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Lighting Tips


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#1 m408

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 01:54 PM

Hey Gregg,
I have a home made light box. About 14"x14". 12" opening on both sides and top covered with white tissue paper. Inside is grey foam board with a grey poster board base. Using 60w halogen bulbs in 5.5" workshop clamp lights as side lighting. Everything seems to come out screwie. Any tips for lighting? Attached are various shots using same camera settings for all.
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#2 Gregg

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 03:58 PM

Make, model of camera?

#3 m408

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:47 PM

Make, model of camera?

Camera is a Canon PowerShot A460. Settings right now are: ISO400, 640x480 pixels, macro, flash off. Gotta be just some dumb thing that I'm doing. Was using "soft white" bulbs before and thought that the halogen ones would help. Wrong?

#4 ismaelg

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:30 AM

Problem may not be the light but the camera setting itself. For starters, 640x480 is quite small. Try bumping it up. Are you taking the pics handheld? Try lower ISO setting but beware of blurry pics due to motion. Also, if there is a manual setting for exposure (f-stops) bump it to the highest it can go like F8.2 or F10. That will help get most of it in focus. As you play with the setup keep track of the settings so you know what works best.
Hope this helps.....

Thanks,

#5 m408

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:35 AM

Problem may not be the light but the camera setting itself. For starters, 640x480 is quite small. Try bumping it up. Are you taking the pics handheld? Try lower ISO setting but beware of blurry pics due to motion. Also, if there is a manual setting for exposure (f-stops) bump it to the highest it can go like F8.2 or F10. That will help get most of it in focus. As you play with the setup keep track of the settings so you know what works best.
Hope this helps.....

Thanks,

Hi Ismael,
Using a tripod so I might be able to use a lower ISO setting. No manual f-stop. I'm using the free photobucket account and that limits my upload size to 640x480. I guess I could upgrade but not sure that it would help. This is my first digital camera and have only had it a few weeks. I'll keep messing with it.
Thanks for the help.

#6 Ricks

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 09:17 AM

Milt.. Photobucket will automatically resize your photo for you. I take pics in the largest setting on my camera and let photobucket fix them.. IM not sure if it affects the picture quality or not but ive never noticed anything with it.

#7 Biscuitbuilder

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 10:48 AM

Some of your problem may well be lighting that is too intense (Halogen bulbs are very BRIGHT), and perhaps a light box that is just too small, too limiting.

About 25 yrs ago, at a meeting of Lake Michigan Model Car Club in surburban Chicago, Monogram's in-house photographer gave quite a clinic (several key players at Monogram were club members, BTW!), and it was quite the eye-opener.

The photographer brought in a light "tent" he used for all of Monogram's box art pics in those days: It looked very much like a small quonset hut, about 30" wide, perhaps 3' deep, with a curved frame front and rear, open at the ends, about 18" high or so. Over this, he fixed a sheet of frosted clear plastic sheet, making that curved "Quonset Hut" type structure. For lighting, he was using 100-watt floods, in those inexpensive spun aluminum reflectors, positioned one to each side of the frosted clear plastic, one above, toward the front, but angled slightly to the rear. For the "base" inside, he used ordinary poster board, sprayed a very light gray, the rear of which was curved gently up to the back wall of this unit (curved, so that no creases or breaks would be seen).

When the lights were positioned, and turned on, there was no harsh light (the frosted plastic took care of that), and when a model car was positioned inside, no harsh shadows either. The model was just bathed in soft, white light.

At Playing Mantis, the graphics art guy and I built this same sort of fixture, used blue insulation styrofoam and a hot-wire cutter to make the arches for the ends, a piece of the styrofoam insulation to make the base. I sprayed some posterboard with a light gray autobody primer for the base. With modern digital cameras, we got gorgeous shots of not only Johnny Lightning diecasts, but also of Polar Lights model cars as well. The soft lighting made a huge world of difference!

Also, a good photo-editing software works wonders. I use MS Picture-It 9, which is cheap as heck (about $11-$12), and has cropping, brightness/contrast, and tinting features (including "auto tint" which is what I use with nearly every pic I take). As far as camera settings go, I just set my Fuji S5000 on "Auto", use Macro, and let the camera do the rest of my work--then crop and adjust on the puter as needed. Most generally, I get pics that tell the story.

Now, here at home, I have yet to make one of those light boxes, so I use my dinnertable, a table lamp for back lighting, and flash--with some printer paper for a base/backdrop--that works too, although I do use the flash with this setup--with some practice, that's worked pretty good for me.

Hope this helps a bit.

Biscuitbuilder

#8 m408

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 06:30 PM

Some of your problem may well be lighting that is too intense (Halogen bulbs are very BRIGHT), and perhaps a light box that is just too small, too limiting.

About 25 yrs ago, at a meeting of Lake Michigan Model Car Club in surburban Chicago, Monogram's in-house photographer gave quite a clinic (several key players at Monogram were club members, BTW!), and it was quite the eye-opener.

The photographer brought in a light "tent" he used for all of Monogram's box art pics in those days: It looked very much like a small quonset hut, about 30" wide, perhaps 3' deep, with a curved frame front and rear, open at the ends, about 18" high or so. Over this, he fixed a sheet of frosted clear plastic sheet, making that curved "Quonset Hut" type structure. For lighting, he was using 100-watt floods, in those inexpensive spun aluminum reflectors, positioned one to each side of the frosted clear plastic, one above, toward the front, but angled slightly to the rear. For the "base" inside, he used ordinary poster board, sprayed a very light gray, the rear of which was curved gently up to the back wall of this unit (curved, so that no creases or breaks would be seen).

