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ki4gsz
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PostSubject: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeTue May 07, 2013 9:36 pm

I'm trying to learn the tricks of photographing the toys & I have a question...

Would it be better to vary the background based on the toy (light on dark, dark on light background) or remain consistent (1 solid color)?
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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeTue May 07, 2013 9:55 pm

one trick I heard haven't tried yet was told by a friend who owns a comic store is for carded figs and I am sure it would work for any is to use a scanner place the fig on the scanner and place a towel over it and hit scan it give great looking photos.

As far as for me at the moment I try to take them outside gives the best shots I find.
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General Kahn
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSat May 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Alright chief,

To me the best pis come with natural light, I've tried all sorts. You have to take into consideration that different camera's take different pic's, daft as it sounds. My old camera took fantastic pictures until it came to black figures (Vader, Luke Jedi etc.) then it struggled to focus, Ben kenobi's cape messed up the focus also. My newer and technically worse camera takes equally as great pictures but doesn't struggle with the darker characaters or Ben?
As for backgrounds, white with some backlight works well, but I'm a hardcore blue background fan. I just use a sheet of blue card and simply lay the figures on it and fire away, I have figured out the best light conditions and times to do it which takes some trial and error in terms of shadows and such.
I also tried a light box which I built, using balsa wood, basically a sheet of pearl acrylic with under light, side light and light from above, it looked half o.k. but, just drained me really. My old Limelight is with the light box :

http://www.imperialgunneryforum.com/t3564-the-general-s-loose-bespin-luke-focus

Trial and error, the main thing for me is getting the light right, good luck!
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSat May 11, 2013 7:08 pm

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chris.75
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSun May 12, 2013 3:43 am

Laying the figure on a sheet of A4 printer paper on a window sill works really well. A good macro lens is essential and just by playing around with the shutter speed and iso settings will get you pretty good results. I bought a light box off ebay recently for £26.00 free postage. I must say i'm really happy with the results. You get two daylight simulation lamps which help alleviate shadows and the white tent diffuses the glare from the lamps. I prefer a blue background because white tends to come out looking a bit grey. I find that a different iso/shutter speed works for different figures so just play around until you learn the right settings. Also the general is right about taking the pics at a certain time of day, it can help with colour continuity. Having said that though if you change the iso and shutter speeds for each figure, then the background will vary in shade. So what i do is then take the pic into photoshop and even up the background colour so they are all roughly the same tone, although mine still need a bit of tweaking. hope this helps

my tent set up
[img]Photo taking DSCF4556_zps410a0d4c[/img]

some of my pics
with a white background
[img]Photo taking LukeFarmboyTaiwanwhitebackground_zps996af40c[/img]

with blue background
[img]Photo taking Stormtrooper_zpsb2d24068[/img]
Photo taking DSCF4524_zpsf2305d80[/img]Photo taking DSCF4527_zpsa953f239[/URL][/img][img]
[img][img]Photo taking LukeFarmBoyTaiwanCoo_zps927c9170[/img]
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ki4gsz
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSun May 12, 2013 2:00 pm

Wow. I thought it was a bit simpler, but this has been an excellent discussion & it looks like a bit of trial & error, plus personal preferences will determine the shot.

I had no idea about a lightbox before, so I'm going to look into that at some point in the future. But as far as the camera goes, how do I know if my camera can do all that iso stuff or not? Is macro a zoom feature? I just have a digital Nikon coolpix.

I might need to find a photography for dummies book, as most real camera shops are disappearing & now are online (the bad part of progress, no one to sit down with & show you what the differences are).

Thanks a million!
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General Kahn
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSun May 12, 2013 3:03 pm

Don't worry about the camera chief, all my early pic's were done with a Nikon coolpix, the Macro bit is basically the 'close-up' function. Mine was a work camera from our lasses old job, when she left it went back, now I use a Sanyo X1220 which my father-in-law gave me after he found it in bin (he's a caretaker at a school), there's a couple of fucked up pixels but the pictures turn out fine, everything in my limelight is done with this camera.
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chris.75
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeSun May 12, 2013 4:49 pm

Yep mines a pretty basic digital SLR its a Fujifilm 'Finepix S5600' its quite old and fairly basic with a fixed lens. In fact most modern smart phones have better cameras built into them these days. The macro lens (close up) function is usually displayed by a flower symbol and the ISO is to do with light levels. you would use an ISO of 1600 or 800 in low light levels (although you get more digital noise) and an ISO of 65-100 for bright light levels. An Iso of 200-400 is about average and a good place to start. I also tend to use a timer to take the photo, as when you're taking pics of such small objects even the tiniest movement, like pushing the button can cause blurring. Basically if you set your camera to auto with the macro function activated and set the timer for 2 seconds and hold it really steady when the camera counts down, you should get a pretty decent shot.
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeTue May 14, 2013 2:46 pm

I have been involved with photography since the late 80s and digital imaging since 95 but mostly on the technical aspects of printing. Of course I took pictures too, but not much. I worked in a studio where all the lighting was already dialed in and there was nothing to think about. Background A with these fills and the light meter says X, do Y on the camera. I knew what it all meant but didn't care really.

