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Taking pictures of your models


Jairus

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2 hours ago, Jon Cole said:

Smartphones are great for when you need a quick progress shot at the work bench.

 

Agreed. The camera on my phone is much better than my original digital Sony Mavica! 

I take a lot of bench top progress photos to document my progress and to find imperfections in my work. I also share them on boards and keep in my Fotki albums.

For final photos I will take pix outdoors on an overcast day. That lighting works well. For the average modeler just looking to share some photos without great gear and training, I always suggest that they take a load of pictures and in that lot they will find a few good ones. Just delete the rest since digital film is free!


 

 

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57 minutes ago, Tom Geiger said:

Agreed. The camera on my phone is much better than my original digital Sony Mavica! 

I take a lot of bench top progress photos to document my progress and to find imperfections in my work. I also share them on boards and keep in my Fotki albums.

For final photos I will take pix outdoors on an overcast day. That lighting works well. For the average modeler just looking to share some photos without great gear and training, I always suggest that they take a load of pictures and in that lot they will find a few good ones. Just delete the rest since digital film is free!


 

 

Absolutely, Tom. In fact, many pro photographers will tell you not to assume that one pic we take will look good, so take several.
A lesson learned from pre-digital age!
Also, I still have my Mavica around here in it's box, collecting dust. Took the ol' 3.5 floppy, iirc. Can they take a memory stick? I can't remember.

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  • 1 month later...

On of the main issues that make photos of models look odd is the distortion that you get by using the Macro setting to get really close to the subject.  When you get too close the photo distorts around the edge giving straight lines a curve.  To avoid that, most photography instructions suggest setting the camera about 3 or more feet away and use the telephoto to get close.  A good DSLR will accommodate that nicely. You get far less distortion.  

Another trick when using a DSLR is to use aperture priority to vary the depth of field.  If you open the aperture up, the background will blur and give a more realistic photo.  Some of the new phone cameras will allow this adjustment as well, but you are still limited by the size of the lens and sensor.  Getting a realistic depth of field is what gives the photo realism.  

White balance is very important for all model photos.  Most DSLRs allow the user to to create a custom white balance by sampling a sheet of very white printer paper and the camera will adjust for any kind of light.  I switched out my incandescent lights in my photo booth  for LEDs some time back and had to resample for white balance.  Interestingly, the LEDs seemed almost spot on to begin with, but setting a custom white balance is not that difficult and most cameras will save several custom white balances. Also a custom white balance workes best if you are using a light colored background.  Some digital cameras will assume that the back ground is white and that changes the colors of everything. 

The other thing to keep in mind is scale distance.  Consider this.  When you see a car, you view it from "eye" level or somewhere between 5 and 6 feet above ground level.  This is what we are use to seeing.  To look natural, the photo should be taken from an angle that replicates that "low" angle.  In otherwords on a 1:24 scale model  no more that an angle that is at about 3 inches above ground level(6 inches in 1:24 scale).  This is a "natural" angle that will give the brain the image it expects.  I also like shooting very low angle photos of models they look very nice that way. 

 

DSCN0061.jpg

Left front quarter.jpg

Edited by Pete J.
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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

 

 

10 hours ago, TransAmMike said:

What cell phone, those are darn nice pictures, and in focus front to back.

I think any modern phone will do. Mine is a Redmi Note. Modern phones have pretty good zooms.

1) Don't use macro.

2) step back from the model and zoom in.

3) by trial and error, find out the max zoom your phone can go without compromising the quality.

On mine, I can go to 2.5x. So I zoom in and step back until the car is completely in frame.

The further back you go, the more front to back focus you'll get.

Taking pictures this way needs a steady hand; so use a tripod and the camera's timer If you can.

Lighting:

Get as much light as you can.

Don't use LEDs. Most of my LEDs give me zebra stripes on the pictures. Something to do with frequency.

I got two 150W daylight bulbs on the sides and two 20W tubes on the top lamp (my table lamp).

