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PHOTOGRAPHY HELP PLEASE


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Hey everyone ,really need some help ,trying to photograph my models but cant seem to get it right,little background on my photo exp. by no means am I a pro ,but a have shot weddings,partys,all indoor with EXISTING light and have gotten excellent results ,so much so they said they would recommend me to there friends but I kindly declined l.o.l (like I said im not a pro,this is just pure hobby)also went to zoo this weekend took over 300 shots ,everything turned out perfect, also shoot little league football and cheerleading(have grand kinds involved in both)again parents coming up willing to  pay for that perfect shot,i just smile and say sure why not( free of course),so why am I having such a hard time shooting my scale model cars (1/24):angry:inside,i know this is going to sound strange but its almost as if the pictures are to sharp:blink:.here is list of my gear

Nikon d90

Nikon d70

Nikon 85mm prime 1:8

Nikon 35mm prime 1:8

Nikon 50 mm prime 1:8

Nikon 80-200 2:8 zoom

don't think its gear related got to be shooter related ,so any tips would be helpful

Thanks Bill

 

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I have Nikon D5100 and a D80 but I use the old D80 for all my model shots. Your hardware is better than most of those here posting their models. I do use a macro lens to let me get close ... all my Nikon lenses have poor close focusing abilities. But it sounds like lighting is your problem. You should have some lights you use for close ups. I just use two reflectors with small bulbs to light mine and it works better than I ever did before. They are only small spiral CFL bulbs .. don't remember the wattage but they are intended for photography. I also made a diffuse box to surround the model from pvc pipe and a sheet..

The small aperture you want to use requires a strong light to get properly exposed results. I know my Nikons will just take a dark photo is the light isn't enough.

Edited by Foxer
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I use a home-made setup involving a cut-up cardboard box, a sheet of blue (or other color, depending on the color of the model) paper, a couple of lights, and a tripod-mounted camera.

The box & paper. By using a single sheet with a curve at the bottom, the model appears to "float" and there's no messy seam to contend with.

DSCF0004_zpsbd2d24b4.jpg

Garden-variety clip-on lamps are mounted on bar stools; I forget what they are called, but the bulbs have a bluish tint in the glass.

DSCF0005_zps0af7b910.jpg 

DSCF0006_zps5fca505d.jpg

DSCF0007_zpsec2131c5.jpg

It works well for me!

DSCF0006_zpsd2422fc3.jpg

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Photographing models is all about lighting and depth of field.  As a serious amature photographer I assume that you are familiar with both terms so I won't go into detailed explanations.  When photographing models diffused light from multilple angles works best.  I went cheap on my diffusers.  I made two frames from foam core board and inserted sheets of velum(available at art stores).  I use 4 different clip on lights on a frame made of PVC pipe to hold them at different angles.  This still gives a solid shadow but it is very soft. 

Second is depth of field. The biggest mistake I see is that people want to shoot with a macro setting and get very close to the model.  This reduces the depth of field and distorts the model.   I prefer to shoot with a mild telephoto lens from a distance of about 3 feet.  That way the model is in clear focus and you don't get the "fisheye" distortion.  Here are a couple of examples.

DSCN0134_zpsyldfxsih.jpg

 

As and after thought I decided to add a shot of my set up.  If you have space, it is quite convenient, however it is also made to be taken down.  Press fit on the PVC only.  You could also make a table top version of this quite easily.

super7oob.jpg

IMG_20160926_094152629.jpg

Edited by Pete J.
added Photo
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I use a really low-tech setup that seems to work pretty well for me. 100-watt equivalent compact-fluorescent bulbs in swing-arm lamps. Camera is a 4MP point-shoot Nikon Coolpix L4 with a 3X optical zoom on a tripod. Not much depth-of field control, but the results are fine for modeling forums

                                                   Image result for ace-garageguy lighting      

Image result for ace-garageguy 32 ford

Image result for ace-garageguy lighting

Image result for ace-garageguy lighting

 

