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Choppa Nutta

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Reply with quote  #1 
Given the importance of good photography as Bobby indicated in the
show I thought a discussion thread might be handy here for this GB [smile]

Seeing as Bobby said some nice things about my photography and
worked in various media from theatre to video games I thought I
would get the ball rolling and share my thoughts on it.

Everyone seems to bang on about camera settings and fancy
lights but for me the most important thing is setting the stage.
Sure get the settings best you can but setting the model up with
good angles and positioned in the frame correctly or choosing
backgrounds that don't stretch your cameras dynamic range.

I think there a lot of basic things that help to get good results
from cheap equipment, but I think my first suggestion would be
to take lots and lots of photos, ten times as many as you need
and then just weed out all the bad ones, out of focus, poor
composition, delete ruthlessly, be your own worst critic and get
fussy. If there are some nice angles you liked, retake them.

My next thought is in choosing a decent back drop, be it
single colour or a photo. Some colours are problematic for 
cheaper cameras like black can accentuate the contrast and
flatten the highlights, red can be blurry or glowy so to speak
plus warm coloured backgrounds create a certain cognitive
dissonance as in nature the further away something is the
more the colours tend to fade and cool so using cool colours
can trick the eye into perceiving a distance that's not there,
whites and silvers can glare and make everything look flat.

At the same time you want a back ground that constrasts
well with the model, using cool grey backgrounds on grey
models might lose you some definition and the model won't
stand out where as on a blue or green it would jump out the
page more, choosing nice shades helps and the single colours
are easy as a big sheet of paper curved along the table top
and up the wall. Photo back drops are cool too but I like to
use something uncluttered with good colours for the job.

Dioramas can be thought of as being somewhere inbetween
backdrop and model and require the considerations of both.

Next is lighting, can't beat daylight for showing a model off,
but if you got to do indoors you might need to get creative.
If you have a tripod and know how to use your shutter speed
for low light then please explain how you do it to the rest of us
or indeed if anyone has equipment recommendations or other
technical insights please say, I've a lot to learn too hey [smile]


I simply used all the household lights I could get my hands on, four.
My desk has a small fluorescent light above at the back lighting
the backdrop and the model from above, behind & to the left a bit.
I put Two of the lights on the opposite corner of the stage on the
front right pointing at the model and the fourth went on the front
left doing likewise.

I tried to get the lights as close as possible without encroaching
upon the frame of the shot, adjust them for each shot to get the
lights highlight the right areas, selected auto and squeezed the
trigger with my FinePix F-50, nothing fancy, I did adjust the conrast
in photoshop to help things along, cropped them for better framing.

There are of course a whole range of artistic lighting options like
moody back lighting, coloured lights, which are cool but for showing
your model off for judging we want to see the surface detail clearly,
we to avoid highlights on canopies so we can see inside, we want to
avoid certain details lining up that might cause the shape to look funny
or odd, see picture below of an example of how things line up against you [smile]
You want to show the shape off well, in focus, no shadows in awkward
places, as best you can anyhow.

For each setup I take at least 5 or 10 shots though and delete the weeds.

[Cameron++gaffe] 

Considerations of camera distance, particularly regarding getting the
whole model in focus, I find the closer my camera gets the more it
struggles and I figure it's because of the focal range and it's limits.

The nearer the camera gets to the model the larger the ratio of the
near part to the far part which means stretching the focal range,
too close and the nose and tail can look blurred whilst the middle
can be in focus. To get around this I move th camera further away
and either zoom in or if I have high enough resolution simply crop
the image in photoshop, I find this good for the macro shots, zoom
in as much as possible to get the camera as far away as possible,
if my picture res is 3200 across and my final result is going to posted
up at 1200 across I move the camera back till the object fills one third
of the screen roughly and then crop in photoshop, simple and dirty but
it works well, only if you have an optical zoom though, digital zoom usually sucks.....

Making them a sensible resolution for easy viewing is a good idea,
posting up images 3000 pixels across is pointless unless you're printing
them as they take longer to load and can clog up some peoples machines,
flicking through is slow and painful. Better to do a selection of close
ups rather than thinking hi rez means better zoom in etc. There's a lot of 
photos to get through when judging, anything you can do to make it
easier the better [smile]

anyhow that's probably enough in one go but like I said, I thought I would get
the ball rolling as there are some things I want to learn about photography.
There seems to be a number of people here who are good with a camera
and it would be great to hear their insights too, hopefully [smile]


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TedUSA

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Reply with quote  #2 
Some great points! I have posted photography stuff here before but my own final images are pretty poor. I'm going to really try to do my future ones better. I've really never found a "good" video on product photography to share here that was simple yet inclusive. I refer to product photography becasue I think the techniques and set-ups used are perhaps the closest to what we would be doing for scale models???? what do you think??
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pinterest pg. of scale models/dioramas:
http://www.pinterest.com/intrstinpintrst/awesome-scale-models/


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Choppa Nutta

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yes I think so Ted, it definitely has the Product Shot thing going on here but also the Movie Poster shot too,
very similar in lots of ways really, portraits, good reference shots, all that kind of thing can apply here.

One thing I forgot to mention was I always like to include 4 or 5 or more shots of the whole model
unencumbered by the surrounding frame, so that there is a space between the model and the edge
of the photo, the model is inside the safe frame and then do a variety pf close ups as well, but if
everyone does that it gives more options making a poster plus it's nice to see the whole model all in
one go without looking crowded by the edges. etc.