I still take a ton of images of my SW stuff and was thinking more about improving and most importantly, streamlining and simplifying the process.
I hate the flash, so I would have to wait on the late afternoon to get the light right in my house to get any decent shots. But that also means I had to stabilize the camera better since it was always at slower shutter speeds.
So I picked up a GorrilaPod and that helped for some staged areas I shoot in, but still not the greatest solution.

My images always needed some tweaking in Photoshop to touch up things as well.
I had no real background and never gave it thought.

Now, reading this thread the other day I said WTF and dropped the $40 on the rig chris.75 has in the pictures above from Amazon.
I just got it 2 1/2 hours ago, but in quick testing, it rocks. I now can shoot at any time of day really.
I still need a few hours of playing with it to find the 'psybertech shot', but that is easy enough.

I use a Canon PowerShot SD990 camera and quickly found that manual was just too easy with digital NOT to use!
Set the ISO as a rough spot (figures will vary this), choose the best aperture available for your camera (in my case 2.8 ) and then with the LCD showing you what to expect, dial in the shutter speed (I was seeing 1/50 +/-) and the LCD will give you a pretty good idea live, on the fly. Shocked I always shot manual back in the day, but that was on film so the LCD was a HOLY CRAP moment for manual shooting to me. I have been using it as a composition tool only up until today.

After a few test shots and review on my PC, I quickly noticed that on the camera LCD, the best option will be the one image brighter than I wanted to get the best output on my laptop and TV. Pretty simple to remember when shooting.

There is so much about photography that comes into play here and I won't go into details about it, but this was my first time using a digital camera with manual settings and man, that LCD comes in handy even if you have no idea what you are doing!!! Very cool.

For my first test shots I also did the normal level adjustments in Photoshop I am used to doing on all my shots and it helps but not always necessary depending on what your intent is.

I am almost embarrassed at some of the obvious benefits the LCD had and how simple manual shooting had become over the past decade. Again, I WORK in the freakin industry... just on the backend of things really.

So, real quick, here are a few of my test shots as I was playing a little while ago. And yes, the background was on the wrong side sometimes.

Each image is show twice - FIRST image is unaltered (OK, cropped only) - SECOND image had levels manually tweaked in Photoshop.
BEFORE THE RIG AVERAGE TYPE OF EXPOSURE
Photo taking Lightrig(14)
Photo taking Lightrig(15)
AFTER THE RIG FOLLOWS - white and blue backgrounds / single\multiple figures for contrasting
Photo taking Lightrig(12)
Photo taking Lightrig(13)
Photo taking Lightrig(0)
Photo taking Lightrig(1)
Photo taking Lightrig(2)
Photo taking Lightrig(3)
Photo taking Lightrig(4)
Photo taking Lightrig(5)
Photo taking Lightrig(6)
Photo taking Lightrig(7)
Photo taking Lightrig(08)
Photo taking Lightrig(9)
Photo taking Lightrig(10)
Photo taking Lightrig(11)

Like everything, time and patience will perfect the process. The time it took me to crop, resize, watermark and write this post was about the same amount of time I put in (actually less) testing and learning the above results.
My next batch of images to share of my figures in limelights or elsewhere, should be pretty good and best of all, simpler and easier in the long run.
I am leaning towards the white background now, but the blue does have something I do like. Smile
Anyway.............


THANK YOU AGAIN everyone for the suggestion on the lightbox. Best $40 I spent as a helper to the hobby!!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeTue May 14, 2013 6:21 pm

Man this thread is one I will need to take the time and read over again.

I use a Kodak C1550, 16 MP. Everything I take is pretty much just point and shoot. I do use some auto settings that can detect macro or facial features.

I'd really like to get a light box, and start messing around. I do some figure reviews on my site and would like to start taking more professional looking pics. Mine come out good for the purpose, but I would like to get them better.

I have never gone in and changed any shutter speed settings, but I do try pics with both auto flash and no flash. I guess like everyone else says, it's trial and error until you find what works best for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Photo taking   Photo taking I_icon_minitimeTue May 14, 2013 6:38 pm

Well, thanks to this thread I just decided it was time to upgrade my camera too, so I won't be playing around tonite like I thought. Mad

New camera arriving tomorrow so I will play around then. I will post some shots from it that mimic those of I just posted for my own comparison (and yours) on quality. I don't know how good it will be compared to my old PowerSHot, but I upgraded to a new PowerShot SX500 IS ($250 on Amazon).

I know I down played my photography skills but I just never really used the LCD to its fullest potential. I really do understand photography and if needed, or wanted, I can help answer questions about some of the basic concepts. ... well, provided my images look good with the new setup and a little time getting back into it.

In the end everyone will have a look and feel that they like best, so there will never be an absolute rule, just basic guidelines on what to expect here and there. Its sad that I haven't taken any serious shots in so long. I have been one of those point and shoot guys for too long.

I really think that the $40 light box will (and already has) re-kindle the photographer in me a bit after I saw the immediate difference with no tweaking other than using it.

So again, I can't thank you all enough for that simple suggestion. Very Happy
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