latest technology to refine them to perfection.
We are living in a world where quite often, images are used more than words.
Many of us have good cameras or the latest smartphone.
With these tools we can easily shoot nice photos.
This may create the impression that to produce a professional photo it is done in the same way, a fast click... and that the camera and the computer do everything.
In reality, the click of the shutter is only one step in a long process.
You may be interested to understand the process:
we use to shoot the photos of the knives that are featured in my books.
After many years of experience with this type of shooting our skills allow us great control of lights, colors of materials and the steel of the subjects that we shoot.
All the knives are photographed against a neutral background, which is then eliminated during processing by inserting the final background.
For the shoot I use a precision optical bench manufactured by the Italian firm Silvestri.
This bench allows great control of perspective and depth of field.
The camera is complemented by some exceptional lenses made for digital photography by the German company Schneider Optics and use of the P25 Phase One digital back.
This method of work is very efficient, but still requires many hours that my wife Mirella and I take during the shoot, and afterwards with the many hours spent on our Apple computers to insure the result is absolutely perfect.
On the following pages you can see some examples of how the knife is cut from the background and how every part that composes the knife and require different elaboration processes is first separated in order to work at the best efficiency and then reassembled for the final image.