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  1. #1
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    Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    I just took on the project of photographing the stained glass windows in our church. I've read all the do's and don'ts and know I need to do the following:
    - use a tripod
    - photograph on an overcast (diffuse light) day
    - use an f8 or higher aperture
    - spot meter the red or bright areas and reduce by 1/3 or more f-stops
    - bracket exposures and maybe combine later in photoshop
    - try to get as close to straight on to the windows to avoid parallel line convergence
    - plan on touching up and correcting in photoshop afterwards

    Any other suggestions to help me out?

    I took pictures of the Rose Window over the summer and with 40 shots got one or two that I liked (see attached)... Need to be more efficient with my time as I embark on photographing 30 more windows!

    Thanks for any advice
    Tom
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows-img_2961.jpg  

  2. #2
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    You pretty much have it. A few notes:
    tI will be unlikely that you will be able to hit all the windows with a dead on point of view. For the shots which you cannot, do not crop too tightly in camera. Leave some room around the windows so that you can straighten them out later in PS or whatever you use. You will need the extra room to discard in the straightening process.

    Spot metering the brightest areas is fine, but I think it would be easier for you to just set up your first shot using Manual setting. Set the aperture to what you like (f 8 is fine)and set the shutter so that it reads a standard exposure in camera. Take the first snap and look at your histogram. The histogram should extend from the left almost to the very right, but not quite touching. The setting will be easy to adjust and visualize for each shot with the histogram. Also, keep your white balance set to something constant such as "shade" as opposed to Auto WB. Auto may give you different temps for each image depending on how much more of one color is dominating a particuliar window and or external light sources in the room. You should want all the color temps to be consistent.
    Shoot RAW, you have better ability to tweak to perfection later.

    Just a few immediate things that came to mind. Have fun, and Good luck!!
    Nice image btw, i think you'll do fine.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  3. #3
    shake it like a polaroid picture berrywise's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    I wonder what kind of results you would get from a massive HDR image. Maybe bracket four our five stops.
    Feel free to make my photos look better than I can

  4. #4
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by gahspidy
    tI will be unlikely that you will be able to hit all the windows with a dead on point of view. For the shots which you cannot, do not crop too tightly in camera. Leave some room around the windows so that you can straighten them out later in PS or whatever you use. You will need the extra room to discard in the straightening process.
    Very good point - converging lines is more of a problem the wider you go in terms of focal lengths. It's important to have the camera as level as possible. You may be able to put the camera vertically (portrait), zoom out and have the window at the top of the frame. Crop out the rest of it later, and if it's a pretty good lens this might be your best bet. But, try it and see how it works. Some less expensive lenses aren't very sharp at the edges but you shouldn't have much of a problem at f8 - the problem is usually at wider apertures.

  5. #5
    Member Lemming51's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    If you can use a ladder inside, shooting from it to get off the floor and closer to the window height will help minimize the convergence. A touch of fill flash (especially if off-camera) can expose the window frame/wall so that the stained glass is "in context" rather than floating in a sea of black.

  6. #6
    Not-so-recent Nikon Convert livin4lax09's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    yes, I was going to suggest the same thing about the fill flash. The image you have provided is nice, isolated look, and adequately highlights the detail of the stained glass, but does not really give it any context, which sometimes is what makes the piece truly impressive. A touch of off camera flash should give it enough fill without detracting from the piece.

  7. #7
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Gary pretty much summed it up. Learn to use the edit> transform >skew tool in PS and you can make windows and doors appear to be shot dead on. I use it all of the time.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  8. #8
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I didn't quite understand the comment "You may be able to put the camera vertically (portrait), zoom out and have the window at the top of the frame" Does this mean that you'll get less of a convergence problem with a long lens than a shorter one? I've got a 16-35 and a 70-200 to work with. Is the longer lens at its shortest zoom the best bet?

  9. #9
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    The wider the lens the more distortion you will get. Just think the lens is trying to put more horizon on the same size sensor. That's why at wide angles buildings lean. Gary is right. Leave plenty of room around the subject and it can be straightened in PS.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  10. #10
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by tjr51comcast
    I didn't quite understand the comment "You may be able to put the camera vertically (portrait), zoom out and have the window at the top of the frame" Does this mean that you'll get less of a convergence problem with a long lens than a shorter one? I've got a 16-35 and a 70-200 to work with. Is the longer lens at its shortest zoom the best bet?
    Here's an example with a Sigma 10-20mm lens all the way out at 10mm. I couldn't back up any farther or I'd go off a cliff, so I put the lighthouse at the top of the frame which kept the camera as close to level (vertically level) as it could be. With a longer lens (16mm, 20mm, etc), the camera would have been aimed up higher (less vertically level) so you'd see more of the "falling over backwards" effect.

    There's plenty of stuff that can be cropped off the bottom (and the sides to keep the same ratio). Because of this, I didn't care about the shadow at the bottom of the frame or the part of the building just visible on the right. I know it's not a great shot - just trying to illustrate a point and it took a long time to get to this spot...

    Nothing done to correct any distortion to it in Photoshop, but you can see it's already fairly close. I'm not a Photoshop expert, but have always preferred to start with a file as close to the end result I want as possible.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows-dscf1328.jpg  

  11. #11
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    I wish that I still had that old Nikon 35mm PC lens. If you had a old press camera they had front rise to correct the perspective or a view camera has even more adjustments.
    GRF

    Panorama Madness:

    Nikon D800, 50mm F1.4D AF, 16-35mm, 28-200mm & 70-300mm

  12. #12
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by freygr
    I wish that I still had that old Nikon 35mm PC lens. If you had a old press camera they had front rise to correct the perspective or a view camera has even more adjustments.
    Yeah, you're right - this is where large format cameras really shine. All of those different adjustments can do a lot of the perspective correction that is done in Photoshop with a much cleaner result (the original is fixed rather than stretching pixels later). Nikon and Canon both have a couple of tilt/shift or PC (as in perspective correction) lenses available which aren't a bad way to go either but I think you'd really need a full-frame camera (D3 or film camera) to get the most benefit.

  13. #13
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    Re: Photographing Church Stained Glass Windows

    Doors & Windows is your one stop shop for all of your window and door needs in Oakville, Ontario. See https://oakvillewindowsanddoors.ca/

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