Most important thing is to experiment, change one thing at a time and make comparisons, try again and again. [smile]


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Corel

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Reply with quote  #4 
Good instructions Paul! I started to learn "how to make photos" lately.
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Choppa Nutta

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Reply with quote  #5 
thank you Corel, thought it might worth bringing up for discussion, glad it's of some use [smile]


I'm hoping Fabian and others might chip in too hopefully [smile]

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vdbo76

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Reply with quote  #6 
I'm by no means a professional photographer, but I'm definitely my worst critic :-).
Paul explains the basics very well: as much light as possible, keep camera steady, choose an interesting point of view (I like to keep the cam low) shoot a lot and only show the best ones :-)

In the WIP I use my iPhone 6. Makes very nice pictures if there is enough light. And I like that I can choose the focus point by simply taping it on the screen. For the final ones I really take the time to make them. Backdrop, lights, cleaning the model and using my big camera so I can play with the shutter time. I posted a little explanation at the end of my last final reveal, scroll to the end...
http://genessis-models.websitetoolbox.com/post/good-morning-da-nang-f4b-eduard-148-7843523?pid=1290299987

Maybe that helps a little? Feel free to ask!

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WALSHAMP

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vdbo76
I'm by no means a professional photographer, but I'm definitely my worst critic :-). Paul explains the basics very well: as much light as possible, keep camera steady, choose an interesting point of view (I like to keep the cam low) shoot a lot and only show the best ones :-) In the WIP I use my iPhone 6. Makes very nice pictures if there is enough light. And I like that I can choose the focus point by simply taping it on the screen. For the final ones I really take the time to make them. Backdrop, lights, cleaning the model and using my big camera so I can play with the shutter time. I posted a little explanation at the end of my last final reveal, scroll to the end... http://genessis-models.websitetoolbox.com/post/good-morning-da-nang-f4b-eduard-148-7843523?pid=1290299987 Maybe that helps a little? Feel free to ask!


after reading your advice last time around I started using my tripod so I could get a deeper focal field.  the pics are definitely coming out clearer now.  thanks for the advice [thumb]

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vdbo76

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Reply with quote  #8 
Your welcome, glad I can help mate :-)
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Choppa Nutta

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hey Fabian one thing that would be good is an
overview of the basic functions of cameras.
I'm still not sure about F-stop and ISO's and so on.
That would be great [smile]

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Brundledonk

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Reply with quote  #10 
Some advice on taking decent pics would be very much appreciated, I have no clue at all when it comes to using a camera so I just keep mine on auto but it does have the capability to do everything manually and I'd really like to try but like Paul I'm lost at ISO, depth of field and basically anything that involves more than pressing the shutter button

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TedUSA

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Reply with quote  #11 
I started with a Canon pro camera [OLD ONE] and then migrated to a Galaxy S-4 "zoom" [android] smart phone for most of what you see posted on my WIP threads, However---close to Christmas 2015 My GF talked me into switching and helped me get an IPHONE 6+. I don't think my pictures are better but they are easier to shoot and edit. I will be shooting all my images WIP and eventually some FINAL pictures with the IPHONE [granted I FINISH something!!!].

Tips:  Definitely use a tripod if you have one and consider buying a sturdy one if you don't have one. If you have the patience, use your camera's TIMER to make pictures even if you have a tripod [or a stack of books or similar]--why? The most detrimental thing to detail in a photo is motion. We ALL think that we are much steadier than we really are. Even the act of pressing a shutter button or CELL Phone Screen can create motion. Motion bad. I "plan" to use my tripod and my swivel pad so that I can set everything up and then rotate the model 360dg for pictures without moving the model by hand for each shot. I would basically do an angled overhead series, then lower the camera/tripod and do another series around eye level [?]. I think it will be easier to turn the model on the swivel pad and then snap pictures with the camera locked down and the camera timer on. ???? we shall see what happens, right? first I got to finish a build!!![frown][rolleyes][crazy]

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pinterest pg. of scale models/dioramas:
http://www.pinterest.com/intrstinpintrst/awesome-scale-models/


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Jamone2

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brundledonk
Some advice on taking decent pics would be very much appreciated, I have no clue at all when it comes to using a camera so I just keep mine on auto but it does have the capability to do everything manually and I'd really like to try but like Paul I'm lost at ISO, depth of field and basically anything that involves more than pressing the shutter button Pete


Same with me, Please share your knowledge [smile]

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WALSHAMP

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Reply with quote  #13 
Its all about balance.

the more you want in focus, the more you close the aperture (like the iris of your eye closes in bright sunlight). This is called increasing your depth of field and is more sensitive the closer you are to the subject.

the problem is that in doing this you restrict the light getting to the sensor. To compensate for this yo can do one of 2 things.
Either increase the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO)
or
open the shutter for longer to let the sensor "collect" more light.

the downside of a higher ISO is you tend to get more noise which makes your picture look grainy and details are less sharp.

with increasing the shutter speed you need to keep the camera still for longer to avoid blurry pictures.

therefore if you have a tripod the best option is usually a slow shutter speed. If not then go as slow as you can before the camera picks up on your shaky hands and compensate with more ISO.

Or use a flash. The problem then is shadows especially if your flash is attached to the top of your camera. If you can, for close up use a ring flash that goes around the lens so that everything the camera sees will be lit.

hope this helps.

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vdbo76

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Reply with quote  #14 
Very good and clear explanation! I will do some shots this weekend to illustrate the possibilities like you explain them and note the camera settings with it.
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Choppa Nutta

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Reply with quote  #15 
Cheers Paul, that is very helpful to know,
I get the relationship between shutter speed and ISO new [smile]

are there any numbers attached to the variables ?
how do I know what's a lot or not ?
and what's F-Stop mean ?

re. flashes on cameras, useful as they are I dislike them usually as they flatten the image,
you don't get any shadows in the panel lines and takes away from the artistic sensibilities.

Cheers [smile]

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