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 How do you guys photograph your stuff?

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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 8:46 pm

I was thinking of getting a photographer to come over and shoot my stuff one by one. It seemed like a good idea until I realized that as my stuff changed it would give me different types of photos and no continuity.

Some of you seem to have kickass photos, what's the secret?

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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 8:50 pm

Using a camera is my big secret. lol! I take all mine in my room with flash and curtains closed. The ones I took outside, natural light. The shots inside are on the night snapshot setting and outside, landscape.
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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 8:51 pm

Wait a camera?? I've been using a piano, no wonder...........LOL

You don't use a light box or anything?

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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 8:54 pm

Nope, no light box. I dont have the room to set one up properly, so I kept playing around with the camera until I got the results I liked (when they dont come out blurry that is). Forgot to mention, the camera Im using is a Canon PowerShot A550.
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shawn_k
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 8:57 pm

Here's a repost from another guide I attempted to make on another board.


I use a light tent like this one that I picked up from an electronics store going out of business a few years back. However you can build your own DIY with some instructions here.

Here's a picture of my setup to take a picture of a Squid Head figure.

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Lightbox

I do use a DSLR in manual mode for my photos, but you should get similar results with the right settings on a point and shoot. You'll just have to dig out the manual. You'll also notice that I have all other lights off in the room which is important for having full control of the lighting. Also, never use the flash.

These are some settings that I recommend, but you'll want to experiment a bit. I'd suggesting using Aperture priority mode which most cameras have. In basics, the lower the aperture number, the more blurry the background is. Also, the lower the number, the more light the camera is able to collect as the iris is more open. In this example, I chose an aperture of f5.0 which was good enough to keep the squid card/figure in focus, but also blur the blue background a little. In aperture priority mode, your camera will figure out the other settings for you, but I also had to set shutter speed and ISO.

The other setting to make sure of is white balance. With my lights, they give off a yellow tint, so I use the Tungsten white balance setting on the camera, so it know to compensate for this. Basically, with white balance you are telling the camera what color is white, so it gets the colors right. Most cameras have an auto mode for this setting, but they don't ever seems to get this quite right, so I'd recommend using a preset like I suggested or going the extra mile with a custom setting which you can learn how to other places on the net.

I do a little minor tweaking with software afterwards. The main things I do are straighten, crop, and some minor adjustments as needed. I use Apple's Aperture for this, but iPhoto would also work. If you're on Windows, Lightroom would work or probably Gimp as a free alternative. Here's a screenshot of Aperture with the Squid Head after I've made my tweaks.

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Thumbs_aperture

and finally, here's my exported photo, ready to share.

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Squidfront

I hope this helps. I'm by no means a photography expert, but it has become a hobby and I've been learning a few things as I pick them up over the years.
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aussiejames
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 9:01 pm

You beat me to the punch Shawn, I was just ready to copy & paste your guide Smile
My pictures are still poor but the biggest improvement for me has been buying a cheap tripod:
How do you guys photograph your stuff? 10028321
less than $5 delivered
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curch
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 9:12 pm

I have been struggling with this for some time too. I have a Nikon p100 or something like that. I spent $400 on it and I have yet to be happy with the pics 3 years later. I don't have the room to set up fancy lighting or anything like that. I found it very frustrating!
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sith jawa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 9:38 pm

Kodak digital camera and photoshop work for me. I have though about a picture box, etc, but I am lazy about that stuff. One day, hopefully.. Laughing
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arohk
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 9:41 pm

I use as much natural light as I can it seems to give the best photos
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RebelChris
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 11:15 pm

I built a pretty crude light box for my last limelight I did. I really enjoy it for the "important" stuff. I just don't think I could do it for everything or all the time. I basically used a box and cut the top off, taped a sheet of tissue paper where the top used to be to diffuse the light. Then I added a piece of blue construction paper inside the box to act as a drop cloth. I grabbed a cheap desktop lamp from Walmart to act as my light source and viola!

I've got a pic of it somewhere. I'll post one when I find it.

Heres a pic of the results though.

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Rcll_p10
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aussiejames
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 03, 2012 11:29 pm

I've been thinking about buying one of these:
How do you guys photograph your stuff? $(KGrHqRHJDYE-9FFSE)4BQCiZ0NE1!~~60_12
$40 delivered
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shawn_k
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 04, 2012 10:20 am

@aussiejames wrote:
I've been thinking about buying one of these:

$40 delivered

That one looks pretty much like mine James.

Some good comments in here. I do want to say though that learning about lighting will really make a difference. You can buy a $1k camera but if you don't know how to use lights or the various controls then the photos will still look like they came from a $100 camera. Same thing the other way around. Here's an awesome example of what someone did with an iPhone 3GS camera and some good studio lighting.

http://fstoppers.com/iphone

It certainly requires some effort and taking the time to tinker/learn a bit, but if decent photos are important then I think it is well worth it. Especially if you are wanting them for insurance/documenting purposes.
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curch
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 04, 2012 11:12 am

Someone gave me this advise once. I plan on using it this fall when its time to take some pics of my stuff.

Okay, so a few things I can think of that might help...

1) As I mentioned before, get your shutter speed up. Best/easiest way to do that is to go into Shutter Priority mode (it's the "S" on your dial on top of the camera). You can then set your camera's speed and the camera will figure out the corresponding aperture. Start at 1/125 and see what your shots look like. Try not to go below 1/90.

2) If you're down to 1/90 and your pictures are still dark, begin increasing your ISO. Your camera's got 10.3 megapixels, so you should have some room here. Try the ISO up to 800 and even 1600 and see if your pictures begin to look better. If you want me to explain how/why all this works, let me know. I won't bore you with it here.

