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Gazzas

Not happy with my photos...

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Hi everyone,

      I take a lot of pics of my models and share them online.  But I am rarely ever happy with the results.  The clearest pictures are taken on my bench under a 1500 lumen bulb of the cool white variety.  However, this light washes out much of the fine color differences in weathering.  Only direct sunlight has more bleaching power.  The rest of my in house lighting is useless.

 

I use a phone camera.  Low light pictures are often fuzzy.  Sometimes I get lucky and Mother Nature contributes to help me get a great picture.

 

Can anyone recommend in lumens what will work for non washed out photos, but still provide enough light for clear images.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Gaz

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Hey Gaz!  I recently bought a portable photo booth.  It''s essentially a box with reflective interior walls and strips of LED lighting along the top.  Sheets of different colored plastic are supplied as seamless backgrounds.  They come in different sizes.  Mine is 60cm (24") and cost about $60 USD from Amazon.  It's a not a perfect solution but it gives me consistent lighting and clean backgrounds. 

 

IMG-4479.jpg

 

IMG-4729.jpg

 

The 60 cm size is probably too small for most 1/32 aircraft models but works very well for parts and smaller sub-assemblies, which is the main reason I bought it.

 

IMG-4493.jpg

 

IMG-4828.jpg

 

IMG-4892.jpg

 

Otherwise, all of my in-progress pics are shot under a couple of 75watt (800 lumens) desk lamps.  Camera is a Canon S100 point-n-shoot.

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Here's my set up, Gaz:

 

LPXUOa.jpg

 

It's a pair of light stands that I bought as a kit off eBay for around $120. Each head has 5 daylight globes in it, and they're all individually switchable. As you can see, each head comes with a diffuser cover. The table is a sheet of MDF I had cut to size at Bunnings, 80cm x 80cm. I bought a set of metal table legs (also from Bunnings), and screwed into place under each corner. Voilà!

 

Not seen in the photo is the 84cm-wide sheet of white paper that I use as a continuous base and backdrop. I bought this from Staples online (now Winc, apparently) for around $30, and it's about 50m in length from memory. Whenever the current sheet gets a bit grubby, I just remove it, and roll out and tack up a new section. Voilà!

 

The photo below gives an indication of the size of the set up:

 

v1lTSr.jpg

 

That's an A2 cutting mat, with the HK Models 1/32 Meteor sitting atop it. This might seem like overkill, but given that I take photos for publication and magazine work, I really need the best set up my meagre budget can afford. The whole thing was probably not much more than AU$200. I used this configuration with an old Fuji bridge camera for a long time, before finally upgrading to a Canon DSLR in late 2017.

 

A couple of sample photos, though admittedly after post-processing with Photoshop:

 

pU5C2C.jpg

 

RDSS5u.jpg

 

PjhQoU.jpg

 

The top photo is not as sharp as it could be, as I was still getting used to the new camera at the time (still am, really!).

 

I also bought a selection of A3-sized coloured card to use as alternative surfaces for occasions where white doesn't work so well:

 

8BlYQO.jpg

 

Kev

 

 

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I too have troubles with pictures, mostly being washed out. If I take pictures on my light gray desk they're very washed out, when I use a dark(er) table and  background they seem much sharper, with no change in the lighting used at all...white balance issue maybe? 

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I have a similar layout to Kev's, if a bit more jury-rigged. The different color backgrounds can make a huge difference depending on color of what you are shooting. I switch between black, white, and blue. Blue is a pretty good happy medium for most stuff. Eventually, you should get a better camera than the phone. Major problem is the lens which doesn't really lend itself to closeup stuff like taking pics of model cockpits and components. I in the studio use a higher end Canon where I can adjust white balance and have a choice of lenses including good macros, but have had really good luck with a little point and shoot Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS from their Digital ELPH series. Fits in your pocket. I use it alot for taking pics at model shows. Mine is older, newer models start for around $70.

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Posted (edited)

There is a fantastic book on taking pictures of models for the novice by Juan M. Villalba, published by Andrea Press. It is called, How To Photograph Scale Models A Complete Guide To Digital Photography. 

