Author: Timothée Pineau
Overclocking photography is certainly not new. Even ten years ago people loved sharing their system pictures, especially if the hardware was covered by a layer of frost and ice. As HWBOT encourages us to complete our benchmark submission pages with system pictures – it is mandatory in most competitions – most of us developed a habit of quickly taking out our smartphone for a couple of 2AM nightly photos.
Yes, you know what I am talking about. A shot completely out of focus, showing the aftermath your battle with hardware showing a big mess with tissues in every corner of the shot. It’s a photo destined to win awards on big international photography competitions. Or perhaps not?
After the post I shared on the topic of Pro OC and professionalism two weeks ago, I started thinking about the level of photography in overclocking. When browsing through the system pictures uploaded here at HWBOT, I came to the conclusion most of the picture are nowhere near usable for potential followers. That includes both an audience of people who want to learn about overclocking or partners who might help you out with a couple of gear left and right.
In this quick guide, we will take a look at how to take “better” pictures with 6 simple tips!
Tip 1: Don’t use your smartphone
Unless you manage to focus correctly, the complexity of an overclocking rig confuses a smartphone camera more often than not.
Most of us take a system picture with whatever camera-capable device we have lying around. The point is to not have the picture-taking interfere with for example filling up the liquid nitrogen pot. But of course the result usually is poor picture quality.
High-end smartphones these days are capable of making great shots, but usually the combination of low light and smoke makes it difficult to do anything proper. Especially the focus can be a problem, since there’s so much to focus on: hardware, logos, colors, cables and so on. If you have a DSLR camera, use it! If your mom has a compact camera, us that one instead! You will see it makes a difference.
Tip 2: Clean up the mess
I know: the mess on the table is kind of cool. It shows the overclocking result is the epitome of hours battling the system juggling between torch, kitchen paper, Vaseline, hair dryer and thermal past. In the end the table looks pretty much like this (see right).
If cleaning up isn’t your thing – we are all tired after an intense session – simply do things differently. Just take the picture before you start Pro-tip: pots without neoprene look great!
(source: overclocking-tv (left) and l0ud_sil3nc3`s HWBOT Prime of 4624.36 pps with Intel Xeon X5270 (right))
Tip 3: Focus on the hardware
There really is nothing worse than a picture which needs a decryption team to figure out what it is about. People are visual creatures and if a person cannot tell what their looking at in the blink of an eye, they will probably move on quickly. There will be no connection between your beautiful rig and your audience.
There are plenty of ways to make your picture look appealing and great looking pictures present as great ROI on social media platforms. Have a look at the pages of the hardware vendors: they share great looking systems by casemodders all the time.
If you know a professional casemodder, ask for some tips. Nowadays the standard of photography is very high in that community.
Tip 4: Light, light, light!
If you’ve been doing a bit of photography, you might have realized that light is important. It’s not just about being dark or bright but mainly about seeing stuff. The light is also what draws the attention in your image. Use it!
Here, you may also think about colors. Make it look appealing and interesting.
Step 5: The little details of personalizing your system
Every system and overclocking session is unique. Pictures help you remember some of your great overclocking moments and adding small details to the pictures may improve that experience. Pay attention to the details and you’ll make your picture look more interesting.
Some overclockers use system pictures to introduce their signature mascot. Others prefer using watermarks to give thanks to their sponsors. What about you? How do you personalize your system pictures?
Tip 6: Be creative, inspire and let people dream
Finally, be creative. Even after using all five tips I mentioned before, it is quite likely that your pictures will look similar to the plethora of pictures we can already find at HWBOT. Although a great looking system picture can make a person follow your activities, the changes of that happening are slim if your pictures are the same.
The most important part of sharing your picture is inspiring people to either follow you or try overclocking themselves. Let people dream! A picture featuring a lot of nitrogen vapor or a close-angled snowed in hardware landscape is more inspiring than a closed-case with LED lights popping up.
You can use black & white, add vignette, tweak the colors or (and I know the real photographers out there will hate me for this) Instagram it. Inspire! Don’t just replicate.
I hope the couple of tips will you help improve your hardware system pictures and make you feel inspired to try things a bit differently. If you have tips of your own, feel free to share them with us in the comments below.
‘Till the next time!
To end with, my latest favorite overclocking picture! Props to Wizerty!