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PostSubject: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:34 am

Welcome to the Photography Techniques Thread.

Hopefully this thread will allow users to share their knowledge and experience when taking pictures of the vintage starwars figures to ensure we can work together to get the best quality pictures for the main TIG reference site.

Im going to start by putting up some example pictures.


LIGHTBOX PICTURES

Picture 1 - Focus is off


Picture 2 - Figure is relatively in focus


Picture 2 - After editing (Usable for the website)




NATURAL LIGHT PICTURES

(Pictures were taken of the figure on a white piece of paper in natural light (note not in direct sunlight)

Picture 1 - Focus is off


Picture 2 - Figure in focus


Picture 2 After editing - (This is the final result in terms of quality that we are ultimately looking for)




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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:47 am

Photography has never been my strong point due to the cost involved in doing it "right", i.e good camera, light box, even editing software.

The main gripe I have with pictures is shadows cast by the item you are taking the picture of, like the Greedo.

I think you could of course edit the shadow out after the picture but a good investment would be a mini light box, Gustie & Spoons both use them and as long as you
have the patience to get a nice shot the light box works wonders to eliminate any shadowing.

I would make my own, but my camera is crap so not really much point!
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:49 am

And the last shot for clarity and focus is spot on, what tool in your editing software do you use to clean things up Jay?
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:12 am

@Joe_O wrote:
And the last shot for clarity and focus is spot on, what tool in your editing software do you use to clean things up Jay?

I use a number of editing programs but i mainly use Photoshop CS4.

I can remove the shadow from the last shot via photoshop if i sat down and worked on it.

I was trying to highlight the different levels of photos people provide and how some fine tuning in terms of technique makes all the difference.

I personally prefer shots taken in natural light and find i get the best results that way i have a light box but you need to have 4 bulbs set up to try and eliminate all shadowing but the down side is you just dont capture the same clarity that a natural shot can give.

Regarding actual cameras you really dont need an all singing all dancing camera to produce great pictures.

This shot above were taken on a old mobile phone the Sony Erricson K800i that has a 3.2 megapixel camera with a basic macro feature. Smile

Jay
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:16 am

Great idea on a topic Jay. I like to think my photo taking skills have improved over the years for my collection, but know there is always room for growth. I would agree with Joe on the Lightbox idea for loose figures. They are very easy to build and can make a difference.

Here is a link to instructions on how to build one.

DIY Lightbox

I used one like that for quit some time, but it was a pain on storage as I was living in a smaller place at the time.

I found this one when the chain Circuit City was closing down here in the States at a very reduced price. The nice thing about it, is that it folds up for easy storage. The lights included though are a little weak, so I might upgrade them, but overall I am very happy with it.

I just recently upgraded to the DSLR world and am doing some research and saving to get a good macro lens.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:27 am

Im looking forward to peoples contributions and hopefully we can all learn something new Smile

As i said i cant seem to get away with light boxes i have one similar to your link Shawn and with full set up it has 4 bulbs.

I took this picture today using my lightbox with 2 bulbs (hence the shadow)



And this is a picture of the same figure using my natural light source set up




For some reason i always get better results using natural light?
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:05 pm

That is very interesting on your lightbox pictures Jay. I was just reading the Amazon reviews on mine and someone mentioned some replacement bulbs that are supposed to work better. I'm going to pick them up on the way home from work and do some experimenting. I'll post some pictures of my setup and what settings I use.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:41 pm

Looking forward to seeing the results Shawn, this will indeed be a valuable thread for many, as my collection is normally always boxed, I tend to
check things by pictures, I am a bit of a picture junkie, take loads and save even more!

Any tips and guides for better picture taking is definitely getting my support!

Oh..where is the man with the INSANE macro's?? I heard his name was Bryan Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:51 pm

I haven't had quite the amount of time I wanted to dedicate to this today, but here are some pictures of my setup and photo. I do still have some shadow and probably need a light source from the top to take care of it completely. I also would like to get a white backdrop, so I could do some tests with it.



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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:24 pm

That's fucking ace! I think showing how you take good pictures is just as good as seeing a good picture, so funny to see that set up for a lonely Luke! Very Happy

Awesome, nice kit Shawn! (And nice picture!)
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:24 pm

LOL - We can now call you "the man who shot Luke Skywalker"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol! lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:32 am

@Joe_O wrote:
LOL - We can now call you "the man who shot Luke Skywalker"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol! lol!


lol! Maybe I should start charging for prints. Very Happy

While going through the process last night a thought occurred to me Jay on your pictures with the lightbox. Are you by chance using a custom white balance or are you just using the camera in auto? In auto mode you get that yellow color that your lightbox pictures seem to have. Most cameras have a custom white balance setting. It can very from camera to camera, but this is the basic process.