Hope this helps 😊

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22 minutes ago, GeeBee said:

The trouble with using tracing paper is you still get the lighting reflections on the bodywork, i use studio ring lamps which work much better and hardly any reflections on the bodywork 

 

FB_IMG_1600551682623.jpg

That's a nice result. What wattage do you use? And how many lamps?

Are they LED or fluorescent?

 

 

 

 

Edited by MarcoTJ
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5 hours ago, MarcoTJ said:

That's a nice result. What wattage do you use? And how many lamps?

Are they LED or fluorescent?

Quote

 

There all LED, I've got a few, all different sizes, but there adjustable for brightness and colour temperature. 

https://neewer.com/collections/ring-light

Edited by GeeBee
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6 hours ago, MarcoTJ said:

 

 

I think any modern phone will do. Mine is a Redmi Note. Modern phones have pretty good zooms.

1) Don't use macro.

2) step back from the model and zoom in.

3) by trial and error, find out the max zoom your phone can go without compromising the quality.

On mine, I can go to 2.5x. So I zoom in and step back until the car is completely in frame.

The further back you go, the more front to back focus you'll get.

Taking pictures this way needs a steady hand; so use a tripod and the camera's timer If you can.

Lighting:

Get as much light as you can.

Don't use LEDs. Most of my LEDs give me zebra stripes on the pictures. Something to do with frequency.

I got two 150W daylight bulbs on the sides and two 20W tubes on the top lamp (my table lamp).

Hope this helps 😊

Thanks Marco, great "tutorial".  Will give those suggestions a try.

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  • 2 months later...

Although being a builder for 60+ years I'm amazed at diorama's and getting good photo's. So I've bought a light box..

photo-th.jpg

And used it for the first time today as I'd just finished a build. It has various coloured backgrounds so tried each colour with the same subject.

 photo-th.jpg

photo-th.jpg

photo-th.jpg

photo1-th.jpg

photo1-th.jpg

photo-th.jpg

I'm now going to try a few other shots using a small tripod. Unfortunately my one and only 'backstreet garage' is too bix to fit the new toy!

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I just went onto Google search and put in the question, 'Light Boxes' and all manner of answers came up. I just plumped for this one as it serves my purpose..

photo-th.jpg

It unfolds into..

photo-th.jpg

And has various coloured backgrounds and a flat carry case..

photo1-th.jpg

photo-th.jpg

Edited by PatW
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Well Pat, when you mentioned that "Unfortunately my one and only 'backstreet garage' is too bix to fit the new toy!" I stated that there are larger photo light boxes available out there.  That's all.

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  • 1 year later...

I've tried several andriod apps but I haven't found one where the focus area is not just a small area. On digital cameras I have seen that point, zone, and even the whole area were selectable. (Of course, on the more serious machines it is much more complex as the picture below illustrates.) Is there such a simpler version for mobile or is it not just a software issue? Thank you!

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRViGCuk6tJfZDBXj17hEO

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Regardless of the camera type, only certain part of the photo will be in sharp focus.  The range of distance on acceptable focus is called "depth of field".  The smaller the aperture (numerically larger f-stop) of the lens is, the greater the depth of field. But very rarely you can get all the subjects in the photo in focus.

If you want the entire photo to be in focus, you need to take a series of photos from the same vantage point, with each photo focusing at a different distance. From the closest to the camera, to the farthest object.  Then you take all those photos and you "focus stack" them into a single photo which has everything in focus. Focus stacking can be a manual or automated process.  Do a Google search for "focus stacking" and you will find several examples.  I use Helicon Focus program.

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3 hours ago, peteski said:

Regardless of the camera type, only certain part of the photo will be in sharp focus.  The range of distance on acceptable focus is called "depth of field".  The smaller the aperture (numerically larger f-stop) of the lens is, the greater the depth of field. But very rarely you can get all the subjects in the photo in focus.

