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Trying to photograph models and failing.

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, August 6, 2022 6:19 PM

Okay!

     Now I do take stills for my scrapbooks.I use a white or light grey Backdrop with a curve in the bottom so there is no sharp edge showing. The light comes from the top and either side. If I want to enhance shadows I tweak a little with LED flashlights and angles, facing the subject at what would be it's Wheels, Runway, Waterline or Track. This has worked for me since those little flashlights came out. Before I just took photos outside on a white tabletop.

    Shadows, Those are important to me. A Ferrari or Tank doesn't look right without shadows de-lineating it's shape. Now a ship, well, to much shadow can kill it, so that I take from a three quarter view from above and to one side.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 10:35 AM

missileman2000

I disagree with Baron on this one.  I believe shadows enhance the 3D effect.  That is why I shoot in sunlight whenever possible. To be able to shoot in winter, I am working on a highly collimated light source that would cover a couple of square feet on the model area.  Sharper the shadows the better. 

If you watch TV news, look closely at the anchors.  You'll see that they are lit by a pair of crosses, and that they are backlit.  You can see the backlighting on their shoulders.  This is done because a light aimed from the front makes them look two-dimensional.

Look at a professional photographer's setup for taking portraits.  He'll use the same technique, with a pair of lights aimed from the front, and a backlight, to counter that effect.

I do stage lighting, and that's where I learned about this principle.

True, though, when photographing a model, you can get away with just having good lighting from the sides.  But even the small photo cabinets are designed to diffuse and scatter light, which helps reduce the 2-D effect.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 8:32 AM

I disagree with Baron on this one.  I believe shadows enhance the 3D effect.  That is why I shoot in sunlight whenever possible. To be able to shoot in winter, I am working on a highly collimated light source that would cover a couple of square feet on the model area.  Sharper the shadows the better.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Monday, June 6, 2022 9:44 AM

If you can add lights from at least 2 directions, that will help reduce or even eliminate shadows.  It will also help emphasize the 3D nature of the object.

I use clamp work lights, the kind with an aluminium shield and a scissors clamp, to provide lighting from the left and the right (in stage lighting, we call these crosses).  And then I use a couple of small desk lamps to provide light from the front.  I use 60w lamps (eg, bulbs) in all of them.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Thursday, June 2, 2022 9:37 AM

JohnnyK

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use Photoshop Elements, which is way less money that Photoshop,  to correct my photos. I use it to correct the color, brightness and contrast of the photos. I also use it to crop my photos. In addition, I use it to remove unwanted "stuff" in my photos. Note that the two windows in the top photo were removed in the lower photo. 

 

Most important, have fun taking photos. Photography is an art form. The more photos that you take, the better your photos will be.

 

I agree with everything JohnyK said.  I might add a couple of comments.  Elements is  good photo editor.  I personally use Paint Shop Pro, about same price as Photoshop Elements (I have both).

Also, I always shoot low (ground level) shots of my models.  That shot of the B-29 is great, and makes my point.

 

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 7:38 PM

I think that your photos are really good.  Following are a few tips for improving your photos.

This is my photo setup. It is nothing fancy. I use an older Nikon digital camera, a flood lamp that I can move about to adjust shadows and strong overhead lights. I also use a tripod. A tripod is a must. I like my digital camera because I can set it to "aperture prioity". That means that I can set the aperture to the higest F-stop number and the camera calculates the correct exposure time. This insures that my photos are sharp with a large depth of field. Keep in mind that a high F-stop will require a long exposure time. That is why a tripod is a must. I also set the camera's timer to a 5 second delay. That eliminates any camera shake when I click the shutter. By the way, I took this photo with my smartphone, that is why it is not sharp.

 

Let's talk about lighting and shadows. My camera has an automatic "white balance" feature. I set the camera to WB and take a photo of a white board. The camera makes a bunch of caculations based upon the color of the light coming from my overhead lights and flood light. It then uses software to make sure that the colors in my photos are accurate.

I think that shadows are a must. Take a look at the top photo. I moved around my flood light so that the photo would have no shadows. IMHO, the photo is really boring and really flat looking. The lighting in the second photo was setup so that there would be nice soft shadows. The result is a very three dimensional photo with a lot of detail.

 

I use Photoshop Elements, which is way less money that Photoshop,  to correct my photos. I use it to correct the color, brightness and contrast of the photos. I also use it to crop my photos. In addition, I use it to remove unwanted "stuff" in my photos. Note that the two windows in the top photo were removed in the lower photo. 

I noticed that the photos of your ship were composed to include the entire ship. That's okay, but it is nice to take some "close-up" photos to capture the special details of your models. A high F-stop number is required for close-ups. 

 

It's also fun to take photos from different vantage points. Compare the two photos above. 

Most important, have fun taking photos. Photography is an art form. The more photos that you take, the better your photos will be.

 

 

 

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 5:01 PM

CBHusky
And lest I forget, I've only got a really old Sony DSC-W310 Cybershot digital camera to work with.