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
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thanks everyone for the tips,i think im going to put away my dslr camera's before I do something I will regret:angry: and try to use one of the point and shoot camera's I have around here, I already have two lamps around with 75 watt bulbs so looks like I will have to get another one,,,as I said before I shoot a lot with just available light inside but I guess since subject is smaller I need MORE light

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Bill, I wouldn't set the DSLR aside.  It has some very useful features that point and shoots don't.  The main ones are white balance and shutter speed.  Your DSLR should give you the option to have several setups stored.  This is handy.  You can have one for what you normally do and one for models.  Once you get a model setup that you like, it works much better.  I have a very old Minolta digital camera and it works very well but also very slowly.

  My set up is done as follows.  I set up my photo shoot area and set the white balance. I set up my shooting area and use a sheet of bright white printer paper. Get the whitest that you can.  Most papers will have a grade of white on them.  Do not use photo paper with a glossy finish.  You want a flat finish. Once this is set I store it in one of the optional settings.  

When I shoot,  I used the camera in aperture priority(you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed) and cranked it down to the smallest aperture(longest shutter opening).  This gives you maximum depth of field.  I then set the camera up about 3 feet from the subject on a tripod and uses a remote shutter so I didn't cause the camera to shutter when I fired it.  This gives you the sharpest photo and least distorted. 

From there it is a matter of composition and angles to get the best photo.  Remember, a low angle gives you the most realistic, but the high angle gets the most detail. 

Low angle

High angle

  

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Great pics Pete!

I've learned the simpler the better.  Good if you have a good camera and understand apertures and such.

I have a cheap Canon digital, the IXUS 165, it zooms in like a champ and sharp pics too.  Just a dull poster paper on the bottom, and a desk lamp shining on top.  Here a few examples from recent projects;

 photo -IMG_0554_zpsji0bph5x.jpg

 photo -IMG_0121_zpsioxslnyu.jpg

 photo -IMG_0010_zps7bnxbbsb.jpg

Shown here is a long frame and a few really closeup pics, all done with the most simple technique.  Poster paper, cheap digi camera and a cheapo desk light.  Very easy, cheap and decent results for our forum.

 

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I use a Sony Mavica 73. It's direct to disc. 3 1/2" floppy. :) Being it's digital I went with this camera to shoot small parts when I was running Machined Aluminum Specialties. This camera will focus down to a 1/2". It has an optical zoom which functions much better for close work then the digital zoom cameras.

I found a newer version of this camera at a thrift shop for 5 bucks. it has a digital zoom and will not focus on items closer then about 10 inches. It does have a movie function though which is why I picked it up.

These pics were taken with it, in my shop, with absolutely no special lighting. Just a clean sheet of paper to set the parts on.

MVC020F-vi.jpg

MVC014F-vi.jpg

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Bill,

Here is another example from me.  I use a vintage Nikon CoolPix 8700  camera I bought in 2005.  Back then it was a pretty decent non-DSLR cameras, but by today's standards it is not all that good. Still, it has excellent macro capability and it can shoot in aperture-priority mode and have custom white-balance (both of which I use all the time).  My setup is similar to Ray's (curved piece of paper) but for illumination I just use a single circular fluorescent  lamp (a magnifier desk lamp). So if you use a tripod and can shoot at longer shutter speeds  (with stepped-down lens) strong light is not vital. But having even and diffused light is important (unless you are after some special effects like sharp shadows).  Here is a 1:43 scale 289 Cobra engine.

EngineChassis08_zpsf9a66090.jpg

 

See this album for more photos. On photos with gray background I used 2 150W halogen shop lights for illumination (you can see more distinct shadows).

 

I also take photos at my club's annual model show. I use the same setup as for the photos above (a curved paper background and those halogen shop lights).  Here is a sample of those photos.  I'm by no means a professional photographer, but those photos look good enough to be published in the Scale Auto Contest Annuals.