1. Set up lightbox with lights
2. Put a white piece of paper in your lightbox
3. Choose custom white balance on camera
4. Press shutter button with camera aimed at white piece of paper

What your doing is telling the camera what color white is in the current lighting conditions. You might have to dig out the manual for your camera to see how to set it up on yours.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:44 am

Thanks for the info Shawn.

It's funny, I used that exact site to make my lightbox last week.

But, you have now inspired me to buy a full set up like the one you use from Amazon.

Can't believe you get the tent, 2 x lights and a tripod for that price.

I've had a look on UK amazon today and I'm gonna buy one tonight.

Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:56 am

@burnsy wrote:
Thanks for the info Shawn.

It's funny, I used that exact site to make my lightbox last week.

But, you have now inspired me to buy a full set up like the one you use from Amazon.

Can't believe you get the tent, 2 x lights and a tripod for that price.

I've had a look on UK amazon today and I'm gonna buy one tonight.

Thanks

Glad I could help out Stu. It really is a good price for all you get. I think mine was $20 on the closeout price and couldn't pass it up. It is really handy in that it folds up for easy storage. I bought the higher wattage replacement bulbs yesterday and that seems to help with the lighting. The ones I got are GU10 50 watt bulbs. I would imagine they have the same number in the UK.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:17 am

@shawn_k wrote:
@Joe_O wrote:
LOL - We can now call you "the man who shot Luke Skywalker"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol! lol!


lol! Maybe I should start charging for prints. Very Happy

While going through the process last night a thought occurred to me Jay on your pictures with the lightbox. Are you by chance using a custom white balance or are you just using the camera in auto? In auto mode you get that yellow color that your lightbox pictures seem to have. Most cameras have a custom white balance setting. It can very from camera to camera, but this is the basic process.

1. Set up lightbox with lights
2. Put a white piece of paper in your lightbox
3. Choose custom white balance on camera
4. Press shutter button with camera aimed at white piece of paper

What your doing is telling the camera what color white is in the current lighting conditions. You might have to dig out the manual for your camera to see how to set it up on yours.

I using a Sony K800i Camera Phone at the minute as my Mum has borrowed my camera so the white balance settings are pretty basic. When i get my Samsung Camera back next week ill have a play about with the white balance. Smile

Jay
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:12 am

@jaymassive619 wrote:

I using a Sony K800i Camera Phone at the minute as my Mum has borrowed my camera so the white balance settings are pretty basic. When i get my Samsung Camera back next week ill have a play about with the white balance. Smile

Jay

I'm impressed that your phone even has a white balance setting. Mine just has auto which is why the colors look so different in the setup picture.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:38 pm

I ordered my light tent set up yesterday from Amazon.

Should be here in the next few days and then I'm gonna start getting the Ledy photos done.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:26 am

@burnsy wrote:
I ordered my light tent set up yesterday from Amazon.

Should be here in the next few days and then I'm gonna start getting the Ledy photos done.

Nice one Stu if i have been a bit quite its because i have been spending hours on photoshop CS4 Extended its an awesome program but its takes time to understand it all.

Look forward to the pictures Smile

Jay
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:16 pm

Well it arrived a few hours ago and I'm really impressed at what you get for the price.

I only got it out for a quick look as haven't got time to experiment tonight.

It's amazing the difference you get from just postitioning the lighting slightly differently.





Will have more of a go at the weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:21 pm

Good Stuff Sut i cant wait to see your results mate Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:03 am

Here are a couple of test pictures I took with my new lens I mentioned in the Christmas thread. I'm still working on getting the hang of things.

These are some Depth of Field tests.

The first picture was taken at f 2.8 with Ben and Darth as the focus point.



This one is 2.2 with the troopers in focus.



and for fun, here is one I took of my wife's birthday cake the other day at f1.8

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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:51 pm

One of Stu's Landos Feathered and isolated via Photoshop 4

(Not 100% yet as there is a black line to take of the right side of the cape but its a working example)

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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:10 pm

Nice! Wicked pictures Shawn, that lens has some neat features!

Jay - I really like the figure on the white background and as others have said - for the LL ref part of the site it would look really nice like this, nice sharp figure detail on clear backgrounds
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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:54 pm

@Joe_O wrote:
Nice! Wicked pictures Shawn, that lens has some neat features!

Jay - I really like the figure on the white background and as others have said - for the LL ref part of the site it would look really nice like this, nice sharp figure detail on clear backgrounds

Cheers Joe im still learning in Photoshop.


Raw Photo




White Background Mapping



Colured Background Mapping

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PostSubject: Re: Photography Techniques Thread   Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:27 pm

A bit of a play about on this one Smile

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