If you want the entire photo to be in focus, you need to take a series of photos from the same vantage point, with each photo focusing at a different distance. From the closest to the camera, to the farthest object.  Then you take all those photos and you "focus stack" them into a single photo which has everything in focus. Focus stacking can be a manual or automated process.  Do a Google search for "focus stacking" and you will find several examples.  I use Helicon Focus program.

Peter, your description of depth of field and it's relation ship to aperture is definitely spot on.   However, especially with models, I disagree with you about not being able to get the entire model in sharp focus.  I have used a technique for years that gives a "larger" depth of field for a given aperture setting.   Unlike most people, I do not use either a macro lens or setting.  I move away from the subject and use a top quality telephoto lens.  I cannot tell you the exact mechanics of why that works(I knew it a long time ago, but the memories have faded), but it does work.  Here is a 1:12 scale model shot form about 6 feet away.  To my eye, it looks in focus. 
ITtK8pWIB4-KMVTt3Ync-ynLJQsHp6QnYaQyswjJJEemuMPzuoAoO2DTU5L4TGC_8Nb37o70JEqCbY_lshsgpeUSPsvV4ukyHoQOpymD15fWjt-ApvrWOeQqBLRS8aH11V9p0djZSGzL6mbu0JpfU5syDHGkBOBCvsZBaBEZ2_Ricyw6eD3WBkyxjX25U67ZFbdYxOj4-VP5ayK4tDmRbm_Wc9rGbkg4W0LP006CeBW72YLEPysOZXHGGo8vjaDRfbdqgrpZVVaG27QM-ySm5gEhWGwEgk_Nmc2eXQ_OixrVqZE0R764Qyuk9kH3Ncx_BJurhVT_bDKbYPeqtgVsv-Qz8PrpVsuvkYi8qm3Y5BxHaKCg6FLApqeYs0NEt0pP0ZA3dymlnfz323hrpYpjps519ZtmdQ1-G3PnQO966JqJBwoC_r1_LzN-RDztUxfhHLsGJIuwvyGoK5Skxt8cyaDzvGbR3HcYBJtLZwbnTN_EBpTY7m4UuOyyUnmFxCi1VGnFXP5aUh37OdtUlb7SeCiokhYdnaOTfzSHseTg5jz3P3lpa3lCozFJ9HemBXkgDvNSL1TQZsF5XArcGU3Ho7wKI0FBXsvULA-OMkHRz-OUoLvkRP5-YDQFIqeZKqroP-SPz4B5ifDPWnkx3QMi071SCouMrZJnGMu36jUSLlhSenPo3SJ_N1dAdX0Oy4GB-FSp8EkEf99jhNitPrW3wnOCw3ykhg2vKIx1eVbr-pgqH4gBllMCOWcaTmiqCA=w1190-h893-no?authuser=0

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You do have a point Pete.  Selecting a shallower angle for the subject (not a typical 3/4 view) will not require very wide depth of field, and using a telephoto lens will also help (as shown in your photo).  But the way I understood the original question was to have all the objects in a photo in focus.  That's where focus stacking comes in.

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9 hours ago, peteski said:

You do have a point Pete.  Selecting a shallower angle for the subject (not a typical 3/4 view) will not require very wide depth of field, and using a telephoto lens will also help (as shown in your photo).  But the way I understood the original question was to have all the objects in a photo in focus.  That's where focus stacking comes in.

I've not heard of focus staking before.  I will have to see if it is available in my "go to" editing software, Photoshop.  I have to believe it is.  The new tech is really quite wonderful.  I am currently shooting with a Sony A7II and it's range is far superior to the Minotla XG-M I learned on, not to mention that it costs me nothing to shoot a bunch of photos. 
  I was also considering the flip side of aperture priority settings. The same thing as stopping it down, could be done by setting the lowest ISO setting and the longest shutter speed.  That should give you a very long depth of field. 

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