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Bill,

Here is another example from me.  I use a vintage Nikon CoolPix 8700  camera I bought in 2005.  Back then it was a pretty decent non-DSLR cameras, but by today's standards it is not all that good. Still, it has excellent macro capability and it can shoot in aperture-priority mode and have custom white-balance (both of which I use all the time).  My setup is similar to Ray's (curved piece of paper) but for illumination I just use a single circular fluorescent  lamp (a magnifier desk lamp). So if you use a tripod and can shoot at longer shutter speeds  (with stepped-down lens) strong light is not vital. But having even and diffused light is important (unless you are after some special effects like sharp shadows).  Here is a 1:43 scale 289 Cobra engine.

EngineChassis08_zpsf9a66090.jpg

 

See this album for more photos. On photos with gray background I used 2 150W halogen shop lights for illumination (you can see more distinct shadows).

 

I also take photos at my club's annual model show. I use the same setup as for the photos above (a curved paper background and those halogen shop lights).  Here is a sample of those photos.  I'm by no means a professional photographer, but those photos look good enough to be published in the Scale Auto Contest Annuals.

Peter, Mine is an even older 5700 and as I have said many times on other posts, the magic is in the photographer not the camera.  If you have one that allows aperture or shutter priority and manual white balance adjustment then you can shoot great photos.  Balancing the focal lengths, depth of field and shadows is a matter of artistry and understanding of the shooting environment. 

Bill mentioned in his opening statement that he was not a pro but had invested in some good equipment.  With some technique he can easily produce some great photos.  As I mentioned, I dislike using the macro feature on my camera because is reduces the depth of field.  Shooting models you get a bit better photo by backing up and zooming in.  It improves the depth of field and reduces lens distortion.  If the lens is too close to the subject you get a fish eye effect.  This also happens when you have a large aperture opening.  Here is an example:

 

You may not notice it when you first look at the photo, but the jaws of the hemostat holding the pin are straight, but because of the proximity of the lens, they appear to be slightly bowed out.  For this reason, my preferred shooting distance is about 2 to 3 feet and use the zoom to get in close.  On particularly small items such as this is just isn't possible, but most of the time it is. 

I am not trying to be critical, just passing on some information I have gained over the years. 

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here are two shots it seems to be a light issue (not enough)the bulbs im using has a color temp of 3000k but when I boost it up to 4100k this is what they look like (better than 3000k)those who are use to the d70 knows that it shoots a little on the dark side which is ok cause you can always boost up exposure ,but it seems with each car I had to adjust the color temp a bit --but it still beats creating a custom curve for the camera, as you can see still little soft on the 57,again seems to be light issue,yes they were shot on two different backgrounds

572.jpg

merc.jpg

Edited by bauercrew
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    Bill it looks like if you were to mive your light closer to your left shoulder you'd be lighting the side closest to you better. If the internal light meter gives you dimmer than prefered brightness (I've never had the D70 but it worked on the D90) Under the Pencil Tool - choosing b Metering Exposure, then b4 - Fine tune optimal exposure allowed you to adjust the exposure level. But I wouldn't feel to bad about the Images you are producing!

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Except for the lower part of the '57 Chevy, those photos look good to me.  I don't see any color temperature problems (but I don't have the models in front of me to compare the colors).  But you can pretty much forget trying to get the colors in the photos to look like the actual color, especially with metallic colors. Some colors will look quite bit different in the photo than what you see in front of you.  There are a lot of variables at play which makes color matching very difficult.

I re-calibrate my camera's white balance all the time (I don't depend on presets).  With my camera it is really easy - just put a piece of white paper in front of the camera lens (and have it illuminated by the light I'll be using int the photo). The color balance is in the top menu - just select it, then hit "measure" and the white balance is adjusted to the ambient light.  Can't be any simpler or quicker.  I also often adjust the exposure time over or under what the camera wants to do to get the best shot.  Maybe this is an instance where my less advanced camera is actually more useful than a fancy DSLR?

