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Aircraft Viewing Angles When Photographing Models.

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  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Aircraft Viewing Angles When Photographing Models.
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, September 25, 2016 7:41 AM

Being a commercial photographer for over half a century I've shot zillions of products of all sizes and descriptions. Since I've joined the Forum I've posted many of my models from the past for fun and review. At first the shots were the best descriptive view but later I started to realize that real aircraft are large things viewed by relatively small people. They are viewed flying, but more often at museums, Airshows and other static positions.

Here's a few shots that I recently posted that better show more of a ground-level approach. Of course being 48X times taller makes it difficult to get that low! LOL! Check it out I always say!

Max

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, September 25, 2016 11:21 AM

When I shoot my realistic shots, as opposed to the eBay type shot, I am shooting with model on a card table, and since I am using around f/32 or so I can let the bottom of the lens hang below edge of table to get down to scale eye height.  I figure about five foot is normal eye height.

Magazines seem to like those eBay shots, so I do sometimes shoot those.  They are characterized by a higher camera angle and flat lighting.

My realistic shots are shot with a backdrop of aprons of airports. I got tired of driving to airports every time I wanted to photograph a new model, so took shots of airports in area to use as backdrops. I distort portions of the apron and/or runway to produce a surface to place the model on.  I shoot from scale eye height, and shoot in sunlight ( shoot all the backdrops in sunlight).  I think the enhanced contours and highlights are a bit more realistic than  with the flatter light.

Here is a sample of what I get.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:04 PM

While I do dig the "eye level", realistic shots...especially when there's a particular detail being shown (engine...nose art...etc).

We are showing a model, afterall. I think "quartering" shots, from a higher angle really show the model best. When I take final pics, If I'm real proud of my efforts, I'll go with 4 quartering shots, 1 belly shot, and sometimes a straight down top view. That pretty much covers everything on the model. If I'm "feelin it"...I'll go with a couple more "artistic/realistc" type pics (I could use some backdrops!).

 I will never complain about seeing a pic of a model, put into some conext...such as Dons pic. Those pics are a great addition to the "here's my model" shots.

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, September 25, 2016 12:37 PM

Totally agree Fermis, the quartering, under and over are the shots that show the detail of our models the best and I've been doing that. I'm starting to include the ground or lower shots just to show that these are representative models of a much larger object and that's how we often see them. Hey, I guess we don't have to choose and can do both!  Smile

And Don, cool stuff on the airports and such drops, something I hadn't considered. Rather than trying to shoot clear to infinity you have a much better chance of keeping everything relatively sharp. Good idea.

Max

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Thursday, October 13, 2016 3:03 PM

Today I was shooting this 1/48 F-16 for one of the seemingly endless picture posts of Max's 1/48 Comparative Aircraft Museum (really just my office) posted under Aircraft. I always try some low shots like the ones above. After editing my pictures I realized that the decals on this one were just too bad to show and the whole thing should go back to the drawing board. Grrr. I did really like this one angle that I can show you and here it is. Check it out.  Smile

Max

I was happy also with the depth of field of the Nikon P330 P&S at its smallest adjustable setting of f8 on a tripod.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, October 14, 2016 9:47 AM

Love that shot, Hodakamax.  That is the way I ordinarily see full size aircraft!

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Wednesday, November 02, 2016 1:09 PM

Another shot to add to our collection of "how we see them". This Space Shuttle was fun to play with photographicly. I started on white but ended up doing some on a dark, dark blue, trying to visualize the darkening sky as you assend to orbit. Some of the views are just "going up" as we usually saw it. This picture is actually turned to get the effect. More pictures under Space subjects/Space Shuttle 1/200 scale. That was fun!

Max

 

 Here's another wide angle view.

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Cameron, Texas
Posted by Texgunner on Saturday, November 19, 2016 8:19 AM

Max, I started photographing my models at our local airport mostly because I couldn't get decent pics indoors.  I live about 3-4 minutes from the airport and since it's usually pretty quiet out there, I thought it would be an appropriate place.  Here are a few examples:


"All you mugs need to get busy building, and post pics!"

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Sunday, November 27, 2016 2:19 PM

The shots at the airport are very realistic I must say. Good job!

