Photography 101

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Photography 101

Postby Chris on Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:30 pm

Had this on the old forum, I think. Figured I would put it up again with the contest coming soon to help get some pics that can be published in MCM. Unfortunately none last year were high enough quality to work for them. This is one set up that I know works and even better, is cheap. Like under $20 or less.

Basically just take three lights. I use the cheap metal clamp lights with 100w bulbs in them.( Disclaimer: The lights say not to use anything higher than 60w , but I am a firefighter so what do I care about fire hazards. :D ) I also utilize my magnifying light for an over head light but this can be substituted with what ever is handy for you. Now with the lights you want to have one from above and then two from front angles. This helps eliminate any shadowed areas. For a back ground I use 33 cent pieces of poster board. I have a couple of different colors depending on the color of the subject but mostly use white and blue. The solid color background allows the auto focus function on your camera to focus on the model and not the clutter we all have on the workbench. Not good to be showing off that awesome scratch built detail when the camera is focusing in on the this will give you cancer in California label on the paint bottle sitting behind it .I also put a piece of white foam board on each side of the background to reflect the light even more. These were $1.50 at Hobby Lobby, about $1 or so with their coupons. The last thing is a tripod. You can pick up a 6 inch one that works great for most model pics for about $5, I have a full size one though since I do a good bit of other photography. Here is what the set up looks like all together. It is great for limited spaces to, this is on my workbench.

Image

I put drier sheets over the front of the lamps to help diffuse the lighting so there is not a spotlight looking glare on the model. As far as I have found so far they are not flammable and I have forgotten they were on a few times when the pager goes off.

Image

Now for the camera setting. Since every camera is different this is where you will have to know yours. Most though have a macro setting which is the one that normally has the little flower. If you have this one, use it. If you don't use what you have. Put your camera on the highest resolution ( quality ) setting you have. Be sure that the flash is off. Flash will create a harsh look on the model, the 3 lights will eliminate the need for it. Then stick it on the tripod and take the pic. If you have a self timer, use it, as that will even further eliminate any movement of the camera and the chance of blurring the pic. Be sure to center the subject in the view finder so that you have an even border around the model. This just makes it look better in the end result. Avoid zooming if you can as well, this will add blurriness. Now you should have your pics that can look like this.

Image

Now if sending them to me for the site gallery or the contest, don't resize them. Just them big like they are. That allows me to have high resolution ones on hand if needed.

If posting them on the forum, here is a quick guide on getting them to internet friendly size with out loosing the quality.

Personally I like to use Irfanview. It is a free image program that easily out does any proprietary software that comes with cameras and is easy to use. You can down load it from here - http://www.irfanview.com/

In that program click on the image menu , then resize/resample ( Or hold Ctrl R ). On that box just select the size you want. For the forum 800x600 is the biggest you really want to go. I normally stick with 640x480. Then click OK. You can try clicking on the auto adjust colors ( Ctrl U )under the Image tab as well and a lot of times it will correct it to look more like the actual color, especially reds.If not just undo. When you save it, check the middle box on the bottom of the menu that says dialog box. Put the slider on 85%. Then save. Doing these steps with Irfanview allows you take a pic that is 2MB and make it 100k or less most of the time with out loosing visual quality.

This might all sound like a lot of work, but I can set up the photo booth, take pics, resize them and have them uploaded on the forum in about 15 minutes.

Feel free to add your different ways as well.
Stay Safe,
Chris
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Re: Photography 101

Postby Aaronw on Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:12 am

Just a couple of things I found out this year,

Most cameras have a white balance, find the one for incandecent light, on mine it has a picture of a light bulb, some say tungston (incandescent lights use a tungstun filliment). This will help eliminate the yellowish color you often get taking pics inside. Most also have one for flourescent light if you end up using that kind of light.

Another thing is most magazines prefer a white background. They can edit it from white to another color if they want, but its hard to edit other colors. Also white is fairly universal so they can use it as a guide to the other colors on your model.

You can cover a cheap cardboard picture frame to make a reflector to help light a specific part of your model. This works well to get some light into a grill or similar dark area.

Oh and despite Chris' advice to stuff a 100w bulb into a 60w fixture, try to find a light made for 100w bulbs. I picked up two clamp on reflector lights made for 100w bulbs at Walmart for $8 a piece. It probably won't be a problem to use a larger bulb but it would be embarassing to have the local firefighters oohing and ahhing over your fire engine models while on official time. :mrgreen:
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Re: Photography 101

Postby R H on Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:29 am

Aaronw wrote:Oh and despite Chris' advice to stuff a 100w bulb into a 60w fixture, try to find a light made for 100w bulbs. I picked up two clamp on reflector lights made for 100w bulbs at Walmart for $8 a piece. It probably won't be a problem to use a larger bulb but it would be embarassing to have the local firefighters oohing and ahhing over your fire engine models while on official time. :mrgreen:


Or you could use a 100 watt equivalent CFL (comact flouresecent) bulb in the 60W fixture. Most of the 100 watt eqwuivalent CFLs usually run at under 60 watt
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Re: Photography 101

Postby Believer on Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:09 am

When I'm sending photos in for the forum, is there a limit to the number of photos per posting? Is more better or will too many clog up up the machine? I assume I just click on "upload attachment" and attach the appropriate photo[s]. I have managed to resize a few of them to the reccomended size. Is it better or easier for you if each vehicle comes in a seperate posting? Or should I just jump in and go for it?

You can see I've never done this before, so be gentle now.
Believer
 


Re: Photography 101

Postby Chris on Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:41 pm

There is no limit to how many pics you can can post. You won't be able to click on the attach file button though and upload pics. You will have to host them elsewhere You can now attach to the forum, check out the posting pics thread in testing for all the ins and outs.
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Chris
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Re: Photography 101

Postby Believer on Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:55 pm

Okay, thanks for that, best give it a go.
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Re: Photography 101

Postby Believer on Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:26 pm

Chris,

that would appear to have worked, in the fire trucks page I've managed to post a picture of Toronto's Squad 232, it was very easy via photobucket. Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it. Now, where's that camera?
Believer
 



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