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Except for the lower part of the '57 Chevy, those photos look good to me.  I don't see any color temperature problems (but I don't have the models in front of me to compare the colors).  But you can pretty much forget trying to get the colors in the photos to look like the actual color, especially with metallic colors. Some colors will look quite bit different in the photo than what you see in front of you.  There are a lot of variables at play which makes color matching very difficult.

I re-calibrate my camera's white balance all the time (I don't depend on presets).  With my camera it is really easy - just put a piece of white paper in front of the camera lens (and have it illuminated by the light I'll be using int the photo). The color balance is in the top menu - just select it, then hit "measure" and the white balance is adjusted to the ambient light.  Can't be any simpler or quicker.  I also often adjust the exposure time over or under what the camera wants to do to get the best shot.  Maybe this is an instance where my less advanced camera is actually more useful than a fancy DSLR?

Peter, I have to agree but for a different reason.  In the old days(like 40 years ago) the SLR was the best camera on the market.  This is because you actually got to see through the lens.  Other cameras(called viewfinders) had a separate peep hole that had it's own lenses.  The SLR let you see what was actually going to be exposed on the film. 

 

That was then.  Now we have "D"SLR's because of the old days.  The SLR portion still does the same thing, but in my opinion is a redundant mechanism that is left over from the old days, kind of like your appendix.  Why? Well with a modern digital display you are actually looking at what the CMOS sensor  is seeing which is what you will get for a picture.  Why would putting a mirror in front of the CMOS sensor and looking at that be in any way better than just looking at the video display and the actual picture you will record?  It wouldn't. 

The top quality mirrorless cameras are every bit as good as the DSLR's and weight much less and are much more compact and generally cost less.  So, let me review.  I have two cameras.  A DSLR and a mirrorless camera.  Both have the same CMOS sensor with the same pixel density and speed.  Both have the same selection of lens's and accessories.  Both use the same memory cards.  Thus each take the same quality of photo. 

The DLSR is more expensive because of the extra mechanicals required for the mirror operation.  They are also heavier(same reason) and bulkier.  It is also more likely to fail because it has extra mechanical bits to break and the batteries won't last as long because the SLR portion need some power to operate.  All of this so you can look through the lens and see what?  Well, it is a nice view, but that isn't the picture you will be saving.  That you have to look at the video display to see. So why do we even have DSLR's.  Because years ago, a SLR was the camera to have.  All the professional photographers used them.  Just like at one time the flathead V-8 was the engine to have.  All the great race teams used them.  But time moves on.  Forget the SLR portion.  We don't need it. Other opinions welcomed.

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Peter, I have to agree but for a different reason.  In the old days(like 40 years ago) the SLR was the best camera on the market.  This is because you actually got to see through the lens.  Other cameras(called viewfinders) had a separate peep hole that had it's own lenses.  The SLR let you see what was actually going to be exposed on the film. 

That was then.  Now we have "D"SLR's because of the old days.  The SLR portion still does the same thing, but in my opinion is a redundant mechanism that is left over from the old days, kind of like your appendix.  Why? Well with a modern digital display you are actually looking at what the CMOS sensor  is seeing which is what you will get for a picture.  Why would putting a mirror in front of the CMOS sensor and looking at that be in any way better than just looking at the video display and the actual picture you will record?  It wouldn't. 

Well, to me there is a difference.  First of all, the optical viewfinder of a DSLR comes in handy in bright sunny conditions.  It beats an external  LCD screen any day.  Yes, I know, there are digital cameras which have a digital viewfinder (my CoolPix 8700 actually has one so I can switch between the outside flat screen or the digital viewfinder).  But the problem is that the resolution and display speed of the digital viewfinder limits what I see.  If for example I'm trying to take a photo of something rather small like a bird or a plane flying high across clear sky I can't really see it in the digital viewfinder.  I can also see the pixels of the viewfinder display which is a bit annoying. Same goes for a fast moving subject - the digital viewfinder screen has a bit of a lag.


