Critique Martin Grand J-28LSE Concert acoustic-electric guitar

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I have a great friend who has twelve guitars. The plan is that I'll eventually photograph all of them even if he continues to buy more guitars. This is the eighth one I've photographed.

I always provide him with compositions ranging from the entire guitar to close-ups. The challenge was to provide photos that are different from another Martin guitar he owns I've already photographed that is essentially the same as far as photos are concerned.

Photo #1 Setup
The background and tabletop are a single sheet of black velvet. A medium continuous-light lamp on the front left as far away from the subject as my tiny, makeshift studio allows lit the entire scene. A white reflector above the guitar brightly lit the tuning machine. A white reflector on the right side brightened the two right strings and that side of the fret board. A small continuous-light lamp on the left brightened that side of the guitar and background, and the entire tabletop.

Photo #2 Setup
Fluorescent ceiling light (I got lucky; while setting up the composition, I realized quite by accident that the room's ceiling light worked as well as anything I could have intentionally devised.) A flash light on the left lit that end of the bridge to display its curve. It also lit the rest of the bridge to add shape to the terminals and to create dramatic shadows of the strings on the saddle.

Photo #3 Setup
A small continuous-light lamp fitted with a diffusion sock was on the left. A white reflector above the scene brightened the logo and lit the tuning machine in bright tones.

Photo #4 Setup

Magnification ratio about 1:1.4 -- A small continuous-light lamp was on the right front and a white reflector was on the left.

Photo #5 Setup
A small continuous-light lamp was on the right and a white reflector above the scene brightened the two top strings.

Photo #1
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Photo #2

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Photo #3
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Photo #4
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Photo #5
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Joined
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Thank you to Nick, Rick and Doug!

On photo #3 I find the slight shadow of the tuning posts in the middle of the headstock a little distracting.
Thanks for mentioning that. I made that photo a few days ago. Since then, sometimes those shadows add a nice sense of depth for me and at other times I also find them a little distracting.
 
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#5 is my fave, but excellent work on the full length one (#1).
Thanks, but I don't like that in #1 the two strings on the right lose their brightness at the top of the fret board. It's less bothersome on a larger image file because at least those two strings can still be seen in that area when displayed larger but it's still bothersome. On the other hand, that detail isn't so serious that I would shoot it again, as that full-length shot is really difficult to do because of the confines of my tiny, makeshift studio.

#5 is also my favorite.
 
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Like them all Mike, but if I had to go for one, it would be #2 because of the contrast provided by the colour and texture in the wood. I don't mind the sharpness fall off from right to left (as viewed)
 
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Nice series Mike.

Nothing to not like. Not your usual Martin Dreadnought shape.

My preference would be for the #3 shot to be sharp from front to back but I can see that you appear to be accentuating the CF Martin Logo.

I wish that I had been able to hold on to every Gibson (and a Guild) that I have owned but the lady of the house would not have approved that.

Someone once told me that his biggest fear was that, after he was gone, his wife would sell his Guitars for what he told her he paid for them. :(
 
Thanks, Dave!

My preference would be for the #3 shot to be sharp from front to back but I can see that you appear to be accentuating the CF Martin Logo.
I had already photographed the headstock of my friend's Martin D-35 up close and with everything in focus. The only differences between the two headstocks are minor: color of stain on the wood and shape of the tuning pegs. To make this photo different, I used slightly different lighting and composition along with a much smaller depth of field (wide open aperture).

Someone once told me that his biggest fear was that, after he was gone, his wife would sell his Guitars for what he told her he paid for them. :(
I've seen the same fear written about photo gear. :ROFLMAO:
 
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I love #4. I would never have found that composition :)

Five..... I can't get past it being upside down.
 
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Thank you to Binnur and Rob!

Five..... I can't get past it being upside down.
There is no upside down or right side up; when the guitar is laid flat on its back, it's a matter of which side of the guitar you're standing on when you look down toward it. In this case, the viewer is standing on the side of the guitar the large strings are closest to.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
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Mike,
My preferences are shots 4 and 5, simply because they are unusual points of view. The other photos while nicely done, are similar to what one sees at the Martin site or on any number of sites where guitars are discussed or sold. As for the guitar itself, I prefer the Dreadnoughts and have a 1974 D-28 that sounds like angels singing.
Robert
 
The other photos while nicely done, are similar to what one sees at the Martin site or on any number of sites where guitars are discussed or sold.
Thanks for the compliment! I agree that those photos are similar in composition and lighting to standard photos of guitars and that's by design. That's because I'm gradually documenting my friend's guitar collection over time, so the documentary style is appropriate for some of the photos.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks for the compliment! I agree that those photos are similar in composition and lighting to standard photos of guitars and that's by design. That's because I'm gradually documenting my friend's guitar collection over time, so the documentary style is appropriate for some of the photos.
Mike,
It could be worse. I've got a good friend who buys, restores, sells, but mostly collects electric guitars and currently has about 125 filling his basement.
When he wants to sell something he shoots with a cellphone and the photos always have unwanted shadows, hotspots and other problems that I've explained could be corrected with proper equipment and technique.
We have on occasion discussed how a proper mini set could be built, but so far he hasn't felt the need to take it on. I assume that one day when he decides to sell some of his more exotic and valuable pieces that we will collaborate and I'll be doing this sort of photography for him.
Robert
 

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