Author Topic: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach  (Read 3237 times)

Offline Antonio Sobral

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Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« on: October 08, 2013, 04:03:01 PM »
Tips on scale model photography (sorry if the title might sound a little bit pompous :))

There are lots of different ways and variants, but this is how I do it.

I am not, nor pretend to be, a professional photographer, so this is the result of my trial and error experiments until I finally got happy with the results.

Ingredients:

1. An old/used cardboard box cut to the appropriate size (costs  0)

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2. Some pieces of cardstock of different colors for the background (cost 0.5 Euros/piece)

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3. IKEA (any brand is OK ;) ) lamps holders (6 Euros each)


Note: this was a previous version of the carboard box set-up, later simplified (see first picture!).


4. Daylight LED lamps (Cost 5 Euros/lamp or less)

Nowadays I use the cheapest IKEA LED lamps I could find, but any brand is obviously OK  :smiley:


5. Camera tripod (mine is from Vivitar and was 20 Euros)



6. A Photo Camera with a good wide angle lens, white balance setting and manual mode.
   (My camera is an old Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20, and was around 200 Euros at the time)




Instructions:

1. Never use flash. Use linear lighting (from the lamps) instead.

2. Always use the tripod to stabilize the camera.

3. Put the camera in manual mode

4. Put the aperture to the maximum value possible (f/22 in my case)

5. Put the model on the cardboard base with the appropriate chosen background color

6. Adjust the lamps position in order to obtain a good illumination of the model, without shadows or reflections

7. Set the camera white balance, pointing to a white or light grey surface (use a piece of paper if you background is not white or gray)

8. Adjust the camera position relative to the subject, with an "artistic angle" :)

9. Adjust the shutter speed in order to have a correct exposure.

10. Take the photo.

11. Repeat Steps 3 to 10 varying the model position between shots.

12. Transfer the photos to the computer.

13. Play with you favorite photo software in order to correct the color,
    dimension or any other aspect you fancy (I use ACDSee Photo Software)

14. Done! :)

And that's it folks.  I hope this simple explanation will help somebody.

And if there is anything not clear enough, please ask.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 12:47:31 AM by Antonio Sobral »

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 05:06:26 PM »
Excellent post! :)
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Offline Weaver

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 07:40:39 PM »
Nice one Antonio! (I have the same tripod as you, but mine came from Aldi - wasn't any cheaper though....)

I wouldn't argue with any of that, but here are a few supplementary thoughts:

Bulbs : daylight (6000k) LED bulbs are more expensive than compact fluorescents, but they last MUCH longer and are far less fragile (it's quite easy to knock a lamp over when you're mucking around with these kind of setups).

Camera settings : I have an old DSLR (Canon EOS 20D) so what I do is put it on "Aperture Priority", which is where you set the aperture manually, and the camera then works out the right shutter speed. I wind the aperture right down (f.22 to f.27) for maximum depth of field, and since I don't like flash either, this leads to very slow shutter speeds: sometimes it's open for tens of seconds! Your enemy in this situation is vibration: you don't want to be moving about near the camera while the shutter is open. A cable (remote) release for mine is breathtakingly expensive, so I use the delay timer instead. When you press the button, you get ten seconds before the shutter opens. I use that time to move as far away as possible: out of the room for preference, but certainly off the same bit of floor that the camera is standing on.

Lenses : with a DSLR you can, of course, get dedicated close-up lenses, but again, they're very expensive. I've found that a perfectly acceptable solution is add-on close-up lenses that fit on the front of a normal lens like filters. A typical set has four lenses of different magnifications and I think mine cost about 11, which is very reasonable.


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Offline Diamondback

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 05:18:11 AM »
"Cartolina" = "Cardstock", maybe?

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 06:37:22 AM »
All good tips..

Now, where is there a better shot of that most intriguing Nautilus type submersible you are teasing us with ?

Offline Antonio Sobral

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2020, 12:51:24 AM »
Hi guys

Almost 7 years later, I finally managed to update the original message and replaced the missing photos.

I hope it helps.


Keep safe!

Offline Frank3k

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 02:00:10 AM »
Thanks Antonio!

Offline Robomog

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2020, 03:50:17 PM »
Lots of great advice, thanks for updating.

Mog
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Tips on scale model photography - A simple approach
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2020, 04:29:23 PM »
I've been needing this for a lo-ong time & didn't realise it had been here all along. Now I do! :smiley:!
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