When the lights were positioned, and turned on, there was no harsh light (the frosted plastic took care of that), and when a model car was positioned inside, no harsh shadows either. The model was just bathed in soft, white light.

At Playing Mantis, the graphics art guy and I built this same sort of fixture, used blue insulation styrofoam and a hot-wire cutter to make the arches for the ends, a piece of the styrofoam insulation to make the base. I sprayed some posterboard with a light gray autobody primer for the base. With modern digital cameras, we got gorgeous shots of not only Johnny Lightning diecasts, but also of Polar Lights model cars as well. The soft lighting made a huge world of difference!

Also, a good photo-editing software works wonders. I use MS Picture-It 9, which is cheap as heck (about $11-$12), and has cropping, brightness/contrast, and tinting features (including "auto tint" which is what I use with nearly every pic I take). As far as camera settings go, I just set my Fuji S5000 on "Auto", use Macro, and let the camera do the rest of my work--then crop and adjust on the puter as needed. Most generally, I get pics that tell the story.

Now, here at home, I have yet to make one of those light boxes, so I use my dinnertable, a table lamp for back lighting, and flash--with some printer paper for a base/backdrop--that works too, although I do use the flash with this setup--with some practice, that's worked pretty good for me.

Hope this helps a bit.

Biscuitbuilder

Thanks Art. Figured out the WB settings, changed over to just plain lamp bulbs, and the pics are comming out O.K. Not mag quality, but O.K. for posting. Heck, if I could produce good quality photos my builds wouldn't look as good. (I try to make everything blurry) :rolleyes:

#9 MikeMc

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:50 AM

:P :P :P Let that camera work for you !!!

set your ISO to 80 or 100, pick indoor or portrait mode....not macro! turn your flash "on"

if you have a tripod great!! if not ...OK!! now back up ..that camera will focus to 1.5' and use your zoom to get in to the model.

Fancy lighting is not needed if you watch your shadows!!!

Outdoors using the sun as your Main light source figure out where you need the Fill light and get over there and use your flash....

YES OUTSIDE !!!!!
This was outdoors with flash!
Posted Image

So was this!
Posted Image


Check this link!!:http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10730

Edited by MikeMc, 17 March 2008 - 08:27 AM.


#10 Biscuitbuilder

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:43 PM

:lol: :lol: :blink: Let that camera work for you !!!

set your ISO to 80 or 100, pick indoor or portrait mode....not macro! turn your flash "on"

if you have a tripod great!! if not ...OK!! now back up ..that camera will focus to 1.5' and use your zoom to get in to the model.

Fancy lighting is not needed if you watch your shadows!!!

Outdoors using the sun as your Main light source figure out where you need the Fill light and get over there and use your flash....

YES OUTSIDE !!!!!
This was outdoors with flash!
Posted Image

So was this!
Posted Image
Check this link!!:http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10730



Hint:

When photographing models outside in natural light, try if possible to take pics on days when the sky is at least lightly overcast--you get the same fullness of light, but without the harsh "hot spots" of glare, and shadows tend to be softened out quite a bit. Flash for fill in lighting is good, though!

Biscuitbuilder

#11 m408

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 03:52 PM

Thanks all for the help.
I just figured out how to use the WB custom on my camera, same light box, changed the bulbs to "standard" lamp type, and shot on macro with no flash. I know, not great but good enough to post, (I think). Here is a sample. Let me know what you think.

Posted Image

Any hints on how to enhance will be appreciated. Just remember, PC dumb, and my first digital camera. :(

#12 MikeMc

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 05:52 AM

Thanks all for the help.
I just figured out how to use the WB custom on my camera, same light box, changed the bulbs to "standard" lamp type, and shot on macro with no flash. I know, not great but good enough to post, (I think). Here is a sample. Let me know what you think.

Posted Image

Any hints on how to enhance will be appreciated. Just remember, PC dumb, and my first digital camera. :lol:


Looks great!!!nice even lighting !!!! just remember to practice and watch your shadows!!!

#13 Gregg

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 06:41 PM

Milt, that actually looks great!
I was going to chime in that the point and shoot digitals aren't that good for shooting models, but you just proved me wrong!
The only thing I would try now is to up the ISO to 100 or lower.
The A460 only went down to an f-stop of f/4.0, but the shot came out good.
Can you step back further, and zoom in more?
I would be curious to see if it gives a higher F-Stop.

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#14 m408

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 04:48 PM

Milt, that actually looks great!
I was going to chime in that the point and shoot digitals aren't that good for shooting models, but you just proved me wrong!
The only thing I would try now is to up the ISO to 100 or lower.
The A460 only went down to an f-stop of f/4.0, but the shot came out good.
Can you step back further, and zoom in more?
I would be curious to see if it gives a higher F-Stop.

O.K. Gregg,
Same lighting. Same settings, macro, no flash, etc...
Backed up the camera as far as my work table would allow, and zoomed. I've got ISO on auto. Don't know if there is much of a difference.
Posted Image
To chicken to try to make many adjustments. :o So far, seems to work O.K. for posting photos.