Professional Firearms Photography

Photography Services

Standard Photography Packages

Twigg Pocket Pistols I have been doing professional quality photography of firearms and accouterments for a number of years. This started as an effort to document my own work. Now, I occasionally provide professional firearms and accouterments photography services to others. I offer a standard documentary package for a rifle or other long gun, of twelve (or more as the detail dictates) finished images for $99. Images of a small object cost $49, which includes up to 6 finished images.

The standard firearms packages are for long guns or pistols photographed vertically on a stand with a rod in the barrel. These are shadowless images shot against a white paper background, although the background can be replaced in post processing at additional cost. I impart some depth to the weapon by having one side of the object lit a little brighter than the other. The barrel is always the brightest side.

Small objects may be imaged suspended vertically from a frame or on a table top. As with the guns, the suspended objects are photographed with one side slightly brighter than the other, but there is no shadow on a supporting surface. If a shadow on a supporting surface is required, then a different setup using a table or the floor will be needed. I don’t usually do table top work at gun shows, but it can be arranged. The same package price of $49 applies whether with shadows or without shadows as long as I am able to group like work in the most efficient manner, either at a show or at my home studio.

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On-Location Photography Projects

The prices listed above are for those specific services at a show or my home. There is a $800 daily minimum, plus actual travel expenses, for professional services at any other location. However, it only takes eight longrifles to meet that daily minimum. If you have eight or more longrifles to photograph, ask me for a quote. Depending on the circumstances, your price per gun could be less than $100 each. Otherwise, it is probably best to catch me at one of the events I attend or consider bringing the work to me at my home studio.

If you would like me to come to your show or event to provide photography services to your attendees, I may settle for a free space, table, and chair. It all depends on how much work I figure I could expect. Just so you know, I need, at an absolute minimum, 9’x 12′ of open space with electricity to setup for my standard firearms photography. More space is better. Use the contact form if you believe you have an opportunity for me.

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More than Firearms Photography

Purely decorative contemporary framed fraktur water color of several birds and flowers.I can photograph more than firearms. I am equipped and experienced in imaging all sorts of small objects; either shadowless, or table top with a shadow. A small object can be most any object less than 24″ square and less than 10 lbs using either lighting setup. Swords, bags, or horns may be suspended from a frame or posed on a table top. Documents and artwork may be pinned (not through the object) to foam board clamped to a vertical frame for copying. Large or heavy objects can be photographed in place, on location, as long as there is sufficient room for the required lighting.

I stock super white and super black paper for either the shadowless or shadowed lighting setup, but I can get most any color paper backdrop you require for a small fee. If you want a solid color, shadowless, background, it is best to photograph on white paper and replace the background in post processing. That only costs $15 per image. I can also put paper backdrops up to 103″ wide under a large object, if it can be moved.

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Special Photography Services

Focus Stacking

I am experienced in number of advanced techniques that can provide for extra special images. One of those techniques is focus stacking; a process that is used to bring all the parts of a object into sharp focus that would not otherwise be in focus due to its size, and shape.

Engraved French and Indian War powder hornThere a number of image samples below that utilize the focus stacking technique. All of the powder horn images consist of several photos with different focal points combined to show the horn in perfect focus at all points. This is necessary because distance between the camera lens and any given point on the horn may vary considerably relative to the distance between the horn and the camera.

The same problem exists when trying to photograph the Queen Anne pistol from the top or bottom. The relatively large distance from the mask to the underside of the cock jaw makes it impossible to pick one focal point where everything is in sharp focus. Creating a half dozen images, each with a different focal point, makes it possible to produce one final image with everything in focus. This is focus stacking.

The same thing is done with the hilt of the sword example shown below. The hilt is photographed at an angle, producing a considerable distance from the lion’s head pommel cap to the blade. Taking several photos of the hilt focused at different spots along the hilt make it possible to see the entire hilt is perfect, high resolution, focus.