I think the camera is going to be your main stumbling block with trying to get good pictures in your situation.  If you're able to swing it, not only is a camera with the ability to set F-Stop and exposure going to get you further, but one with a really good flash is going to help tremendously...a good flash will eliminate shadows when you already have good lighting in the room.  I shoot my WIP pics in pretty much the same kind of setting as you do, without a tripod (because of the flash, the camera automatically sets a faster shutter speed), and I get pretty good results without a lot of fuss.  I have a Sony DSC-RX10 and a Nikon D90, which also get used a lot for nature and wildlife photography, but they work great for photographing models.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 10:24 AM

keavdog

I think your pic looks good.  I've been trying some different things but can't see to get rid of shadows.  Checkout Stikpusher (Carlos's) pics - pretty amazing.

 

Thanks John. I use my iPhone camera and a collapsible light box for my photos. The light box is the real game changer, it has a built in LED adjustable brightness halo lamp and changeable color background inserts. A light box like the one I received as a gift will fit on top of the table that you use now for your photo base, and it folds up for easy storage when not in use if that available table space is a consideration.

If you use a phone camera, knowing how to get the most out of it is a real plus. I've been getting better macro photos with my last couple of iPhones and their built in cameras than with my last couple of digital cameras. Learning how to use to phone editing software to your preferred results really will enhance your photos as well.

 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 9:05 AM

Two important things are, first, a tripod.  Models take long exposure time, so your hands are not steady enough.  Good news is, adequate tripods are cheap these days, like 20 bucks at places like Walmart.

Second, you need a camera with manual aperture setting.  Depth of field is always a problem with model photography, especially with model ships  If the camera has automatic exposure called aperture priority it automatically sets the exposure time for whatever apperature (f/number) ypu set.  Check out the manual on your camera to see if it has manual aperture setting.  I typically use f/16 or f/22 to get adequate depth of field.

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 6:50 AM

Agree with Pawel that natural light on a slightly overcast day is usually an excellent light source for photographing models. Time of day can be a factor for annoying shadows...but a large piece of white cardboard can be propped up and used as a 'fill' reflector to minimize those.

Following on from the above...I've done most of my model shots over the years on one of those folding TV-tray type tables, easily positionable (and adjustable height-wise) to catch the best window light at any given time. They're easy to find at home or business-supply stores, pretty inexpensive...and, important in limited-space environments, easy to fold up and tuck away when not in use. (I keep mine stashed behind the couch.)

Just a suggestion.

Cheers

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Tuesday, May 31, 2022 3:31 AM

Hello!

It has been written here before - as the models we would like to photograph don't move, the technical difficulty isn't very high and you don't need very sophisticated equipment to do that. From the problems you listed I'd say only c) matters - the lighting.

Perfect lighting for photographing models is a large window on a cloudy day - this gives you a lot of diffused light, no shadows and so on. But it might give you not enough light to get exposure times short enough for holding the camera in your hand. It's a good idea to put the camera on a tripod and turn the delayed trigger on for two seconds - this way you get rid of the movement and vibration that could blur your photos.

With artificial lighting it's less favourable, but it can be done - you just need to diffuse the light to get rid of the shadows, maybe use more than one light source of the same type to make sure you don't have shadows of different colours. Then you can use a photo-processing software to adjust the white balance. With artificial lighting it's even more important to put the camera on a tripod to stabilize it.

If you want to use a ring light, it would be cool to stick the camera through the center of it - but in your case you would have to take the lens out, I don't know if it can be done. I have build my own ring light very cheap - I took a plastic dish originally intended to be placed under a plant pot, cut a hole to hold the camera optics and glued white LED stripes artound the hole. Works like a charm for quick work-in-progress photos.

Hope it helps, have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Monday, May 30, 2022 10:19 PM

I think what you are doing is good. The only issue I see is the lighting. The image is yellow and that is because of the color temperature of the lamp. That is probably an incandescent lamp hanging from above. To further confuse the camera is the ring light that is probably another color temperature. You don't typically want to mix lighting temperatures. But, it might still work. The big thing is to check your camera settings. They may have an incandescent setting and that will adjust your camera to your lights, hopefully. Or just leave it and call it good! 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Monday, May 30, 2022 8:22 PM

I think your pic looks good.  I've been trying some different things but can't see to get rid of shadows.  Checkout Stikpusher (Carlos's) pics - pretty amazing.

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Wisconsin
Trying to photograph models and failing.
Posted by CBHusky on Monday, May 30, 2022 7:25 PM

I've been trying to photograph two 1/350 scale ships at home, but I'm having lots of trouble. My problems are the following: a) Small apartment with very limited space, b) Kitchen table is the only decent spot for taking pics, and c) Bad lighting. And lest I forget, I've only got a really old Sony DSC-W310 Cybershot digital camera to work with. The links/pics should help explain the problems I'm having. I need advice and help.

Battleship modelers build with BIGGER guns!
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