3) External light - I'm judging from your post above that you're not looking to purchase any major equipment, which is fine. First, shut off the flash! On camera flashes are a last resort because of where they're positioned. Because they're right above the lens, they throw out a very harsh light (that's also why you get a lot of red eye). Much better option is to use the light around you. If you have a window that gets good sunlight, use it. Try to position a small lamp out of frame that you can angle onto whatever you're taking a picture of (think one of those gooseneck desk lamps). As someone mentioned above, you can also use a work lamp from Home Depot (the ones with the big shades). I've got a bunch of them. I think they'll run you $7.99. Grab some parchment paper from the food store and tape it over the opening of the shade and you'll have nice diffused light to move around.

A few general light rules: SOFT light is always preferable to HARD light. What's the difference? Think of soft light as the light you see in the mornings or evenings as the sun is rising and setting. It wraps around your face. Hard light is the sun in the middle of the day. Harsh shadows. So, how do you get soft light? You can diffuse it (the light has to pass through something before it gets to your object. It could be a window, a bedsheet, parchment paper, whatever) and the bigger the light source and the closer it is, the softer it'll be. So, if you have a lamp with some parchment paper over the shade and it's positioned just out of frame, it'll be softer and much more flattering than a flashlight held a few feet away. Extreme examples, but I hope that makes sense. Lastly, angle your light at 45 degrees from the camera. If your light is at 45 degrees to the left or right and slightly above, you'll get much better pictures.

4. Try to get a single background. Your pictures have a white floor and then two different shades of gray behind them (I'm assuming that's the corner of the wall). A single background (seemless) will look much better. I know there are websites that can help you build a lightbox for cheap ($50-ish), but even a long piece of cardboard paper can work wonders if you can rig it so that it fills the frame. Along with that, don't be afraid to change your angle, move yourself higher or lower, etc. Experiment. Have fun.

Okay, that was a ridiculous amount of explanation. Sorry about the long read. I hope that helps you a little and keep me posted on how it goes. The second set of pictures looked better, but you had the hot spot on every card. Get that flash off and use a different light source and you should be well on your way.

Bonus tip: NEVER zoom in your camera. When you zoom using the T and W buttons (or whatever yours may be called), you reduce the amount of pixels in the picture. Always zoom in by cropping later.

Hopefully this will help you guys out as well. And if it does, let me know so I know that I am not wasting my time Smile
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olisuds
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 04, 2012 1:16 pm

I use a light box, 2 lamps and some curved white card. I use a camera with a Macro setting and I adjust the exposure to allow enough light in. I'm not really much of a camera wizz and my camera skills are quite basic but I find the light tent gives me a reasonably professional finish without having to get technical with Photoshop software - which I am also pretty useless with.

Anyway here is the end result as an example. Gonk Gonk!!

How do you guys photograph your stuff? P1050068_-_Power_Droid

Curch, some great photography tips. I'm not very clued up on shutter speeds or ISOs so would be interested to hear more. I'm sure others would too Smile
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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 05, 2012 4:41 pm

Man you guys are like a bunch of Ansel Adams' !!

I just ordered an inexpensive light box kit. I hope to get some pics taken over the next few days , we'll see if I can do a nice photo. If I can , anyone can.

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ArtooDetour
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 05, 2012 4:55 pm

@DarthBerizing wrote:
Man you guys are like a bunch of Ansel Adams' !!


Had to search 'Ansel Adams' Embarassed


How do you guys photograph your stuff? Ansel_10


No relation to Stinky Pete or Uncle Gundy Smile
How do you guys photograph your stuff? Stinky11How do you guys photograph your stuff? Uncle_11


Good luck with the lightbox kit. Be good to see the results!

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TishomingoSith
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 12:45 pm

I only let my girlfriend shoot my stuff.

(Sorry I had to do it)
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Gorneesh
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 2:10 pm

Artoo_Detour wrote:
@DarthBerizing wrote:
Man you guys are like a bunch of Ansel Adams' !!
Had to search 'Ansel Adams' Embarassed

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Ansel_10

The man was one of the greatest photographers ever I was lucky to see one of his prints in real life and it was simply stunning.

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DarthBerizing
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 7:17 pm

Well I got the kit in. Here's the first photo, not manipulated


How do you guys photograph your stuff? Dsc07210

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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 7:35 pm

And Bib

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Dsc07211

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TishomingoSith
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 7:44 pm

Artoo_Detour wrote:
@DarthBerizing wrote:
Man you guys are like a bunch of Ansel Adams' !!


How do you guys photograph your stuff? Uncle_11


Uncle Gundy.... not to be confused with my favorite college team & (university I attended) their head coach, Mike Gundy Smile

How do you guys photograph your stuff? 137241234_crop_exact
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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 06, 2012 11:25 pm

Okay, getting a little used to it. Still nowhere near you guys, but enjoy !

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Dsc07212

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Dsc07213

How do you guys photograph your stuff? Dsc07214

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aussiejames
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 07, 2012 12:02 am

Mad snaggletooth Laughing
So is the VC Jawa or the removable hood Jawa the keeper? I wouldn't be able to choose.
Are the pictures unedited/raw- looking good regardless.
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DarthBerizing
Johnpaul Ragusa
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 07, 2012 12:25 am

Well I get to keep both Jawas since they're so different (I bend my rules now and again) LOL

Pics are straight of the camera, no photoshop

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curch
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PostSubject: Re: How do you guys photograph your stuff?   How do you guys photograph your stuff? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 07, 2012 6:32 am

Looking good john. I myself always wanted to get pics of my stuff like on the rebelscum figure guide. Such great detailed close ups. But I have yet to figure it out
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