 

LsP8vSV.jpg

 

The author shows how to use cell phones as well as inexpensive and higher end digital cameras. So easy to understand, you can quickly make better photographs with whatever you've got. 

Edited by GDW

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Thanks for the input, fellas!

 

My biggest problem in dealing with the issue is space.  When my daughter and grand-daughter returned to live with us we lost two rooms.  So, I opted for John (aka Thunnus) suggestion of a portable photo booth.  Here are my first pictures with it:

 

oMIPsW.jpg

 

8RPhrS.jpg

 

HlfZe4.jpg

 

The model is ICM's recently released MiG-25PD in 1/48 scale.  The box is 18"X18"X18" and has two LWD strips.  I havent tried the diffuser screen yet.

 

Gaz

 

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Looks good Gaz!  Once you hang the background sheet from the back top edge of the box, you should have a seamless background.  Nice Foxbat!

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Photo box is definitely the way to go for smaller models, but hard to find one large enough for seamless 1/32 builds.  But more it is the lighting that matters.  I use three lights on my set up (which is taken down at the moment) a ring light on top) through the fabric top which removes the hotspots, and two LED side lights also through the fabric sides which also takes out the hotspots.  Sometimes I'll use a fourth light if I'm trying to light the underside or get into the cockpit.

 

Nice new setup - the lighting looks spot on.


Chris

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15 hours ago, Thunnus said:

Looks good Gaz!  Once you hang the background sheet from the back top edge of the box, you should have a seamless background.  Nice Foxbat!

 

Thank you, John!  I'm not sure I'll use the sheets  They're a hard-ish plastic that likes to retain it's scrolled shape.  I have plenty of colored posterboard that I can cut to fit in less ugly colors than peach.

 

10 hours ago, CANicoll said:

Photo box is definitely the way to go for smaller models, but hard to find one large enough for seamless 1/32 builds.  But more it is the lighting that matters.  I use three lights on my set up (which is taken down at the moment) a ring light on top) through the fabric top which removes the hotspots, and two LED side lights also through the fabric sides which also takes out the hotspots.  Sometimes I'll use a fourth light if I'm trying to light the underside or get into the cockpit.

 

Nice new setup - the lighting looks spot on.


Chris

 

Thank you, Chris!

    This was only the first test with the light at one clock less than full blast.  The acid test will be if I can get the subtle shades from paint and weathering to show effectively. 

 

Gaz

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5 hours ago, Gazzas said:

 

Thank you, John!  I'm not sure I'll use the sheets  They're a hard-ish plastic that likes to retain it's scrolled shape.  I have plenty of colored posterboard that I can cut to fit in less ugly colors than peach.

 

 

Thank you, Chris!

    This was only the first test with the light at one clock less than full blast.  The acid test will be if I can get the subtle shades from paint and weathering to show effectively. 

 

Gaz

 

That is ALL of our challenges!  Good luck!

 

Chris

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3 hours ago, CANicoll said:

That is ALL of our challenges!  Good luck!

 

 

Having to photograph my 32nd Do-335 and prior to that, the similarly sized F7F, I can say without hesitation it would have been nearly impossible without a larger photo table. 

I think its problem a lot of LSP builders go through. 

 

Now I just need to get a suitable lens for my new DSLR (have to literally stand outside my modelling room to take pics w/my current lens!) so I dont have to keep using my crappy cell phone camera for WIP and RFI shots. 

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3 hours ago, Out2gtcha said:

 

 

Having to photograph my 32nd Do-335 and prior to that, the similarly sized F7F, I can say without hesitation it would have been nearly impossible without a larger photo table. 

I think its problem a lot of LSP builders go through. 

 

Now I just need to get a suitable lens for my new DSLR (have to literally stand outside my modelling room to take pics w/my current lens!) so I dont have to keep using my crappy cell phone camera for WIP and RFI shots. 

 

Try the Sigma Zoom 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 DC Macro OS HSM, from their Contemporary line.  Around $USD 400 at B&H or Adorama but some places have it cheaper.  I use it for all of my model photography.  Very useful lens at a reasonable price!  

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