As you might have guessed, I have used focus stacking many times. The technique takes a little more time, both during and after the photo shoot, but not prohibitively so. There is only a small additional charge per finished image to employ the technique.

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Object Virtual Reality

Another advanced technique I use for product photography is object virtual reality. This is another computer facilitated technique that allows multiple images taken around an object to be assembled into a special video. That video allows someone using a web browser to rotate the object in virtual space to view it from different angles. All virtual reality work is very labor intensive, even with sophisticated software. Consequently, it can be relatively costly. However, I will do a simple object virtual reality video of a small suspended object for $149. I would be happy to discuss in more detail, this or a more complicated

Click and drag your mouse cursor horizontally across the image to spin the powder horn below. You can use you mouse wheel (scroll) to zoom in and out. You must zoom all the way out in order to spin the horn.

Image Retouching and Masking

All of my images are processed through a piece of software from Adobe called Lightroom. This software allows me to take my RAW images from the camera and make a number of adjustments such as exposure, contrast, and sharpness. I can also brighten dark areas and lighten overly bright areas. There are literally dozens of adjustments that I can make to an image. The final image is always a result of my artistic judgement. There is no such thing as a camera being able to exactly capture an object or scene. That is a myth. Any photographic image is as much the result of the photographer’s artistic judgment and skill as is a fine oil painting the result of the painter’s artistic judgement and skill.

In fact, many images must be retouched in Adobe Photoshop using a technique that is very reminiscent of oil painting. Usually I only do such retouching to remove supports from the image. That generally consists of the removing the rod from the barrel of a firearm or fishing line from a suspended sword or powder horn. Only extremely rarely will I retouch anything else in an image unless it is required to correct an imaging mistake on my part. I understand that it is important that my images represent the original object as closely as possible.

With the imperative in mind to represent the original object as closely as possible, I use a known tone/color reference card in order to get the color as close to the original as possible. The reference card combined with a feature in Lightroom help me get the color very close. However, since there is generally more than one light source (of slightly different colors) impacting a photographed object, I usually must use my judgement to set the colors in the final image. I calibrate my monitor monthly with a colorimeter in order to make sure that my color choices can be reproduced properly on another monitor or printer.

longrifle buttstock with replaced backgroundLastly, I usually photograph objects shadowless against a white background. This is to facilitate masking, which involves removing the background so that the image can be placed on a pure white (a white background is never pure white) or other color background for web or print publication. Masking can be a pricey service (which is why it is normally outsourced overseas), but it is something I can do, and provide with an image to be published.

To discuss a project, call or text me at 804 746-8288 or use the Contact form to send me an e-mail.

All the photos on this page are Copyright 2011-2018 Mark E. Elliott, All Rights Reserved, and used with the permission of the object owner. No reproduction of any kind is allowed without permission.

Professional Photography Samples

Contemporary Longrifle by Marvin Kemper – Shadowless ImagesContemporary Longrifle by Marvin Kemper- Shadowless Images.

Antique Longrifle by Baxter Bean – Shadowless Imageslongrifle shadowless photographs, right side, full length

Antique Pistol by Ilisha Bull – Shadowless ImagesAntique Pistol by Ilisha Bull - Shadowless images, three quarter view

Pistol by Steve Lodding – Shadowless Images with Focus StackingContemporary Pistol - Shadowless Photography with Focus Stacking<

Antique Sword and Scabard – Shadowless Images with Focus StackingAntique Sword and Scabard - Shadowless images with Focus Stacking

Contemporary Early VA Style Pouch & Horn – Shadowless ImagesPouch #20 with Horn #20; another early VA style powder horn with at turned antler tip.

Table Top Photography of Powder Horns with Focus StackingTable Top Photography of Powder Horns with Focus Stacking

Tabletop Photograpy Samples of Miscellaneous ItemsHandblown glass vase

Set PiecesSet piece of an antique southern iron mounted flintlock rifle, shot pouch, and powder horn on mottled background

To discuss a project, call or text me at 804 746-8288 or use the Contact form to send me an e-mail.