Sunday, 8 February 2009

Photos of grippers

With half an eye on self promotion and another on making what we do visually interesting, nay nigh on visually sexy (at least in advertizing and promotional terms) here's some attempts of mine and the thought process.

Take a quick look at the market place where grippers (as we know them) are concerned. Pretty much it this kind of image (red handle 'beast' to the left). Worse still, in my opinion, is it on a table still in the pack. The CoC grippers at least have photos of the GR8 springs and high resolution images. But the pack features more heavily than I'd prefer. Functional hand strength had some nice photos of the RB's they used to sell (the one with the differing color handles was taken handles end on, in hi-res and with some care.

For inspiration look at how some which can, in its most base form, be little more than a box with an engine and wheels on each corner, a humble car, is advertized. Close ups of brake calipers, bonnet grills and twin exhausts are used. That's without getting into the long but winding road, a fab 'babe' sitting in the passenger seat and someone like Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame exuding it's 'monsterous powerrrrr!!!' and the like. Bonnets are opened and engine bays inspected. Chrome is added here and there and photos are taken from angles which only enhance its appearence. Take this photo of a possible new Jaguar. Note the enhanced lines, special lighting and half side half front angle. The background is merely there to better the lit reflection off of the curves.

Now compare that with the first photo (not as bad as some I could show you). Some thought and quite possibly a little photoshopping, cropping and tweaking has been done to bring out the very best of the cars features.

With all of that in mind I set about creating (and with half a mind to save a buck or two) the best photos of the Robert Baraban grippers I now sell (the self promotion bit) via eBay. To save a buck I took three of the better images, all cropped and edited to buggery and montaged them. That way I only use one image and pay one fee but show (having paid for the small 'super-size' option - something others have not done) three different images in one.

I experimented with a white background as that is the same as the eBay background colour. But a strong contrast worked better. So black it was. Black also hides a ton of sins. I tried using a black cloth (a t-shirt in fact) both crumpled and flat but it still reflected more light than I liked. I ended up somewhat bizarrely using the inside mesh of a hi-fi speaker cover. Even with a flash (not used in the final photos) there was no bounce back from the material.

I then went into 'what do I look for when buying a gripper? mode. If you was to sell me one and with my knowledge of a gripper what would make it stand out for me? Well the finish, so that means close up shots showing the quality of the same. Depth of the knurl so I know it wont slip in my hand. Thickness of the spring, so I can guess at it's tension and so on. I don't want to see glue where the spring inserts into the handle. I don't want to see burrs of any kind. I don't want to see over thick or flaky chrome and so on. So if I have a gripper for sale... ahem... that does not have the bad but does have the good I want to show it well.

The image to our left here could have done with some more light onto the end of the handles (better to show the inch pound numbers) but is otherwise very close to how I wanted it. Not bad for no flash, macro setting and only a strip light for illumination.

The final eBay image is as can be seen. This was merged in, of all things, word using their insert image feature (cos I was too cack handed for paint shop pro). It's still not perfect but compare it to the first one. I even made a version using all the photos and of which is little more than a slide show with words for youtube here. It was done in about 20 minutes (indeed I just noticed a small cock up) so shows what can be done with even a little imagination.

I'd be very interested in hearing if anyone has some cool stuff like this. It's good for me and it's good for the sport.

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