Max

  • Member since
    November, 2015
Posted by STOVK on Friday, October 20, 2017 11:01 AM

Don Stauffer

When I shoot my realistic shots, as opposed to the eBay type shot, I am shooting with model on a card table, and since I am using around f/32 or so I can let the bottom of the lens hang below edge of table to get down to scale eye height.  I figure about five foot is normal eye height.

Magazines seem to like those eBay shots, so I do sometimes shoot those.  They are characterized by a higher camera angle and flat lighting.

My realistic shots are shot with a backdrop of aprons of airports. I got tired of driving to airports every time I wanted to photograph a new model, so took shots of airports in area to use as backdrops. I distort portions of the apron and/or runway to produce a surface to place the model on.  I shoot from scale eye height, and shoot in sunlight ( shoot all the backdrops in sunlight).  I think the enhanced contours and highlights are a bit more realistic than  with the flatter light.

 

 

I agree with your approach.

 

It reminds me of Michael Smith's (of "Elgin Park" fame) approach and work. He was interviewed a while back and this was his take:

 

What advice do you have for someone trying to do something similar to this (photographing scale models)?

 

The most important rule is to be further away from the background instead of closer. Also, keep the camera lens at the proper height that is appropriate to the scale of the models you are photographing. For 1/24th scale, I have the camera no higher than 2 inches from the model base. This would be the point of view of a 1/24th scale person looking at the scene in front of them. It really is a fun and creative challenge, with quick results.

 

Now if you are going to create building and complicated scenes with details such as telephone poles and the like, then do lots of research on how reality looks. Study old photos, especially snap shots. They give a very accurate description of what an era looks like because the amature photographer, back then, was not trying to take a glamor shot. The stuff that's going on in the background is priceless in terms of what was around during any particular era. Another piece of advice that I think is helpful is: you don't need expensive equipment or lighting to create a realistic photo. Too much information in the photo is not a good thing when creating a forced perspective image. You need the subtle blur and the effect of an average lens.

 

Also, don't try too hard during a shoot.  For myself, if I'm shooting for more than an hour then I'm overloading my brain. The best sessions I've had were about 20 minutes long. During that time I'm in the ZONE letting the scene describe itself.  And don't second guess yourself. If you're thinking too much behind the camera, then you've lost the creative magic that happens between the model and the lens.

 

What's the most important thing to remember when creating a scaled down environment like this?

 

Here is the most important aspect of making models and photographs appear real:  Keep everything in scale. From the thickness of the shingles down to the wallpaper design and door knobs, everything must be in the proper relationship to each other. I can't stress that enough

 

 

Read the full interview here: https://fstoppers.com/bts/model-maker-turns-toy-cars-nostalgic-life-images-200-point-and-shoot-867

 

  • Member since
    September, 2016
Posted by Retired In Kalifornia on Friday, October 20, 2017 11:52 AM

Excellent camera shots!

The photos I'd taken of my Regia Aeronautica Italia airplanes with a cell phone camera were the first ones of models I'd taken since 1968, the best I could do given I don't have a photographic studio never mind commercial grade cameras. I'd needed to photograph them for posterity, at some point I won't have any of them so bad as the photos are they must suffice for now.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, October 21, 2017 9:20 AM

STOVK

 

 

 

 

The most important rule is to be further away from the background instead of closer. A

 

Farther from the background, but not the subject.  And since my tabletop is limited in size, I have limits to my choice of where to place my background.  And, I want to have the background visible enough for the viewer to see that it is an airport scene, not completely washed out to abstract blurs.

Now of course this brings up the issue of wide angle lenses vs telephoto, but most serious photographers would agree that distance from the subject and focal length of lens to use are the same thing.  When you get in close, you have to use a wider angle lens.

Now, a telephoto lens compresses distance along the line of sight, while a wide angle lens expands depth.  Many car ads are shot with wide angle, to get in close and make the car look more massive.  This is what I try to do with realistic shooting- trying to make this small model look like a massive full-scale one.  So the closeup (wide angle) viewpoint does this.  For the ebay type of photography, I agree on longer focal length, which increases depth of field.  But for the low angle (try to fool the viewer) shot one needs to get in close, and use very high f/# to get back that depth of field.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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