With true DSLR, your eye is viewing the outside world directly through the lens and you can easily see the objects I described above.  But for just average or studio photography I agree that there really isn't a need to have an optical viewfinder. Actually, when I use my CoolPix 8700 to take staged model photos at the model contest, I hook up its video output to a 19" flat panel LCD monitor sitting on the table and my viewfinder becomes 19" in size. I can see the subject clearly and so can people standing around (or even several feet away).

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Well, to me there is a difference.  First of all, the optical viewfinder of a DSLR comes in handy in bright sunny conditions.  It beats an external  LCD screen any day.  Yes, I know, there are digital cameras which have a digital viewfinder (my CoolPix 8700 actually has one so I can switch between the outside flat screen or the digital viewfinder).  But the problem is that the resolution and display speed of the digital viewfinder limits what I see.  If for example I'm trying to take a photo of something rather small like a bird or a plane flying high across clear sky I can't really see it in the digital viewfinder.  I can also see the pixels of the viewfinder display which is a bit annoying. Same goes for a fast moving subject - the digital viewfinder screen has a bit of a lag.


With true DSLR, your eye is viewing the outside world directly through the lens and you can easily see the objects I described above.  But for just average or studio photography I agree that there really isn't a need to have an optical viewfinder. Actually, when I use my CoolPix 8700 to take staged model photos at the model contest, I hook up its video output to a 19" flat panel LCD monitor sitting on the table and my viewfinder becomes 19" in size. I can see the subject clearly and so can people standing around (or even several feet away).

You are the absolute first person that I have come across that would give a real reason for having a DSLR.  That makes sense.  I wonder how good the digital view finders have gotten in recent years. I know that there have been claims that they are HD and all.  I am thinking about retiring my old Coolpix 5700 but have been very resistant to the DSLR.  I do shoot outside, but not with the old Minolta any more.  I guess I have more research to do.

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Remember, to a point, there is no such thing as too much light.

As shown above, two pieces of posterboard, one white, one black (and maybe a few other colors for artsy-er shots) will help you tremendously for picking up the model itself. A light framework will help hold it all together, again, like shown above. 

Try shooting outside, too. I've found quite frequently that I get my best shots on slightly cloudy days. 

I still shoot mostly film, and whether film or digital, make sure you have good equipment and that it's functioning properly. Sensors can sometimes not register colors right (one of the reasons I like shooting Kodak Ektar- I never have off registration unless I do something stupid like bump the shutter speed or aperture.) 

If you need to shoot indoors, do so with the model slightly off-center from overhead lighting, and see if you like it better. You'll get the subtleties of the colors a little better, as opposed to risking over-exposure from too much light. Be sure your flash is set to proper settings, too. 

Charlie Larkin

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Remember, to a point, there is no such thing as too much light.

As shown above, two pieces of posterboard, one white, one black (and maybe a few other colors for artsy-er shots) will help you tremendously for picking up the model itself. A light framework will help hold it all together, again, like shown above. 

Try shooting outside, too. I've found quite frequently that I get my best shots on slightly cloudy days. 

I still shoot mostly film, and whether film or digital, make sure you have good equipment and that it's functioning properly. Sensors can sometimes not register colors right (one of the reasons I like shooting Kodak Ektar- I never have off registration unless I do something stupid like bump the shutter speed or aperture.) 

If you need to shoot indoors, do so with the model slightly off-center from overhead lighting, and see if you like it better. You'll get the subtleties of the colors a little better, as opposed to risking over-exposure from too much light. Be sure your flash is set to proper settings, too. 

Charlie Larkin

It is one of the more difficult backgrounds to use but I prefer gray to black or white.  White cars look a lot more natural to my eye on gray that.  Black cars stand out without the harsh contrast.  Personal preference.  Everyone chooses their own.

 

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It is one of the more difficult backgrounds to use but I prefer gray to black or white.  White cars look a lot more natural to my eye on gray that.  Black cars stand out without the harsh contrast.  Personal preference.  Everyone chooses their own.

 

I'll tend to agree. Gray is a nice choice for many colors. If you had to pick three, I'd go with black, white and gray. Try each and see what you like the best, or what has the effect you're going for.

Charlie Larkin

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